NHL Draft: Hugh Jessimen, Jack Skille and The Worst Picks Of The Last 10 Years

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2011

NHL Draft: Hugh Jessimen, Jack Skille and The Worst Picks Of The Last 10 Years

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    The NHL Entry Draft is one of the most exciting times of the Hockey year.

    It is a time for bad teams to find their next star and, a time for young players to begin their new life in the pros.

    With all the hopes of a city on every pick, the weight of the pressure may be too much for these young players.  It is hard to turn potential into talent and for some, it’s impossible.

    The following list is of the 10 worst picks of the last 10 years.


Dan Blackburn—2001

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    ST. LOUIS - FEBRUARY 6:  Dan Blackburn #31 of the New York Rangers stretches on the ice before the game against the St. Louis Blues on February 6, 2003 at the Savvis Center in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Blues and the Rangers tied 4-4.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Position: Goalie

    Overall Selection: 10th (1st round) by the New York Rangers

    NHL Totals: 63 Games with a 20-32-4 record

    It was hard to put him on this list because his career was ended too quickly because of injury but I had to.

    From all accounts, he was the savior of the Rangers and the heir apparent to Mike Richter’s throne.

    When he took the number one job he tired quickly and played mediocre hockey before the Rangers were forced to bring in another goalie to take his place (Mike Dunham).

    A shoulder injury forced his early retirement and the Rangers lost out on another early pick that went awry.

Boris Valabik—2004

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    ATLANTA - JANUARY 26:  Kyle Chipchura #28 of the Anaheim Ducks is checked into the boards by Boris Valabik #5 of the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on January 26, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Position: Defense

    Overall Selection: 10th (1st Round) by the Atlanta Thrashers

    NHL Totals: 80 games with 7 points

    If Atlanta was looking for a big defender to suck air and waste a roster spot they found their man.

    Valabik has been a major bust for the Thrashers and shows how bad the front office of Atlanta has been with big decisions.

    With parts of just two NHL seasons under his belt, Boris Valabik looks like he might never get out of the AHL.

Brian Lee—2005

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    OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 14:  Brian Lee #5 of the Ottawa Senators takes a big hit from Drayson Bowman #21 of the Carolina Hurricanes along the near boards during a game at Scotiabank Place on October 14, 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  The Ottawa Senators d
    Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

    Position: Defense

    Overall Selection: 9th (1st Round) by Ottawa Senators

    NHL Totals: 94 games with 17 points

    Brian Lee may be in the NHL now but he is a total bust.

    The comparisons I heard, when he played with North Dakota, were to Chris Pronger; with his size (6’6") and his ice presence.  The potential and hype were enormous and he has met none of the expectations.

    At best, Lee is a sixth defender and would be on Ottawa’s AHL affiliate if it weren’t for the lack of depth on defense for the Senators.

Alexandr Svitov—2001

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    Russian-born professional hockey player Alexandr Svitov of the Syracuse Crunch on the ice, during a road game, January 12, 2005. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Forward

    Overall Selection: 3rd (1st Round) by the Tamp Bay Lightning

    NHL Totals: 179 games with 37 points

    Not only did Svitov play poorly in North America but he scammed everyone he came in contact with.

    After coming to the NHL as a top three pick in 2001, Svitov played like garbage and was traded away.

    Svitov signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets before leaving the country and signing in his homeland of Russia.

    So he is a bust and a snake.

Jiri Tlusty—2006

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 01:  Jiri Tlusty #19 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against the Philadelphia Flyers on November 1, 2010 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Flyers defeat the Hurricanes 3-2.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Image
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Position: Forward

    Overall Selection: 13th (1st Round) by the Toronto Maple Leafs

    NHL Totals: 113 games with 30 points

    Another mistake for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Jiri Tlusty has played in over a full season collectively but, it took him six years to do it.  That’s not good.

    From what I have seen of him, which isn’t much, he seems to be lost on the ice in the NHL and almost overwhelmed by the NHL stage.

    If the Maple Leafs ever want to give the great city of Toronto the hockey team they deserve, they need to start making their draft picks count (or stop trading them away for Kessel).

Al Montoya—2004

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Goaltender Al Montoya #35 of the Phoenix Coyotes in action during the preseason NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks at Jobing.com Arena on September 19, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Coyotes 4-3 in overtime
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Position: Goalie

    Overall Selection: 6th (1st Round) by the New York Rangers

    NHL Totals: 5 games with 3 wins (all with the Phoenix Coyotes)

    It seemed to be a trend for a while that the Rangers couldn’t pick goaltenders.

    Not only has Montoya not panned out in New York, he doesn’t seem to be panning out in Phoenix either.

    It really has to hurt when a team spends a top six pick on a player that never plays top the potential that the organization has for them.

    Poor Montoya.

Jack Skille—2005

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    ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 02:  Goaltender Jonas Hiller #1 of the Anaheim Ducks tries to find the puck as teammate Todd Marchant #22 defends Jack Skille #20 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the crease area in the third period during the NHL game at Honda Center on
    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Position: Forward

    Overall Selection: 7th (First Round)

    NHL Totals: 30 games with 8 points

    Skille was destined to help save the Blackhawks and deliver them unto the promised land.

    Destiny denied!

    Skille has been an absolute bust, amassing only 8 points in his career and being a perennial AHL player.

    To be honest, he hasn’t played well in the AHL either and, he is one of the more disappointing picks of all time.

Marek Zagrapan—2005

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    TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 22:  Marek Zagrapan #8 of the Buffalo Sabres skates with the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs during their pre season NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on September 26, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Gett
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Position: Forward

    Overall Selection: 13th (1st Round) by the Buffalo Sabres

    NHL Totals: none

    When Marek Zagrapan was drafted by the Sabres, there was much excitement for the organization.  They didn’t know whether he would fall to them or not.

    They wished wrong.

    Zagrapan has spent his whole North American Hockey career outside of the NHL and has never even laced them up for a NHL game.

    He currently plays for the KHL and provides his team there with the Buffalo Sabres’ disappointment.

Hugh Jessiman—2003

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22: Steve Downie #27 of the Philadelphia Flyers and High Jessiman #49 of the New York Rangers square off during preseason action on September 22, 2007 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Position: Forward

    Overall Selection: 12th (1st Round) by the New York Rangers

    NHL Totals: none

    New York hasn’t been so good at drafting in the first round.

    Not only has Jessiman not played in the NHL but he has struggled in the AHL.  He has moved around from New York to Nashville to Chicago and hasn’t left his mark anywhere.

    Jessiman has to be one of the biggest busts but it’s just another first round pick for the Rangers.

Petr Taticek—2002

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    SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 25:  Justin Williams #11 of the Carolina Hurricanes falls to the ice after a hit from Petr Taticek #37 of the Florida Panthers on January 25, 2006 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Position: Forward

    Overall Selection: 9th (1st Round) by the Florida Panthers

    NHL Totals: 3 games with 0 points

    Petr Taticek was a terrible pick for the Panthers.

    For a team that was trying to build a future, Taticek was their Kryptonite.

    The top-10 selection has played a total of three games in the NHL and, has played in Switzerland for the last few years where he added no points.

    Another reason Florida doesn't deserve a team unless it's the Chiefs playing for a retirement community!