In 2005-06 the NHL waved goodbye to the first overall pick of the 1993 draft. After 616 games the NHL had seen enough of the player who never lived up to the hype of being a “can’t miss” prospect.
The Ottawa Senators insist that if they had to do the 1993 draft over again, they’d still take Alexandre Daigle first overall. At the time it made the most sense. He was a French Canadian kid who could put fans in the seats. Not to mention he had a knack for racking up points (137 in his last year of junior).
It’s easy to figure out why he never lived up to the hype. As a young man Daigle stated that he played hockey mainly because he was good at it. It was his desire, not talent that kept him from ever getting his career off the ground.
After four and a half seasons, the Senators had seen enough and shipped Daigle to the Philadelphia Flyers. From that point on, his career fell into a sharp decline. He was out of the game altogether after the 1999-00 season.
Life without hockey wasn't as easy as Daigle thought it to be. Within two years, the desire to play came back again. He sold his Porsche and committed himself to hockey—much more then he did the first time around.
Daigle earned a tryout with the Pittsburgh Penguins and made the team after leading the in points during the preseason. The experiment lasted just 33 games and Daigle was sent to the minors.
After the 2002-03 season, Daigle’s agent approached Doug Risebrough, the general manager of the Minnesota Wild and explained that Daigle really felt like he could really help the team. After some convincing, Risebrough signed the former first round draft pick to a “last chance contract.”
In his first year with the Wild, Daigle surprised everyone and led the team in scoring, but his success was short lived and by February 2006 he was out of the NHL, this time (most likely) for good.
These days Daigle is having major success and perhaps living up to some of the hype. It may be on another continent, but Daigle has finally found his place in the hockey world. During the spring of 2006 he signed with HC Davos of the Swiss league. In his first season with the team, he led them to a championship and set career highs for points as a pro. Currently in his second season as a member of HC Davos, he’s second in the league in scoring.
Daigle may forever be the poster boy for disappointing first overall draft picks.
"I realize it's not exactly the career I expected to have," Daigle once admitted in an interview. But he was quick to state that he was “OK” with that.
Miles away, on a different continent, Daigle is excelling at a game he’s learned to love. Away from the critical North American eye, the former first round pick has found his niche in the European game.
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