NHL's 10 Worst Top 5 Draft Picks
10. Brian Lawton: First Overall by Minnesota North Stars—1983 NHL Entry Draft
With a rich crop of young talent including Steve Yzerman, Pat Lafontaine, Sylvain Turgeon, and Tom Barrasso, the Minnesota North Stars used their first overall pick to select Brian Lawton out of Mount St. Charles High School.
Lawton's rookie season was less than spectacular as he notched 10 goals and 21 assists in 58 games. He would become a role player on the North Stars for five seasons, scoring 20 goals once before moving to the New York Rangers in 1988.
He would spend parts of the next five seasons with the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, Boston Bruins, and the San Jose Sharks before retiring from hockey altogether.
NHL Career Stats: 483 GP, 112 G, 154 A, 266 PTS, 401 PIMs
9. Patrick Stefan: First Overall by Atlanta Thrashers—1999 NHL Entry Draft
Notorious for missing an empty net against the Oilers while playing for the Stars, Stefan's career was supposed to take off after being selected first overall by the expansion Atlanta Thrashers.
Stefan would never reach his supposed potential, scoring a career high of only 14 goals with Atlanta in 2003-04. After yet another disappointing season, this time with Dallas, Stefan made his way to Europe to play with Bern of the Swiss-A League.
NHL Career Stats: 455 GP, 64 G, 125 A, 188 PTS, 158 PIMs
8. Gord Kluzak: First Overall by Boston Bruins—1982 NHL Entry Draft
A bruising defender, Gord Kluzak was taken first overall by the Boston Bruins in 1982 before others such as Scott Stevens, Phil Housley, Doug Gilmour, and Brian Bellows.
Kluzak seemed to be a perfect fit in Boston during his first few seasons, amassing over 100 PIMs in four seasons with the Bruins. Yet Kluzak was not consistently in a Bruins uniform. He did not play both the 1984-85 or 1986-87 season due to severe knee injuries.
NHL Career Stats: 299 GP, 25 G, 98 A, 123 PTS, 543 PIMs
7. Wayne McBean: Fourth Overall by LA Kings—1987 NHL Entry Draft
McBean was a steady defenseman selected by the Los Angeles Kings straight from the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers.
With his consistent play, the Kings hoped he would make the transition to their top six defense. McBean floated between the Kings and their AHL affiliate in New Haven before being dealt to the New York Islanders in 1988-89.
In New York, McBean would still bounce between the Islanders and their AHL affiliate in Springfield before being dealt to the Winnipeg Jets where he would end his career following the 1993-94 season.
NHL Career Stats: 211 GP, 10 G, 39 A, 49 PTS, 168 PIMs
6. Neil Brady: Third Overall by New Jersey Devils—1986 NHL Entry Draft
The up-and-coming New Jersey Devils selected consistent WHL scorer Neil Brady third overall. Brady managed to score over 80 points in his first two seasons with the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers, but his numbers dropped in his final WHL season and never recovered.
Brady bounced between New Jersey and their AHL affiliate in Utica before being picked up by the expansion Ottawa Senators in 1992-93.
Brady's last shot at the NHL came in 1993-94 with the Dallas Stars. After that, he would play eight more season in the IHL with six different teams.
Other notables in the 1986 Draft include Brian Leetch, Vincent Damphousse, Teppo Numminen, and Adam Graves.
NHL Career Stats: 89 GP, 9 G, 22 A, 31 PTS, 95 PIMs
5. Dave Chyzowski: Second Overall by NY Islanders—1989 NHL Entry Draft
After Quebec picked Swedish forward Mats Sundin, the New York Islanders went with winger Dave Chyzowski from the WHL's Kamloops Blazers.
His WHL numbers were decent, but not anything that would make him a coveted first round pick. With a career high 104 points in 68 games in 1988-89, Chyzowski was seen as an up-and-coming forward.
He would play 34 games in his rookie season in 1989-90 with the Islanders, while also splitting time with the Blazers and the Islanders AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Chyzowski would bounce between the IHL and NHL for most of his career, until finally heading to Europe during the 2000-01 season.
NHL Career Stats: 126 GP, 15 G, 16 A, 31 PTS, 144 PIMs
4. Jason Bonisgnore: Fourth Overall by Edmonton Oilers—1994 NHL Entry Draft
With two picks in the top six of the 1994 draft, the Edmonton Oilers took Bonisgnore fourth overall.
A two-way forward for the OHL's Niagara Falls Thunder, Bonisgnore would find the NHL style too hard for him. He would play 20 games in 1995-96 for the Oilers before being dealt to Tampa Bay, where he would only play parts of two seasons.
Eventually Bonisgnore would go to Europe to play in the Finnish Elite League before coming back to play in the ECHL.
NHL Career Stats: 79 GP, 3 G, 13 A, 16 PTS, 34 PIMs
3. Pavel Brendl: Fourth Overall by NY Rangers—1999 NHL Entry Draft
A red-hot scoring machine from the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL—where he scored 320 points in 178 games—the New York Rangers took the coveted pick as their first overall pick.
Brendl seemed to be set for stardom as he was called up to the Rangers AHL affiliate in Hartford after Calgary was eliminated in the playoffs in 1999-00. Yet Brendl's WHL numbers slipped in 2000-01 and he never recovered.
Brendl was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers where he would play 42 games in 2002-03 scoring five goals and seven assists. Later dealt to Carolina and then to Phoenix, Brendl could not regain his scoring prowess and left for Europe.
NHL Career Stats: 78 GP, 11 G, 11 A, 22 PTS, 16 PIMs
2. Daniel Dore: Fifth Overall by Quebec Nordiques—1989 NHL Entry Draft
A good scorer with a mean streak, the Quebec Nordiques took their chance on Dore with the fifth overall pick from the QMJHL's Drumondville Voltigeurs.
Yet Dore would have troubles in the NHL splitting his time between Quebec and their AHL affiliate in Halifax.
After bouncing between the NHL, AHL, and eventually the ECHL, Dore retired from ice hockey and played a few seasons of roller hockey before retiring from hockey for good.
NHL Career Stats: 17 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 PTS, 59 PIMs
1. Alexandre Volchkov: Fourth Overall by Washington Capitals—1996 NHL Entry Draft
Selected by the Washington Capitals, Volchkov was a steady performer with the OHL's Barrie Colts. Not seen as a potential lethal scorer, the Capitals surprised many with the pick.
He would only ever play three NHL games for Washington, spending most of his time with the AHL's Portland Pirates. In 2000-01, he went back to Russia to play.
NHL Career Stats: 3 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, 0 PIMs
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