Every NHL Team's Best Draft Steal from the Past 20 Years
The 2013 NHL Draft is just around the corner. While everybody is focused on the high profile players like Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon, fans need to realize that there are hidden gems to be found in the middle and later rounds of the draft.
Here is a list of each NHL team's biggest draft steal over the past 20 years. This is a player taken in the middle or later rounds of the draft who went on to a successful NHL career.
Keep in mind that the player need not have become successful with the team that drafted him. Sometimes, trades or other circumstances cause a player to blossom with a different organization than the one that drafted him.
The players were chosen based on a combination of how late they were drafted and how successful their NHL careers have been.
Obviously, there are very few players listed from the most recent three years or so since they still need time to develop.
Feel free to chime in with any sleepers you feel belong on this list but were not chosen. Just indicate why you feel your choice belongs on the list ahead of the player who was selected for your team.
Anaheim Ducks: P.A. Parenteau
A lot of NHL teams passed on P.A. Parenteau back in 2001 before the Ducks grabbed him in the ninth round with the 264th overall pick.
Parenteau bounced around the minors and had a few brief NHL stints before he established himself as a top-six forward with the Islanders in 2010-11. He scored 20 goals that season playing on a line with John Tavares and Matt Moulson.
Parenteau signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the Avalanche last summer and had a good year, scoring 18 goals and 43 points in 48 games.
Boston Bruins: Hal Gill
The Bruins drafted big Hal Gill in the eighth round of the 1993 draft with the 208th overall pick. Despite these humble beginnings, Gill developed into a steady, physical NHL defenseman.
Gill has played 15 seasons in the NHL and is still active with the Nashville Predators. He never developed into much of an offensive threat, but he has played 1,102 NHL games with the Bruins, Maple Leafs, Penguins, Canadiens and Predators.
Gill won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009.
Buffalo Sabres: Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller was almost an afterthought when the Sabres selected him in the fifth round with the 138th pick in the 1999 NHL Draft.
Miller spent three seasons at Michigan State where he won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey.
He then went on to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie in 2010 and was named the best goalie of the Olympics that same year while leading the USA to a silver medal.
Miler is now the Sabres all-time career wins leader with 269.
Calgary Flames: Toni Lydman
Finnish defenseman Toni Lydman wasn't selected until the fourth round of the 1996 NHL Draft when the Flames grabbed him with the 89th pick overall.
Lydman joined the Flames in 2000-01 and later played for Buffalo and Anaheim.
He has developed into a steady defenseman who has played in 847 games and scored 36 goals and 242 points in his NHL career.
Carolina Hurricanes: Sami Kapanen
The Hartford Whalers grabbed winger Sami Kapanen in the fourth round with the 87th overall pick in the 1995 NHL Draft.
The biggest concern about Kapanen was his size: the skilled Finn stood just 5'8" and weighed 169 pounds.
Despite his lack of bulk, Kapanen had a successful NHL career. He played eight seasons for the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise before playing more than four more years with the Flyers.
Kapanen had five straight seasons with 20-or-more goals including a career-best 27 goals and 69 points in 2001-02.
He played 831 career NHL games before heading back to Europe in 2008.
Chicago Blackhawks: Dustin Byfuglien
The Chicago Blackhawks drafted Dustin Byfuglien in the eighth round of the 2003 NHL Draft with the 245th overall pick.
Byfuglien went on to become a key part of the Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup-winning club, scoring 11 goals and 16 points in 22 postseason games.
The Minneapolis native's size and versatility were keys to his success. He could play both forward and defense and used his size to drive opponents crazy.
In 450 career games with Chicago, Atlanta and Winnipeg, Byfuglien has scored 95 goals and accumulated 243 points.
He has also been selected to play in two NHL All-Star Games.
Colorado Avalanche: Milan Hejduk
The Quebec Nordiques selected winger Milan Hejduk with the 87th overall selection (4th round) in the 1994 NHL Draft.
The native of the Czech Republic arrived in the NHL in 1998 and went on to a successful career with the Avalanche.
Hejduk was a major part of Colorado's 2001 Stanley Cup championship team, scoring 41 goals in the regular season that year and adding 23 points in 23 playoff contests.
His best NHL season came in 2002-03 when he scored 50 goals and accumulated 98 points.
Last season, Hejduk appeared in his 1,000th NHL game, all with Colorado. He has scored 375 goals and 805 points.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Derek Dorsett
The Columbus Blue Jackets selected Derek Dorsett in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL Draft with the 189th overall pick.
The former Medicine Hat Tigers star has more than 100 penalty minutes in each of his four full seasons with the Blue Jackets before they dealt him to the New York Rangers last season in the Marian Gaborik deal.
Dorsett is a tough customer. He is capable of contributing in other ways besides dropping the glove. Dorsett scored 12 goals for Columbus in 2011-12.
He should be a fan favorite with the Rangers next season in his first full season on Broadway.
Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn
The Dallas Stars selected Jamie Benn in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL Draft with the 129th overall pick.
Benn has scored more than 20 goals in each of his three full NHL seasons before adding 12 goals in 41 games during this year's lockout-shortened campaign.
The Victoria, B.C., native is considered one of the key players the Stars are rebuilding around.
Benn has scored 82 goals and 193 points in 263 NHL games and at 23, he has yet to reach his prime.
Detroit Red Wings: Pavel Datsyuk
The Detroit Red Wings were ahead of the competition when it came to scouting and drafting European players.
In 1998, they scored their biggest coup when they selected Pavel Datsyuk in the sixth round with the 171st overall pick.
Datsyuk is considered by many to be the best all-around talent in the NHL. He put together a string of four straight seasons with 87-or-more points including a pair of 97-point campaigns.
Datsyuk's trophy case is pretty full. He's won two Stanley Cups with Detroit as well as four Lady Byng Trophies and three Selke Trophies.
Edmonton Oilers: Miro Satan
The Edmonton Oilers selected skilled Slovak winger Miro Satan in the fifth round of the 1993 draft with the 111th overall selection.
Satan went on to play in more than 1,000 NHL games, had four seasons of more than 30 goals including a career-high 40 with Buffalo in 1998-99.
Satan was selected to play in two NHL All-Star Games and won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009.
Florida Panthers: Filip Kuba
The Panthers grabbed Filip Kuba in the eighth round of the 1995 NHL Draft, using the 192nd overall pick to grab the big native of the Czech Republic.
Kuba made his NHL debut during the 1998-99 season and has since played 836 games with the Panthers, Wild, Lightning and Senators. Last season, he was back where he started his NHL career, playing with the Panthers.
Kuba has represented the Czech Republic twice in the Olympics, winning a bronze medal in 2006.
He has scored 70 goals and 333 points in 836 career NHL games.
Los Angeles Kings: Jonathan Quick
The Los Angeles Kings selected Connecticut native Jonathan Quick in the third round of the 2005 NHL Draft with the 72nd overall choice.
Quick has gone on to have an impressive career, leading the Kings to their first ever Stanley Cup title in 2012 and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy that year as playoff MVP.
Quick had a 1.95 GAA during the 2011-12 season and improved to a 1.86 GAA and three shutouts in the playoffs.
At 27, Quick is right in his prime and should have several more seasons near the top of the goaltending profession.
Minnesota Wild: Cal Clutterbuck
Cal Clutterbuck was a third-round choice of the Minnesota Wild in the 2006 NHL Draft. Minnesota selected Clutterbuck with the 72nd overall choice.
Clutterbuck developed into one of the NHL's most physical players. In 2008-09, the Welland, Ontario, native set a new league record with 356 hits.
Because of his physical style, Clutterbuck is a fan favorite in Minnesota. He can also produce points when needed. Clutterbuck scored a career-best 19 goals and 34 points in 2010-11.
Montreal Canadiens: Tomas Vokoun
Goalie Tomas Vokoun was almost an afterthought in the 1994 NHL Draft. The Canadiens selected the European goalie with pick 226 in the ninth round.
Vokoun only played one period in goal for Montreal. He later became a star with the Predators and later played for Florida, Washington and Pittsburgh.
He was selected to play in two NHL All-Star Games and has represented the Czech Republic twice at the Olympics, winning a bronze medal in 2006.
Vokoun took over as the starting goalie for the Penguins in the first round of this year's playoffs and led the Pens past the Islanders and Senators before falling to the Bruins in the third round.
Vokoun has now played in exactly 700 NHL regular season games during his career.
Nashville Predators: Pekka Rinne
Finnish goalie Pekka Rinne was a steal for the Predators when they selected him in the eighth round of the 2004 NHL Draft with the 258th overall pick.
Rinne has gone on to be a star in net for Nashville and has twice been a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
He is also the only goaltender to lead the Predators to a win in a playoff series which he accomplished in 2010 and 2011.
Rinne is also the Predators all-time leader in career shutouts with 30.
New Jersey Devils: Steve Sullivan
Steve Sullivan is one of those players that often flies under the radar to fans, but teammates are all aware of the contributions that the 5'9" native of Timmins, Ontario, makes to his team.
The New Jersey Devils selected Sullivan in the ninth round of the 1994 NHL Draft with the 233rd overall pick.
Sullivan has now played in 1,011 games in the NHL with New Jersey, Toronto, Chicago, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Phoenix.
He has scored 290 goals and 747 points including a career-best 34 tallies with Chicago in 2000-01.
Last season, Sullivan found himself back where he started his NHL career as the Coyotes dealt him back to the Devils at the trade deadline.
New York Islanders: Andrew MacDonald
Andrew MacDonald has become an important part of the Islanders defensive corps which is a bit of a surprise for a player not selected until the sixth round of the 2006 NHL Draft with the 160th overall pick.
A-Mac has teamed with Travis Hamonic to give the Isles a pair of young, talented defensemen that can help slow down opposing team's top scorers.
The native of Judique, Nova Scotia, should log even more minutes next season with the departure of captain Mark Streit.
At 26, MacDonald is just entering the prime of his career.
New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist
The Rangers found Henrik Lundqvist in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Draft. It's hard to believe that 204 players were drafted ahead of "King Henrik" that year.
Lundqvist made his way to New York in 2005 after the last NHL lockout and was expected to back up Kevin Weekes. Weekes started the season on the injured list and Lundqvist played so well, he never relinquished the starting job.
Since then, he has won a Vezina Trophy, played in three All-Star Games and been a finalist for the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award.
The Swedish goalie has also led Sweden to a gold medal at the 2006 Olympics.
Lundqvist is the backbone of the Rangers and helped lead them to the Eastern Conference Final in 2012.
Ottawa Senators: Daniel Alfredsson
The Ottawa Senators selected Swedish winger Daniel Alfredsson in the sixth round of the 1994 NHL Draft. It was the best pick the Sens have ever made.
Alfredsson went on to become the team's captain and has scored 426 goals and 1,108 points in 1,178 career NHL games.
He helped lead the Senators to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007, their longest playoff run since re-joining the NHL.
Alfredsson has been selected to play in six NHL All-Star Games and holds most career offensive records in the history of the Senators franchise.
He has also won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie and a gold medal at the Olympics. Not bad for a man selected with the 133rd selection in the 1994 draft.
Philadelphia Flyers: Dennis Seidenberg
Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was drafted in the sixth round by the Flyers back in 2001 with the 172nd overall pick.
The German-born Seidenberg went on to win a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011 and was a key reason Boston returned to the Stanley Cup Final this season.
Seidenberg has played for the Flyers, Coyotes, Hurricanes, Panthers and Bruins during his NHL career.
In 581 career NHL games, he has scored 34 goals and accumulated 188 points.
Phoenix Coyotes: Daniel Winnik
Daniel Winnik wasn't selected until the ninth round of the 2004 NHL Draft but the Toronto native became a solid NHL player despite the fact that 264 players were selected before him that year.
Winnik played for the Coyotes, Avalanche, Sharks and Ducks during his NHL career. In 414 games, he has scored 43 goals and 120 points.
While he is not known as a goal scorer, Winnik has become a valuable contributor to several teams because of his steady defensive play.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Matt Moulson
The Pittsburgh Penguins drafted winger Matt Moulson in the ninth round of the 2003 NHL Draft with the 263rd overall pick.
It took a while for Moulson to become an everyday player in the NHL but once he got his chance, he made the most of it.
After a few brief stints with the Kings, the former Cornell University star became a consistent 30-goal scorer with the New York Islanders, scoring 97 goals over a three-year period with the Isles.
Moulson has an eye for the net and great chemistry with Isles center John Tavares.
St. Louis Blues: Lee Stempniak
The Blues selected forward Lee Stempniak with the 148th overall selection of the 2003 NHL Draft.
Not too many fifth-round picks score 20 or more goals in a season, but Stempniak did that in his second NHL season after a successful college career at Dartmouth.
Stempniak went on to play for the Maple Leafs, Coyotes and Flames and remains a consistent contributor.
In 564 career NHL games, Stempniak has scored 138 goals and accumulated 307 points.
San Jose Sharks: Miikka Kiprusoff
While the Sharks have had a lot of late-round draft success, their best "sleeper" was goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. San Jose selected the Finnish netminder in the fifth round in 1995 with the 116th overall pick.
"Kipper" never became the full-time starter in San Jose and was traded to the Calgary Flames. In Calgary, Kiprusoff became a star.
He led the Flames to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004 and won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie in 2005-06.
Kiprusoff has won 311 games in his NHL career and has a GAA of 2.45. He has also recorded 44 shutouts.
While he is now contemplating retirement, Kiprusoff will go down as one of the greatest goalies in Flames history and a steal in the fifth round of the draft.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Pavel Kubina
The Tampa Bay Lightning selected defenseman Pavel Kubina in the seventh round of the 1996 NHL Draft with the 179th overall pick.
The big native of the Czech Republic became a solid contributor while playing for the Lightning, Maple Leafs, Thrashers and Flyers.
Kubina helped the Bolts win a Stanley Cup back in 2004.
His most productive seasons came with Toronto when he had back-to-back 40-point campaigns in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Kubina played in 970 NHL games, scoring 110 goals and 386 points.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Tomas Kaberle
Like many Europeans in the 1990s, Tomas Kaberle wasn't selected until the eighth round of the draft when Toronto grabbed him with the 204th pick in the draft.
Kaberle developed into a productive defenseman and one of the better passers on the blue line. '
His best season came in 2005-06 when he had 58 assists and 67 points with the Maple Leafs.
After spending more than a decade with Toronto, Kaberle has played with Boston, Carolina and Montreal. He was a member of the 2011 Stanley Cup champions in Boston.
In 984 career NHL games, Kaberle has scored 87 goals and 563 points.
Vancouver Canucks: Matt Cooke
Matt Cooke is considered one of the NHL's best agitators. He wasn't drafted until the sixth round of the 1997 NHL Draft when Vancouver grabbed him with the 144th overall pick.
Cooke played nine seasons in Vancouver before he was traded to the Capitals in 2008. After that, he joined the Pittsburgh Penguins where he won a Stanley Cup in 2009.
Cooke is the kind of player opposing players and fans hate to play against but love to have on their team.
He has scored 153 goals and 360 points in 935 career NHL games while adding 1,068 penalty minutes and a lot of controversy.
Washington Capitals: Andrew Brunette
The Washington Capitals selected forward Andrew Brunette in the seventh round with the 174th overall pick in the 1993 NHL Draft.
While he only played briefly in Washington, Brunette went on to have a lengthy NHL career that included six seasons with at least 20 goals.
He later played for the Predators, Thrashers, Wild, Avalanche and Blackhawks.
In 1,110 career NHL games, Brunette scored 268 goals and 733 points.
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom
The Atlanta Thrashers drafted Swedish defenseman Tobias Enstrom in the eighth round of the 2003 NHL Draft with the 239th overall pick.
Enstrom came to the NHL in 2007 and has been a solid player for the Thrashers/Jets franchise ever since.
Enstrom's most productive season came in 2010-11 when he scored 10 goals and 51 points.
He now has 36 goals and 219 points in 402 career NHL games.