Best New York Islanders Draft Picks That Made Their Careers Elsewhere
Being an avid hockey card collector, I happened to notice that many now famous players were suited up in Islanders jerseys early on in their careers but are famous for playing on other teams.
It seems as though the Islanders have been pretty deft year after year at the entry drafts, especially after selecting such names as Denis Potvin '73, Bryan Trottier in '74 and Mike Bossy in '77 (ever heard of them??).
However, New York has also selected some All-Star talent and watched them leave to bigger and better things in other markets. Some have won Stanley Cups, and others have won major NHL trophies. All while donning the jerseys of teams that didn't draft them.
So here's the list of players the Islanders either missed out on or let go too early.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Rupp and Vladimir Malakhov
Both of these players were drafted by the Islanders. Malakhov 191st overall in 1989 and Rupp ninth overall in 1998.
Both of them didn't really pan out to be big names in the NHL. However, both of them did win a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils.
They moved on from the Island to bigger and better things, even if their respective championships are the only legacy from their careers.
10. Eric Brewer
Drafted fifth overall by the Islanders in 1997, hopes were high for the big defender in New York, but after amassing a grand total of 13 points in two seasons, he was shipped off to Edmonton.
Brewer has played in all 10 seasons since he was traded for several other teams and has totaled 210 career points. Maybe the Islanders just weren't patient enough on this one.
9. Raffi Torres
Torres was drafted fifth overall in 2000, and his story is very similar to that of Brewer. Torres played two seasons with the Islanders without scoring a single goal but added six assists.
He was then traded to Edmonton (told you it was similar to Brewer). Since then, Torres has played seven seasons on three different teams and racked up 211 career points. His story is pretty much a carbon copy of Brewer's and another example of a missed opportunity for the Islanders.
8. Tim Connolly
Connolly was drafted fifth overall by New York in 1999 and played two decent seasons for the Islanders. He was then sent to Buffalo in a swap for Mike Peca and has played the last eight seasons for the Sabres.
Due to the fact that his career has been plagued by injuries, Connolly's numbers are lower than they should be, but 395 career points is not too shabby. Hopefully he will stay healthy and get back to his natural self.
7. J.P. Dumont
Dumont is the first of two players on this list who never played a single game for the Islanders. Drafted third overall in 1998, Dumont's rights were sent to Chicago for Dmitri Nabokov.
Dumont has since played for three teams throughout his 12-year career and totaled 523 points, including 38 game-winning goals.
6. Wade Redden
He has played 994 career games, has 450 total points and has a career plus/minus rating of 162, very strong for a defenseman.
Sending away a second overall pick like Redden is definitely one of the biggest missed chances in Islanders' history.
5. Bryan McCabe
McCabe was drafted 40th overall in the 1993 draft, and played a solid two-and-a-half years for the Islanders, 82 games in each of the first two, another 56 in the third year, with a total of 62 points for the club.
The Islanders then continued down the path with similar players and shipped him off to Vancouver. McCabe has continued his solid defensive and gritty play for the last 12 years for different clubs and racked up 528 points over a span of 1135 games, a number that testifies to his resilience.
Another solid defenseman lost.
4. Jason Spezza
While Spezza was not actually drafted by the Islanders, he was drafted with their second overall draft pick after they traded it to the Senators.
While the first round of the 2001 draft was not busting with talent anyway (especially after Ilya Kovalchuk was taken first overall), the Islanders definitely could have used Spezza's natural scoring touch over the years.
Spezza has averaged 66.5 points a year over his career, a stat that is especially telling due to the fact that he has only played more than 75 games three times in his career. Had the Islanders kept him, Spezza could have been one of the best ever on their team.
3. Todd Bertuzzi
Bertuzzi was drafted 23rd overall by the Islanders in 1993, and after playing there for two-and-a-half years was traded to Vancouver where he played the best hockey of his career.
Bertuzzi scored more than 50 points in every full season he played for the Canucks except for one and even managed to put up 97 and 85 point seasons.
Total of 713 points in 1,022 games? Not too bad for one of the lower draft picks the Islanders have had in this list.
2. Roberto Luongo
I'll bet the Islanders wish they could get this one back. After being drafted fourth overall, Luongo played only 24 games for the Islanders before being shipped to Florida with Olli Jokinen for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha. Wow.
Whether you're a fan or not, Luongo is definitely one of the top goalies in the league. With 308 wins, 55 shutouts and a gold medal with Canada last year, Luongo is an elite goaltender and could have made the Islanders a much, much better team than they have been over the years.
1. Zdeno Chara
Chara is the definite No. 1 on this list as he just captained the Bruins to the Stanley Cup.
In 1996, Chara was taken 56th overall and played four seasons for New York and scored 29 points for them, a number that he reached in almost every season after he left the Islanders.
He won a Norris Trophy for the best defenseman in the NHL in 2008-09 and was nominated for the award this past season.
With Chara around, not only would New York's blue line be a hell of a lot better, but their team would have a great leader as well. Not to mention a guy who's 6'9".