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20 Most Over-Hyped NHL Prospects in Draft History

Jeff LangridgeCorrespondent IIIJune 21, 2012

20 Most Over-Hyped NHL Prospects in Draft History

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    The hype machine. Usually it works quite well and tells exactly what a player is going to be. However, like most machines, it's susceptible to breaking. Sometimes it under-hypes a player and teams end up getting a steal. It also over-hypes players, giving some teams a complete bust.

    Over-hyping doesn't always lead to a bust. Sometimes the player is still quite good, but they play nowhere near what they were supposed to be.

    Here are the 20 most over-hyped prospects in NHL history. 

Eric Lindros

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    Drafted: 1st overall in 1991

    Career Stats: 760 games played, 372 goals, 493 assists, 865 points

    Labeled "The Next One," Eric Lindros was supposed to be the next Wayne Gretzky. While Lindros had a great career and could find his name in the Hall of Fame one day, sadly, his head didn't allow him to have a lengthy career, as concussions ruined him and forced him to leave the game too soon.

Rick Dipietro

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    Drafted: 1st overall in 2000

    Career Stats: 315 games played, 130 wins, 2.86 GAA, .903 SV%

    This pretty much says it all. Then Islanders GM Mike Milbury traded Roberto Luongo so he could give Rick Dipietro the starting job.

Jay Bouwmeester

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    Drafted: 3rd overall in 2002

    Career Stats: 717 games played, 65 goals, 220 assists, 285 points

    Jay Bouwmeester very well could have gone first overall in the 2002 draft. The Blue Jackets are sure glad they didn't take him because they have done something that Bouwmeester has never done: play in a playoff game.

Alexei Yashin

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    Drafted: 2nd overall in 1992

    Career Stats: 850 games played, 337 goals, 444 assists, 781 points

    The very first player ever drafted by the Ottawa Senators, Alexei Yashin was a great player, but disputes with teams about contracts and declining production ultimately led both his teams to sour on him.

    He has been playing in Russia since.

Vincent Lecavalier

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    Drafted: 1st overall in 1998

    Career Stats: 998 games played, 373 goals, 469 assists, 842 points

    Now, I'm not saying that Vincent Lecavalier is a bad player. Far from it. However, Lecavalier was expected to be the Steven Stamkos-type player that Stamkos himself is now. He is a great two-way player, but he was meant to be much more of a sniper.

Brian Lawton

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    Drafted: 1st overall in 1983

    Career Stats: 483 games played, 112 goals, 154 assists, 266 points

    Sylvain Turgeon. Pat LaFontaine. Steve Yzerman. Tom Barasso.

    Anyone taken before these players had to be over-hyped.

Petr Nedved

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    Drafted: 2nd overall in 1990

    Career Stats: 982 games played, 310 goals, 407 assists, 717 points

    After being named both the WHL and CHL rookie of the year prior to being drafted, Petr Nedved was supposed to be an instant star.

    That didn't happen, however.

    While he did have years where he posted 99, 71 and 78 points, he was far too inconsistent when it came to putting up points in the NHL.

Mike Ricci

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    Drafted: 4th overall in 1990

    Career Stats: 1,099 games played, 243 goals, 362 assists, 605 points

    Selected two picks after Nedved, Mike Ricci lived up to his name as a can't-miss prospect. However, after being traded to the San Jose Sharks, his game completely changed.

    Basically overnight, he went from being the offensive player he was drafted to be, to being a primarily defensive player.

Anyone Taken Before Martin Brodeur in 1990

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    Drafted: 1st through 19th overall in 1990

    Career Stats: I'm not even attempting the math.

    I've spotlighted two players from the 1990 draft, and again, hindsight is 20/20, but anyone taken before a player that became the best goaltender of all time had to be over-hyped, at least a little bit. Most of all, Trevor Kidd.

Wade Redden

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    Drafted: 2nd overall in 1995

    Career Stats: 994 games played, 106 goals, 344 assists, 450 points

    Wade Redden has been over-hyped his entire career. Of course, it all started when he was a prospect, and it's only gotten worse since.

David Legwand

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    Drafted: 2nd overall in 1998

    Career Stats: 846 games played, 188 goals, 313 assists, 501 points

    Being the career leader in goals, assists and points for a team that you've played for you're entire career—a team that is as old as your career—isn't saying much.

    Even though he won the Most Outstanding Player award in his last year in the OHL, he was nowhere near the talent that second overall pick usually does.

Patrik Stefan

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    Drafted: 1st overall in 1999

    Career Stats: 455 games played, 64 goals, 124 points

    The video says it all.

Kari Lehtonen

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    Drafted: 2nd overall in 2002

    Career Stats: 285 games played, 134 wins, 2.79 GAA, .913 SV%

    It's a big risk when you take a goaltender so early. If he doesn't become a superstar, it's not worth the pick. Being picked second, Kari Lehtonen has not become that.

Nathan Horton

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    Drafted: 3rd overall in 2003

    Career Stats: 548 games played, 185 goals, 195 assists, 380 points

    I'm putting Nathan Horton on this based on him creating his own hype. When scouts compared him to John LeClair, he said he was more like Jeremy Roenick or Peter Forsberg.

    Definitely a case of someone over-hyping one's self.

Erik Johnson

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    Drafted: 1st overall in 2006

    Career Stats: 298 games played, 27 goals, 100 assists, 127 points

    Injuries kept Erik Johnson from ever reaching his potential in St. Louis and because of that, he was traded to Colorado. First overall picks usually aren't traded away based on potential.

Angelo Esposito

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    Drafted: 20th overall in 2007

    Career Stats: 0 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points

    This guy has been compared to Guy Lafleur and was said to be as talented as Sidney Crosby. Yeah, right.

Rob Schremp

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    Drafted: 25th overall in 2004

    Career Stats: 114 games played, 20 goals, 34 assists, 54 points

    A great junior career led him to be a highly touted prospect. Falling to the 25th spot, Edmonton snapped him up. Unfortunately, his talent in juniors never translated to the NHL, and he bounced around the league before leaving the league last year.

Ray Martyniuk

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    Drafted: 5th overall in 1970

    Career Stats: 0 games played, 0 wins

    Just think about it: What if a fifth overall pick today never played an NHL game? It would be a complete disaster, that's what. Well, it actually happened in 1970.

Daniel Tkaczuk

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    Drafted: 6th overall in 1997

    Career Stats: 19 games played, 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points

    The Hockey News called Daniel Tkaczuk the next Ron Francis. As his stats clearly attest to, he obviously didn't match those expectations.

Nazem Kadri

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    Drafted: 7th overall in 2008

    Career Stats: 51 games played, 8 goals, 11 assists, 19 points

    Nazem Kadri is more a representative of the Toronto Maple Leafs hype machine. Leaf fans immediately jump on any prospect they have and Kadri has bore the brunt of most of the Leaf fans' expectations for the past few years.

    It's very hard to be a prospect in the Maple Leafs' system.

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