NHL Rankings: The 20 Biggest Top 10 Draft Busts of All Time
The entry draft is an exciting event for NHL teams and their fans. It is an opportunity to add young talent to the pipeline and stock up for future success.
The draft is particularly exhilarating, and even more important, for clubs that have a pick in the top 10. This is generally where the best prospects are drafted and where the most NHL-ready players will still be on the board.
Current superstars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and the Sedin twins were all top 10 draft picks. Such players are capable of transforming their clubs into instant contenders and can completely alter the complexion of a franchise.
However, not every player drafted in the top 10 will enjoy NHL success.
Despite dominating in juniors or in other developmental leagues overseas, many players struggle, for one reason or another, to continue playing at an elite level once they make the jump to professional hockey.
Here are 20 players who were top 10 draft picks yet failed to make an impact at the NHL level.
Alexander Svitov, Tampa Bay Lightning
The third player selected in 2001, directly behind star forwards Ilya Kovalchuk (first overall) and Jason Spezza (second overall), Svitov's best season in the NHL was an unimpressive 18-point campaign for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2006-07. He has been playing in the KHL ever since.
NHL career: 179 games played, 37 points.
Robin Sadler, Montreal Canadiens
Drafted ninth overall in 1975, Sadler decided to end his hockey career during his first training camp with the Canadiens. A star for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WCHL during his teenage years, he never played an NHL game. It is believed that Sadler was unwilling, or unable, to deal with the pressures of being a professional athlete.
NHL career: 0 games played, 0 points.
Brian Lawton, Minnesota North Stars
Lawton was the first overall pick in the 1983 entry draft. Though he had a long career in the NHL, he never came close to living up to his draft position. His best season was in 1986-87, when he tallied 44 points in 66 games for Minnesota. He played his last season in the NHL in 1992-93 for the San Jose Sharks.
NHL career: 483 games played, 266 points.
Petr Taticek, Florida Panthers
Taticek was the ninth player drafted in the 2002 entry draft. He enjoyed moderate success in the OHL, where he registered 63 points in 60 games in 2001-02. However, he struggled to find the scoresheet in the American Hockey League the following year and only marginally improved each year afterwards. He now plays in the Swiss A League for Davos.
NHL Career: 3 games played, 0 points.
Bryan Fogarty, Quebec Nordiques
Fogarty was picked ninth overall in 1987 by the Nordiques. He was an absolute force offensively in juniors, where he registered a whopping 155 points in 60 games for the Niagara Falls Thunder in 1988-89. However, he struggled with alcoholism during his career and left the league in 1995 after a very brief stint with the Montreal Canadiens.
NHL career: 156 games played, 74 points.
Brent Krahn, Calgary Flames
Drafted ninth overall by Calgary in 2000, Krahn enjoyed moderate success in the AHL for several years before playing his first game in the National Hockey League in 2008-09 as a member of the Dallas Stars. He allowed three goals on nine shots and hasn't played an NHL game since.
NHL career: 1 game played, .667 save %.
Jason Bonsignore, Edmonton Oilers
Bonsignore was picked fourth overall in the 1994 entry draft. A solid two-way center throughout his junior career, he was a non-factor at every level of hockey he played after his draft year. He played his last NHL game in 1998-99 for Tampa Bay.
NHL career: 79 games played, 16 points.
Rico Fata, Calgary Flames
The sixth player taken in the 1998 entry draft, Fata was a star for the OHL's London Knights prior to being drafted and put together a few impressive campaigns in the AHL following his draft year. He never was able to convert this to NHL success, however.
NHL career: 230 games played, 63 points.
Daniel Dore, Quebec Nordiques
Dore was selected fifth overall in the 1988 entry draft. A prolific scorer in juniors, he struggled to crack the Nordiques' roster and eventually found himself playing in the AHL as a member of the Hershey Bears. He ended up playing roller hockey for the Montreal Roadrunners in the mid-90's before hanging up the skates for good.
NHL career: 17 games played, 5 points.
Pat Falloon, San Jose Sharks
Falloon tallied 138 points in 61 games for the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL before being drafted second overall by San Jose in 1991. He made an immediate jump to the NHL and put together an impressive rookie campaign with 59 points in 79 games. The shifty winger never came close to matching that point total for the rest of his NHL career and left the league in 2000 after brief tenures with Philadelphia, Ottawa, Edmonton and Pittsburgh.
NHL career: 575 games played, 322 points.
Pavel Brendl, New York Rangers
The fourth overall pick in the 1999 entry draft, Brendl enjoyed a sterling junior career with the Calgary Hitmen, where he notched 134 points in 68 games in 1998-99 and 111 points in 61 games in 1999-2000. He played his first NHL game in 2001 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers and spent the following season in the AHL. His last game in the NHL was played in 2005 with the Phoenix Coyotes and he has since left the league to play in the KHL.
NHL career: 78 games played, 22 points.
Terry Ryan, Montreal Canadiens
Ryan is another forward who put up big points in juniors prior to being drafted. He was selected eighth overall in 1995 and saw his first NHL action in 1996 when he played 3 games for Montreal. He spent the majority of his career bouncing around the AHL, IHL and WCHL and hasn't played an NHL game since 1999.
NHL career: 8 games played, 0 points.
Steve Kelly, Edmonton Oilers
Drafted sixth overall by Edmonton in 1995, Kelly bounced around the NHL, AHL and IHL for his entire career. He retired in 2009 after playing one season for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. He played his last NHL game in 2008 when he got called up for 2 games by the Minnesota Wild.
NHL career: 149 games played, 21 points.
Neil Brady, New Jersey Devils
Brady was the third player picked in the 1986 entry draft. A star in juniors for the Medicine Hat Tigers, the lanky center never found a home in the NHL and spent the majority of his career toiling in the IHL. He played his last NHL game in 1994 as a Dallas Star.
NHL career: 89 games played, 31 points.
Ray Martyniuk, Montreal Canadiens
Drafted fifth overall in 1970, Martyniuk was, at best, a mediocre netminder at every level of hockey he played throughout his career. He had brief stints with teams in the AHL, IHL, WCHL, WHL and CHL but never managed to crack an NHL roster. He played his last game in 1979 for the Grand Rapids Owls of the IHL.
NHL career: 0 games played, .000 save %.
Scott Scissons, New York Islanders
Scissons was picked sixth overall in the 1990 entry draft after posting back-to-back 80 point seasons in the WHL for the Saskatoon Blades. His goal-scoring prowess disappeared, however, when he made the jump to professional hockey. After three years of mediocrity in the AHL, he left the league to play in the IHL, where he spent three seasons before retiring.
NHL career: 2 games played, 0 points.
Alexandre Daigle, Ottawa Senators
The first player picked in the 1993 entry draft, Daigle was a potent scorer during his junior days in the QMJHL. He made an immediate jump to the NHL in 1993 and had a respectable 51 point rookie season. Though he matched those 51 points twice in his career, he was never able to improve upon it and spent the rest of his time in the NHL as a secondary scorer who couldn't stay healthy. He played his last NHL game in 2006 for the Minnesota Wild.
NHL career: 616 games played, 327 points.
Daniel Tkaczuk, Calgary Flames
Tkaczuk was a star for the Barrie Colts of the OHL prior to being drafted sixth overall in 1997. He played his first NHL game in 2000 for the Flames and spent the rest of his career with various teams in the AHL, ECHL and DEL. He currently plays in the EIHL for the Nottingham Panthers.
NHL career: 19 games played, 11 points.
Alexandre Volchkov, Washington Capitals
Another product of the OHL's Barrie Colts, Volchkov was the fourth player taken in the 1996 entry draft. He spent the first three years of his professional career playing in the AHL for the Portland Pirates, where he failed to contribute offensively. His first NHL game was played in 1999 for the Capitals. He hasn't played a game in the NHL since, and most recently played in Russia before retiring in 2003.
NHL career: 3 games played, 0 points.
Patrik Stefan, Atlanta Thrashers
Stefan was the first overall pick in the 1999 entry draft. He put together two impressive seasons in the IHL before his draft year as a member of the Long Beach Ice Dogs prior to making the jump to the NHL immediately following his draft. He notched 25 points in 75 games as a rookie and played four more seasons for the Thrashers before joining the Dallas Stars in 2006, where he played 41 games and tallied 11 points. Though he played over 400 games in the NHL, Stefan never topped 40 points in a season and didn't come anywhere close to living up to his draft pedigree as a number one pick.
NHL career: 455 games played, 188 points.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!