The 5 Biggest Draft Fails in Glen Sather's Tenure with the New York Rangers
Under Glen Sather, the New York Rangers have had mixed drafting results.
While they've selected players like Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan, Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan, they've also selected some players who have never played a game in the NHL.
What are the biggest draft fails in Sather's tenure as president and general manager of the Rangers? Read on to find out, but be warned, the list may be a bit depressing for Rangers fans.
Hugh Jessiman was not just the worst draft pick of Glen Sather's tenure. He may be one of the worst draft picks in Rangers' history.
In fact, he may be one of the worst NHL draft picks of all-time.
The 2003 NHL draft was absolutely stacked with talent with 16 of the 30 first-round picks have become NHL All-Stars.
The Rangers selected Jessiman with the 13th-overall pick. Playing at Dartmouth Univesity, Jessiman put up good numbers, scoring 40 goals in 80 games.
But he has never been able to translate that potential into a NHL career. He has played just two NHL games, both with the Florida Panthers. Although Jessiman has put up good numbers in the AHL, NHL teams don't select a player in the first round to become a good AHL player.
Here's a slightly depressing look at some of the players selected after Jessiman in the 2003 NHL draft:
- Dustin Brown
- Brent Seabrook
- Zach Parise
- Ryan Getzlaf
- Brent Burns
- Ryan Kesler
- Mike Richards
- Corey Perry
- Loui Eriksson
- Patrice Bergeron
- Shea Weber
- David Backes
- Jimmy Howard
If the Rangers had selected just one of those players, it's quite possible that they would've won a Stanley Cup by now. Six of those players have already been a part of Stanley Cup-winning teams.
Jessiman is one of the biggest busts of all time. The pick becomes even worse because of the players selected after him. It's a depressing list to look at for those who follow the Rangers.
Bobby Sanguinetti was selected by the Rangers with the 21st pick in the 2006 NHL draft.
He played just five games with the Rangers before being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. He has carved out a role with the Hurricanes, scoring twice with four assists in 37 games this season.
However, Sanquinetti has yet to live up to the immense potential that had him compared to Brian Leetch. Sanquinetti scored 29 goals in his final season in junior hockey and has scored as many as 10 goals in a season in the AHL.
That's not enough. What's worse is that the Flyers' pick right after the Rangers took Sanguinetti was Claude Giroux. Imagine the Rangers with Giroux, instead of Sanguinetti.
It's easy to say that now, because Sanguinetti did have a terrific junior career. For whatever reason though, he hasn't been able to cut it in the NHL. When the Rangers traded him to Carolina, they only received a second- and sixth-round pick in return.
That's quite a fall for a former first-round pick.
Al Montoya hasn't been a terrible NHL player, but any success he's had has not been with the Rangers.
He never played a regular season game with the Rangers. In 63 NHL games with the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets, Montoya has a 2.77 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
He's a decent backup in the NHL, but that's not what you want with the sixth overall pick.
To be fair, the Rangers selected Montoya before they knew what they had in Henrik Lundqvist. Back in 2004, Lundqvist was still a relatively unknown quantity playing in Sweden.
But even if the Rangers never had Lundqvist, Montoya has not yet proven to be a solid starting goaltender. He's bounced around and has not been able to hold down a starting job.
The 2004 draft was not a great one. Other than Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, there are no real stars to mark its current NHL class. Still, the Rangers could have selected Drew Stafford, Alexander Radulov, Travis Zajac, Andrej Mezaros or Mike Green—all of whom would have been a better selection than Montoya.
Montoya's selection would have looked worse had the team not had Lundqvist. It's easy to forget about Montoya because Lundqvist is arguably the best goaltender in the world.
But Montoya is a bust, and without a terrific 20-game span with the Islanders in 2010-11, he might be out of the league altogether.
2004, Round 2
The New York Rangers had four second-round picks in the 2004 NHL draft. That represented a rare opportunity to improve their roster.
Of the four picks, only Brandon Dubinsky has had a respectable NHL career. Dubinsky scored 81 goals with the Rangers before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The other three Rangers' selections—Darin Olver, Dane Byers and Bruce Graham—have played a total of 14 games in the NHL. All 14 games were played by Byers , five of which were with the Rangers.
To make matters worse, there were also a number of quality players selected in the second round. The Rangers could have had, among others:
- Bryan Bickell
- Carl Soderberg
- David Booth
- Nicklas Grossman
- Alex Goligoski
- David Krejci
That's not to mention some talented players selected in the rest of the draft like Alex Edler, Johan Franzen, Kris Versteeg, Mikhail Grabovski, Troy Brouwer, Pekka Rinne and Mark Streit.
The Rangers were able to select Ryan Callahan in the fourth round, which salvaged that draft a bit.
The second round, outside of Dubinsky, was an epic fail. Imagine if the Rangers have even one of the other top players selected in that round. They would be a much better team now.
The early parts of the past decade were rough for the Rangers, and this is a major reason why. With four picks in the second round, the Rangers could have changed the course of their franchise. Instead, it set the franchise back a few years.
A roster that would have included Bickell or Krejci, or both, would instantly have made the Rangers one of the best teams in hockey.
Instead, they looked anemic in the playoffs and are starting a new era with a new coach.
The Rangers did not have a first-round pick in the 2002 NHL draft, but they did have the third pick of the second round, chosing Lee Falradeau, a center from Michigan State.
Falradeau has not yet played in the NHL, as he's still toiling in the ECHL after not cutting it in the AHL.
There were a number of good players selected after Falradeau. Among the best:
- Jarrett Stoll
- Duncan Keith
- Jiri Hudler
- Johnny Boychuk
- Tomas Flesichmann
- Frans Nielsen
- Valtteri Filppula
Quite simply, Falradeau was an unmitigated bust. He was selected just three picks after the conclusion of the first round, and the fact that he wasn't able to cut it in the AHL shows that perhaps Falradeau should have been selected much later.
In fact, his career at Michigan State wasn't anything to write home about either. He scored just 18 goals in three seasons for the Spartans.
Falradeau was a disaster. The only thing that would've made it worse would have been selecting Falradeau in the first round.