The National Hockey League entry draft has been in existence in one form or another since 1963, but it has not always been one of the focal points of each calender year for the league and its teams.
Until the draft became as we know it today, each NHL team sponsored junior teams in Canada. The NHL clubs would scour rinks for young players, sign them to contracts and place them on the sponsored teams. These sponsored junior teams served as developmental clubs for the NHL.
Known as the NHL amateur draft at its inception, the event was held for organizations to claim the rights to unsigned players who did not play for sponsored junior "A" teams.
The draft has evolved as junior teams are no longer sponsored by the NHL organizations and it has become a highly scientific process with teams placing strong emphases on scouting, testing and interviewing players in the days and weeks leading up to the NHL entry draft.
Over the 48-year history of the draft, there have been some major surprises where players who were not projected to be anything more than fourth liners have gone on to become stars. One such player would be Detroit Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk. The Russian forward was drafted in the sixth round (171st overall) of the 1998 entry draft and is widely regarded as one of the top five players on the planet in 2011.
The entry draft has also yielded some major disappointments.
It is time to introduce the National Hockey League's top seven players who were selected first overall in their respective draft years who would go on to be topics of discussion for all the wrong reasons. For whatever reasons, they are NHL draft busts.