A Decade of Disappointment? Reflecting back on NHL Draft Day 1999
June 26, 1999 will go down as a day of infamy in NHL history, as it was on this day that many NHL general managers probably lost their jobs ... or set the stage to do so.
The floor of the Fleet Centre (TD Bank North Garden as it's known now), was one where dreams where made for many young men, but the lingering nightmares will forever remain for many franchises. On draft day, everyone is a gambler, and just like Vegas, those who think they have the "sure thing" end up the biggest losers in the end.
The 1st Overall Pick Goes to the Atlanta Thrashers Who Select...
Suffering more concussions than a Lindros contributed to Stefan being continuously sidelined and kept him from ever making an impact. With the distinction of being considered by most to be the worst 1st overall pick in history, his failure to live up to expectations helped to further entrench the Thrashers into the league's basement for years to come.
Hall of Shame: Missing an empty net (on a breakaway no less) in the dying seconds of a game against Edmonton, in which the Oilers then rushed back up ice to tie the game. (YouTube it!) Stefan left the NHL following the 2006-07 season.
NHL Totals GP 455 G 64 A 124 PTS 188 (Gretzky did more in 1 season on many occasions)
The 2nd Overall Pick Goes to the Vancouver Canucks Who Select...
The younger of the Sedin's (by six minutes), Daniel is considered the goal scorer of the duo. Good hands and a great chemistry with his brother Henrik have helped Daniel to have success at the pro level with the Canucks.
But even with all the regular season success, Sedin's paltry 28 points in only 53 playoff games over eight seasons have him tagged as a post-season bust, not able to raise his game when it matters most.
NHL Totals GP: 642 G: 179 A: 283 PTS: 462
(Recently signed a six-year extension to stay with the Canucks with his brother Henrik)
The 3rd Overall Pick ALSO Goes to the Vancouver Canucks Who Select...
Due to some creative and hard negotiations by then GM Brian Burke, he pulled off the coup of nabbing the second of the Swedish Wonder Twins with the third overall pick.
The playmaker of the Twin Bill, Henrik set a team record by recording 71 assists in 2006-07. But just like his brother, his lack of playoff success with the 'nucks (30 points in 53 games), make them dynamic "duds" when it comes to post season play, failing to spark Vancouver to any playoff success.
GP: 646 G: 109 A: 351 PTS: 460
(Recently signed six-year extension to stay with the Canucks with his brother Daniel)
Watch his recent hat trick here:
The 4th Overall Pick goes to the New York Rangers who Select....
1999 Saw Brendl take the WHL by storm, recording 73 goals and 134 points. Making all the way to the Memorial Cup, and being showered with post season awards:
Bob Clarke Trophy (WHL Top Scorer) in 1999.
JIm Piggott Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year) in 1999.
WHL Plus-Minus Award (Top plus-minus) in 1999.
Named to the CHL All-Rookie Team in 1999.
Named to the CHL First All-Star Team in 1999.
How could the Rangers go wrong?? Well, in typical Ranger fashion, this Czech BOUNCED on Broadway in a big way quicker than a New York Minute!
Now Playing in Europe, Brendl just couldn't translate his enormous talents to the North American game.
The 5th Overall Pick Goes to the New York Islanders Who Select...
Great hands and great vision matched with a soft head and numerous bell ringings, that pretty much sums up the career of Tim Connolly.
Making the team out of camp as an 18-year-old, Connolly displayed flashes of his first-round potential putting up 34 points in 81 games.
Mad Mike would strike, sending Connolly and fellow first rounder Taylor Pyatt to the Buffalo Sabres for Michael Peca.
Though this deal yielded dividends short term for the Isles ... Connolly continues to produce for the Sabres, whereas Peca is a fixture every year on the UFA list to start a season.
Even though he is still currently playing, Connolly continues to be an enigma for the Sabres with his injury riddled career making him a prime candidate for debates of a "what if..." career.
Career NHL Totals Games 486 Goals 88 Assists 200 Points 288
The 6th Overall Pick Goes to the Nashville Predators Who Select...
The 7th Overall Pick Goes to the Washington Capitals Who Select...
Most famous for being part of the deal that sunk the near bankrupt Pittsburgh Penguins which saw Beech, Michal Sivek and Ross Lupaschuk come to Steel Town, sending Mario Jr (use the letters in his first name, it works!), Jaromir Jagr to the Washington Capitals, dealing a crushing blow to a reeling franchise.
Beech didn't make ANYBODY forgot about Jagr, as he was the lynchpin of this pathetic deal, and played in all of 100 games over four different seasons for Pittsburgh, tallying 10 goals and 27 total points (or what Jagr would do in any given month) and 113 points in his career ... which would be considered a bad year for the future Hall of Famer he was traded for.
NHL Career Stats Games 198 Goals 25 Assists 42 Points 67 PIM's 113
The 8th Overall Pick Goes to the New York Islanders Who Select...
At 6'4" and 200-plus pounds with smooth hands, Taylor Pyatt became the Islanders third pick of the first round.
After racking up 164 Points in his last two years of junior with the OHL Sudbury Wolves, Taylor was the only player with no NHL experience to make the Islanders roster out of training camp.
His time on the island was short lived, as the next year he was packaged with fellow first rounder Tim Connolly to Buffalo for Mike Peca. Pyatt would then find his way to Vancouver, where he would find moderate success playing with fellow 1999 Draft Alumni the Sedin Twins.
Pyatt has matched his output in the NHL that he had in the OHL, it's just that he has taken an extra 300-plus games to do so. Sadly, Taylor lost his fiancee Carly Bragnalo this year in a tragic car accident, but after a brief break from hockey, he made a return to the Canucks in the playoffs.
NHL totals Games 532 Goals 91 Assists 100 Points 191
OHL totals Games 194 Goals 91 Assists 104 Points 195
Check out one of Taylor's recent goals here:
The 9th Overall Pick Goes to the New York Rangers Who Select...
The Rangers selected the sniper ninth overall, who while playing for the Western Hockey League's Moose Jaw Warriors and Seattle Thunderbirds tallied 96 goals in three seasons of junior hockey.
Lundmark was a tantalizing pick for the Rangers who had earlier added another WHL sniper in Pavel Brendl in hopes of adding some much needed scoring punch.
But sadly, just like Brendl, Lundmark didn't leave much of a mark, and spent most of his career in the minors. Lundmark has played in only 259 NHL games for four different teams, (NYR, PHX, LA, and two stints with Calgary where he currently is) over the past eight years, and amassed a paltry 35 goals (the same total he had in his last year of junior alone).
The Rangers expectations were quickly dashed, as the dynamic duo of Brendl and Lundmark was one act on Broadway with where the curtain came crashing down with little fanfare.
Career NHL Stats Games 259 Goals 35 Assists 52 Points 87
The 10th Overall Pick (and 4th of the 1st Round) Goes to the New York Islanders who select...
The Islanders, picking for the fourth time in the first 10 picks, selected the hulking rearguard from the OHL's Belleville Bulls.
Mezei spent more time in the AHL (79 games) than he did with the Isles (66 games). In 2002, the first round dud was dealt to the Florida Panthers for Jason Wiemer, where he played another 174 games over five seasons, making no impact whatsoever.
Mezei has now left the NHL for the KHL where he now gets to play regularly.
Career NHL Stats Games 240 Goals 5 Assists 19 Points 24
And the Best NON Top 10 pick of the 1st Round....
The Ottawa Senators at No. 26 with Martin Havlat. Not quite a "SuperStar" by any means, Havlat has the skill and has put up the best numbers of his draft class outside of the Sedins.
Games 470 Goals 169 Assists 227 Points 396
Just signed nice lucrative deal with Minnesota.
Arguably the Best Pick of the Draft ... 210th Overall in the 7th Round...
The Detroit Red Wings choose Henrik Zetterberg
A Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe clearly put Hank at the head of this draft class.
A force at both ends of the ice, Zetterberg has been a cornerstone of the Red Wing success and will be for years to come with his newly inked 12-year $73 Million contract with the organization.
Watch Zetterberg light the lamp three times last month here:
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