NHL: Top Five Draft Busts of All-Time

Alan BassSenior Writer IJune 17, 2008

Having a high draft pick is a great feeling for any general manager in the NHL.  But, it is also a huge possibility.  Not every number one pick can be a Steven Stamkos, a Sidney Crosby, or an Alexander Ovechkin.  Sometimes you need to really do research to figure out whether or not a player is for real, or if a few good seasons is just a fluke.  Let’s take a look at past draft busts in the National Hockey League.

5. Greg Joly, D, Washington Capitals, First overall, 1974.

Joly scored 92 points in 67 games as a junior player, yet only scored 97 in his entire career in the NHL.  He was one of the most coveted defenseman in the draft in 1974, yet turned out to be a huge fluke.  He only played 44 games in his rookie season because of a knee injury.  For the remainder of his career, he was hampered by those knee injuries.

4. Brian Lawton, LW, Minnesota North Stars, First overall, 1983.

Lawton scored ten goals in his rookie season, but then only scored twenty one time in the remainder of his short NHL career.  He was traded numerous times, and was the property of eight different teams throughout his career.  His final career numbers went as follows: 483 games, 112 goals, 154 assists, 366 points.

3. Pat Falloon, RW, San Jose Sharks, Second overall, 1991.

Falloon had two consecutive 60-goal seasons in juniors with Spokane, and was picked after Eric Lindros in the 1991 draft.  Of course, he was overshadowed by all of the Lindros controversy, and wound up playing with Lindros in Philadelphia for a few seasons.  He hit the 25-goal mark twice, but was clearly a bust.  He was a slow skater, and his weight was not muscle, so he was unable to throw his body around well.  His nickname was often known as “Fat Balloon”.  Falloon’s  final career numbers were 575 games, 143 goals, 179 assists, 322 points.

2. Alexandre Daigle, C, Ottawa Senators, First overall, 1993.

A prolific scoring machine in juniors with Victoriaville, Daigle was inked by the Sens to a five-year, $12.5-million deal. The Montreal native produced 20 goals and 51 points as a rookie, but he did not surpass that point total in a career that saw him skate for six teams.  His career numbers include 616 games, 129 goals, 198 assists, 327 points.

1. Patrick Stefan, LW, Atlanta Thrashers, First overall, 1999.

This guy just plain sucked.  You can see one of the worst bloopers in NHL history at the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI0CFWPxdss , where Patrick Stefan missed an empty net with ten seconds left, and then watched as his team gave up the tying goal eight seconds later.  Stefan is known as the worst first overall pick in NHL history statistically, as one can see: 455 games, 64 goals, 124 assists, 188 points.  Stefan spent his career between the Atlanta Thrashers and the Dallas Stars, and retired at the young age of 27.

I hope as a Flyers’ fan that James Van Riemsdyk turns out to be a great draft pick, or he could eventually be on this list as well.