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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Drafted: 1st overall in 1999
Career Stats: 455 games played, 64 goals, 124 points
The video says it all.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.