Pavel Datsyuk and the Best NHL Players Drafted Later Than 100th Overall
Today, Pavel Datsyuk is one of the most skilled and feared players in the NHL. However, 13 years ago, he was a young Russian draft attendee who watched 170 players have their names selected before him.
That's right, Datsyuk was taken as the second-to-last pick in the sixth round that included 14 players who have never laced up for an actual NHL game.
This list features young players and Hall of Famers, Stanley Cup champions and Vezina Trophy winners, and many current and former Detroit Red Wings.
Looking back at these drafts, it's hard to believe that teams passed on these players for so long. Here are the top 20 players ever drafted later than 100th overall.
20. Keith Yandle, 105th Overall in 2005
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At only 24 years of age, Yandle is a rising star in the NHL. He is without a doubt one of the best young defensemen in the league and it seems like he has a very bright future ahead of him.
19. Rick Tocchet, 125th Overall in 1983
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Tocchet was part of the 1992 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins which was a very, very deep team. He posted 952 career points, good enough for 86th all time, all while racking up 2972 penalty minutes which puts him 10th overall in NHL history.
18. Ron Hextall, 119th Overall in 1982
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17. Arturs Irbe, 196th Overall in 1989
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Irbe was drafted almost 200th overall and managed to prove that he deserved to be taken a lot higher. He finished his career with over 200 wins and a .899 save percentage. Not too bad.
16. Miikka Kiprusoff, 116th Overall in 1995
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In only 10 seasons in the NHL, Kipper has managed to rack up 276 wins, 40 shutouts and a .913 save percentage. He is one of the best goalies that Finland has ever produced, leading his home nation to a bronze medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games.
15. Peter Bondra, 156th Overall in 1990
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Five All-Star games, 39th all-time with 503 goals and 24th all-time with 78 game-winning goals. Bondra was a solid scorer and one of the best Capitals of all time.
14. Theoren Fleury, 166th Overall in 1987
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Fleury, the scrappy winger who played twice his size, helped Calgary win the Stanley Cup in 1989. He finished his career 57th overall in career points and ninth in shorthanded goals.
13. Ryan Miller, 138th Overall in 1999
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Miller is undoubtedly one of the best goalies in the world right now, as he showed last year in the Vancouver Olympics by coming so close to beating Canada for the gold medal.
Miller is going to be a top goalie in the league for many years to come. How he fell so low in the draft is beyond me.
12. Steve Larmer, 120th Overall in 1980
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Larmer used some of his 1012 career points to help the Rangers win their most recent Stanley Cup in 1994. He finished his career with a plus-204 rating, a level that many players don't even dream about.
11. Tim Thomas, 217th in 1994
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Thomas, one of the lowest draft picks on this list, seems to get better with age. He was the undisputed Conn Smythe winner even before his Bruins won the Cup this year and he wasn't too bad in the regular season either.
As a bonus, he was born in Flint, Michigan—the home of the Flint Tropics from Semi-Pro. That's awesome.
10. Viacheslav Fetisov, 201st Overall in 1978
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One of a few Hall of Famers on this list, Fetisov wasn't known as a big scorer. However, he did manage to win back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings and was a big part of the Wings' success in the late 1990s.
9. Henrik Zetterberg, 210th in 1999
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Moving on to another Red Wings star who has helped Detroit win a Cup, Zetterberg is one of the best in the game right now. He is averaging .95 points per game in his career and helped Sweden win gold in the 2006 Olympics.
Wait a few more years and he will have some more rings and awards under his belt.
8. Doug Gilmour, 134th in 1982
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Gilmour played in 1474 games and totaled 1414 career points, giving him an average of .96 per game. He is 17th all-time in points, 12th in assists and 56th in goals.
Gilmour finally got the recognition he deserved this year when he was elected into the Hall of Fame.
7. Igor Larionov, 214th Overall in 1985
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Larionov hung around a little longer than Fetisov did, earning a third Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2002. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008, Larionov is an unbelievable steal at 214th overall in the draft.
If only we could go back in time...
6. Henrik Lundqvist, 205th Overall in 2000
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King Henrik was drafted in 2000 but has only played in six seasons for the Rangers. Even in such a short time, Lundqvist has become one of the best goaltenders in the game and a dominant force for New York.
He has 213 career wins in 406 games, and had an incredible 11 shutouts last season.
5. Pavel Bure, 113th Overall in 1989
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Bure finished his career with incredible numbers, even after the amount of injuries he suffered. He currently stands sixth all-time with .62 goals per game, 24th all-time with 1.11 points per game and 11th all-time with 34 shorthanded goals.
It's crazy to think about what could have been.
4. Luc Robitaille, 171st Overall in 1984
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Luc finished off his long and eventful career 20th all-time with 1394 points. He played in eight All-Star games, won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002 and is 10th all-time with 668 goals.
3. Brett Hull, 117th Overall in 1984
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Hull, the son of one of the greatest to ever play the game, finished his own career as one of the best in the game: third all-time in goals, 21st in points, second in power play goals, and third in game-winning goals.
There weren't many players who could score better than Hull. I bet the guys with the 116 previous picks are kicking themselves.
2. Dominik Hasek, 207th Overall in 1983
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The Dominator did whatever he could to make sure the puck didn't go into the net. He holds the record for career save percentage at .922 which is absolutely staggering. He posted 81 career shutouts and is seventh all-time with a 2.20 goals against average in his career.
With two Stanley Cups, six Vezinas and two Hart Trophies, it's only a matter of time until he is elected to the Hall of Fame.
1. Pavel Datsyuk, 171st Overall in 1998
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At 33 years old, Datsyuk is one of the best in the game right now. Four Lady Byngs, three Selkes, two Stanley Cups and (hopefully) more strong years ahead of him. He currently has an average of .98 points per game but I think Datsyuk can elevate his game to produce more than a point per game.
He will go down as one of the greatest ever when he finally decides to hang up the skates.