Often times, a team's success can depend on how well they have drafted over the years. We have to look no further than over the last two and a half seasons and see teams like the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Washington Capitals dominate to prove this exact point.
While the Wings did it by finding late-round gems like Tomas Holmstrom at 247th overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Pavel Datsyuk at 171st overall in 1998, and Henrik Zetterberg at 210th overall in 1999, teams like Pittsburgh and Washington stockpiled first-rounders after years of shoddy finishes.
The Calgary Flames, incredibly, have managed to stay amidst the playoff race for the last few seasons despite having drafted poorly over the years.
In fact, because the Flames have consistently iced decent clubs over their 30-year history, they have never had a first-round pick in the top five.
Out of those 28 first-rounders selected, only Al Macinnis, Gary Roberts, Cory Stillman, Derek Morris, Trevor Kidd, Dan Quinn, Denis Gauthier, and Dion Phaneuf have made any sort of significant impact in the NHL. And the term "significant impact" can be used very loosely when it comes to the aforementioned Kidd and Gauthier.
The Flames' entire body of work when it comes to the draft will leave you scratching your head worse than a cartoon in the New Yorker.
That being said, with the Olympic break upon us, and with the Flames holding on to the last playoff spot in the West by the skin of their teeth, I thought it would be a swell time to look at top ten worst first-round picks in Calgary Flames history.
Picks that even make Mike Milbury look like an extraordinary intellect when it comes to managing an NHL team.
10. Rico Fata (Sixth overall, 1998 NHL Entry Draft)
Everybody thought that Rico Fata's speed alone would make for a long NHL career. But his hands were like Cheech and Chong...stoned all the time!
27 goals in 230 NHL games means you're ending your career in Europe.
They could have picked...Nikolai Antropov, Alex Tanguay, Simon Gagne, Scott Gomez
9. Chris Dingman (19th overall, 1994 NHL Entry Draft)
Yeah he played 385 NHL games, and won a Stanley Cup in Tampa, but did Calgary have to select him in the first-round, 19th overall? It made about as much sense as robbing a gun store with a knife.
They could have picked...Sheldon Souray, Chris Drury, Daniel Alfredsson, Steve Sullivan
8. Kris Chucko (24th overall, 2004 NHL Entry Draft)
There may still be a chance for the Flames first-round selection in 2004, but it continues to fade faster than Christian Slater's acting career.The 23-year-old has played just two games in the NHL thus far.
They could have picked...Mike Green, Dave Bolland, David Booth, Brandon Dubinsky
7. Daniel Tkaczuk (Sixth overall, 1997 NHL Entry Draft)
Depending on who you ask, Daniel Tkaczuk was either a total bust, a player who should have got more of a chance to prove himself in the NHL, or a player whose pro career was ended because of concussions.
Either way, he only played 19 games in the NHL.
They could have picked...Sergei Samsonov, Marian Hossa, Scott Hannan, Brendan Morrow
6. Jason Muzzatti (21st overall, 1988 NHL Entry Draft)
Jason Muzzatti would have been a great goaltender in the NHL, if he knew how to stop pucks a lot better.
They could have picked...Mark Recchi, Tony Amonte, Rob Blake, Tie Domi
5. Niklas Sundblad (19th overall, 1991 NHL Entry Draft)
When the Flames drafted him he was billed as a tough Swede that played a Canadian game and had soft hands.
The only problem?
He was none of those things, and he played just two games in the NHL because of it.
They could have picked...Martin Rucinsky, Dean McAmmond, Ray Whitney, Zigmund Palffy
4. Jesper Mattsson (18th overall, 1993 NHL Entry Draft)
Calgary didn't learn their lesson from taking Sundblad, and two years later drafted Jesper Mattsson.
Mattsson was supposed to be a star in the NHL after winning two Swedish championships before he turned 19, but the defenseman never saw one game in the NHL.
If you have a Swede-tooth, be prepared to have cavities in your lineup.
They could have picked...Saku Koivu, Todd Bertuzzi, Jamie Langenbrunner, Bryan McCabe
3. Brent Krahn (Ninth overall, 2000 NHL Entry Draft)
Brent finally got his first bit of NHL action last season playing 20 minutes in goal for the Dallas Stars.
He gave up three goals on nine shots.
They could have picked...Brooks Orpik, Alexander Frolov, Anton Volchenkov, Brad Boyes
2. Chris Biotti (17th overall, 1985 NHL Entry Draft)
Didn't play a single game in the NHL, but he is an attorney and a politician now so maybe he can lie about it.
They could have picked...Sean Burke, Mike Richter, Fredrik Olausson, Eric Weinrich
1. Bryan Deasley (19th overall, 1987 NHL Entry Draft)
Never played in the NHL but has a degree in Sports Management, so maybe he can help the Flames draft better.
They could have picked...Mathieu Schneider, Shawn McEachern, John LeClair, Eric Desjardins
They did get Theoren Fleury 166th overall, however, so all was not lost.
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