Many fans get excited about the prospects of free agency every year, but the real power of a team is built through the draft. Any pieces added through free agency are only final pieces to an ever-changing puzzle.
Picking near the top of the draft is not always easy and bad picks are to be had everywhere, but the real magic happens later in the draft. The best general managers are able to find great talent deep into the draft. As the draft has grown into a truly worldwide affair, the amount of talent has gotten much deeper. This makes it easier for players to fall through the cracks.
Some of these players were just late bloomers while others were driven by their draft day snub to prove the experts wrong. Either way, they made the GM that drafted them look like a genius.
Goalies tend to take a long time to develop and are often drafted later in rounds. While it is interesting to note that 16 goalies were taken before Nikolai Khabibulin or 21 before Henrik Lundqvist, goalies will have their own list and are not included here.
Here are the best late round picks in the draft’s history