NHL Power Rankings: The Biggest Bust in Each NHL Franchise's History

April WeinerCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2011

NHL Power Rankings: The Biggest Bust in Each NHL Franchise's History

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    The Draft can be a very stressful time for general managers and teams.

    After all, every draft pick is basically a gamble. You don't know how well a player will perform, even if they're highly-touted, because playing in the NHL is different than playing in other leagues.

    The pressure, higher stakes or other factors often make top minor leaguers choke in the NHL.

    Sometimes, general managers will get an Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby out of their top picks. Other times, they'll get an Alexandre Daigle (if you're young and thinking, "Who?" that's exactly the point).

    Unfortunately, every team has had a draft pick that ended up being a bust. They shouldn't feel too embarrassed—it happens to everyone.

    Here are each NHL team's biggest bust throughout history.

Anaheim Ducks: Stanislav Chistov

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    The Anaheim Ducks took Stanislav Chistov with their first draft pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Chistov was fifth overall.

    His rookie season was 2002-03 and he scored 30 points. During his sophomore season, he only scored 18 points.

    After that production, Chistov was sent down to the minors. He decided he didn't want to play in the minors and returned to play in Russia.

    Chistov later became part of the Boston Bruins organization and played one season for them, only scoring 13 points.

    After that, Chistov returned to play in Russia, where he has played ever since.

    No team wants its first overall pick—especially one as high as fifth overall—to only play two seasons for their club and only score 48 points.

Boston Bruins: Gord Kluzak

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    The Boston Bruins had the first overall selection in the 1982 NHL Draft and chose Gord Kluzak.

    In 70 games that ensuing season, Kluzak only scored 7 points.

    The team might have thought it was starting to get what it expected when he improved significantly his sophomore season. In 80 games, he scored 37 points.

    However, he missed the entire next season with a knee injury. He came back the following season, but went down again with a knee injury.

    Altogether, Kluzak played only four almost complete seasons, missing most of the other five seasons due to injury.

    He was retired by 1991, after playing only 299 games and scoring only 123 points with 25 goals.

    It hurts even more considering who the Bruins could have had instead of Kluzak in that draft. Other notable players drafted that year included Scott Stevens, Phil Housley and Dave Andreychuk—three players who went on to have lengthy and successful NHL careers.  

    Photo courtesy of: legendsofhockey.net   

Buffalo Sabres: Shawn Anderson

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    The Buffalo Sabres selected Shawn Anderson with the fifth overall pick in the 1986 NHL Draft.

    Unfortunately for the team, Anderson only played parts of four seasons with the Sabres, splitting the rest of his time between the team's minor league clubs.

    In fact, Anderson would end up playing only 113 games with the Sabres before moving on to short stints with the Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers.

    Not exactly what the team expected from its fifth overall pick.

    To make matters worse, the team could have used that pick to draft a better defenseman. Brian Leech was selected by the New York Rangers four picks later.

    Hindsight's 20/20.

    Photo courtesy of: jerseydatabase.com  

Calgary Flames: Daniel Tkaczuk

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    The Calgary Flames selected Daniel Tkaczuk sixth overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Tkaczuk had been a successful center in the OHL.

    Unfortunately for the Flames, that success wouldn't translate to the NHL.

    Tkaczuk ended up only appearing in 19 NHL games during in his career, with the rest spent between other leagues.

    He only scored 11 career NHL points—not really worthy of a top-10 draft selection.

    Notable players drafted after Tkaczuk include Marian Hossa, who's obviously had a pretty successful NHL career and is still playing and making an impact.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Heerema

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    The Carolina Hurricanes had the 11th overall pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft and selected right wing Jeff Heerema with that pick.

    Heerema ended up playing 10 games with the team and only scored three points.

    He'd go on to play another 22 games with the St. Louis Blues, but scored three points with them, too.

    Comparatively, Alex Tanguay, Robyn Regehr and Simon Gagne were all taken after Heerema in the first round. The Hurricanes could have been better off with any of those players.

    Once again, hindsight's 20/20.

Chicago Blackhawks: Adam Bennett

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    The Chicago Blackhawks held the sixth overall draft pick in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft and selected Adam Bennett.

    Bennett went on to play only 69 NHL games in his career. Just 21 of those were with the Blackhawks and that was between two seasons.

    Eventually, the team traded him to the Edmonton Oilers, but obviously he barely fared better there.

    To add insult to injury, Adam Foote was taken later, the first pick of the second round. Obviously, Foote had a long NHL career and would have been a better pick.

    Photo courtesy of: heritagehockey.goalline.ca 

Colorado Avalanche: Daniel Dore

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    Before the Colorado Avalanche moved to Colorado, they were housed in Quebec as the Quebec Nordiques.

    In 1988, the Nordiques had the fifth overall draft pick and selected right winger Daniel Dore.

    Obviously, teams expect their first round draft pick to be a valuable pick and the higher up they are, the more they expect this.

    Dore unfortunately did not live up to his expectations, playing just 17 games over two seasons in the NHL.

    Notable players selected after Dore include Jeremy Roenick, Rod Brind'Amour and Teemu Selanne.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Alexandre Picard

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    In the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets selected forward Alexandre Picard with the eighth overall pick (not to be confused with defenseman Alexandre R. Picard).

    In five years within the organization, Picard only appeared in 67 games and put up two points—both assists.

    Not exactly the high offensive talent the team probably expected they were getting when they drafted him.

    In 2010, the Blue Jackets shipped him off to the Phoenix Coyotes organization, but he never appeared in an NHL game with them.

    In retrospect, Travis Zajac, Brandon Dubinsky or David Krejci would have been better available choices at that time.

Dallas Stars: Brian Lawton

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    Back in 1983, when the Dallas Stars were still the Minnesota North Stars, they had the No. 1 overall pick in that year's NHL Draft.

    With that pick, they selected Brian Lawton.

    Lawton didn't put up horrible numbers and played at least half the season for five seasons with the club, but that's not why he's considered a bust.

    Instead of Lawton, the Stars could have had Pat LaFontaine, Cam Neely or Steve Yzerman—all considerably better players than Lawton.

    The Stars could have been an entirely different team had they gone with one of those other players instead.

Detroit Red Wings: Joe Murphy

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    In the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings selected Joe Murphy with the first overall pick.

    Murphy would go on to appear in four abbreviated seasons with the club.

    The first season he appeared in five games; the second season, 50 games; the third, 26 games and in his final season with the team he appeared in nine games.

    In those four seasons, the forward only put up 32 points-—an average of eight points per season. Not great by any means and certainly not for a former first overall draft pick.

    Photo courtesy of: seangauthier33.tripod.com

Edmonton Oilers: Jason Bonsignore

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    Jason Bonsignore was selected fourth overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers.

    He ended up playing just 21 games for the team and 79 games total in the NHL. The forward only scored three points for the Oilers.

    Ironically, Ryan Smyth was taken two spots below Bonsignore and he's obviously had a pretty successful NHL career.

    The Oilers just traded this offseason for Smyth. Just think how different it would have been if the Oilers had taken Smyth with that pick instead of Bonsignore.

Florida Panthers: Petr Taticek

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    In the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, the Florida Panthers had the third and ninth overall selections.

    They did well with their third pick, selecting Jay Bouwmeester, but not so well with their ninth pick, as they selected Petr Taticek of the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

    The Czech center would only play three games for the Florida Panthers and scored no points.

    He was subsequently traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but never played for them or any other NHL club since.

    Players that the Panthers could have selected instead included Alexander Semin, Sean Bergenheim and Tomas Fleischmann. Ironically, two of those players will be in Florida uniforms this season.  

Los Angeles Kings: Lauri Tukonen

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    In the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the Los Angeles Kings selected forward Lauri Tukonen with the 11th overall selection.

    Tukonen only ended up playing five games for the Kings with zero points. Tukonen didn't play any other games in the NHL.

    The team could have had many better players instead, including Drew Stafford, Travis Zajac or Wojtek Wolski.

    They also could have had defenseman Mike Green or goaltender Cory Schneider.

    All were taken later in that year's first round and went on to have considerably longer and more successful NHL careers. They are also still playing and could still prove even more valuable to their respective clubs.  

Minnesota Wild: Benoit Pouliot

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    With the fourth overall selection in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the Minnesota Wild selected left wing Benoit Pouliot.

    Pouliot is still playing and found mild success with the Montreal Canadiens after parting ways with Minnesota.

    However, he only played 65 games with Minnesota and the most games he played in a single season was 37. Pouliot only scored 18 points for the Wild.

    That's certainly not worth a fourth overall pick, considering he followed superstar Sidney Crosby, Bobby Ryan and Jack Johnson—all three talented and productive members of their respective clubs.

    Plus, there were many top players selected after Pouliot, including Carey Price, Devin Setoguchi (who now plays for Minnesota), Anze Kopitar and Marc Staal.

    And those are just among the first 12 picks of that Draft.

Montreal Canadiens: Ray Martyniuk

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    The Montreal Canadiens had the fifth overall selection in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft. With that selection, they chose goaltender Ray Martyniuk.

    Goaltenders often don't go high in drafts because they're riskier than other players and the pick proved to not be very good.

    Martyniuk never played a game for the Canadiens or in the NHL.

    Notable players that Montreal could have had instead included Darryl Sittler and Bill Clement.

    Photo courtesy of: habsgoalies.blogspot.com

Nashville Predators: Brian Finley

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    In the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators had the sixth overall pick and used it to select goaltender Brian Finley.

    Finley wound up only playing two games for the Predators and in the NHL, so far.

    In his first game he had a save percentage of .769 and let in three goals. The second game, a few years later, didn't fare much better. He posted a save percentage of .829 and allowed seven goals.

    That's one reason why goaltenders aren't often selected in the first round, especially not in the early selections.

New Jersey Devils: Neil Brady

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    Neil Brady was the third overall selection in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, selected by the New Jersey Devils.

    Brady would only play 29 games for the Devils, between three seasons. The center would only score six points for the team.

    That's not a very good return on investment.

    After parting ways with New Jersey, Brady would play for the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars and various minor league teams.

    Photo courtesy of: ottawahockeylegends.blogspot.com

New York Islanders: Scott Scissons

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    With the sixth overall draft pick in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders selected center Scott Scissons.

    The selection never paid off for the team, as Scissons only played in two regular season and one playoff game for the team and didn't put up any points.

    The team could have done better, as Darryl Sydor and Derian Hatcher were the two picks chosen directly after Scissons.

    Additionally, they could have had a franchise goaltender in Martin Brodeur, although to be fair, selecting a goaltender that high is a difficult decision to make.

    Photo courtesy of: hockeysoddities.blogspot.com

New York Rangers: Pavel Brendl

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    Pavel Brendl was selected fourth overall by the New York Rangers in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, after an All-Star performance during the Calgary Hitmen's Memorial Cup win that year.

    However, Brendl never played a game for the New York Rangers and had a lackluster career with the Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes and Phoenix Coyotes.

    The Rangers would have been better off selecting Tim Connolly, who was drafted directly after Brendl.

Ottawa Senators: Alexandre Daigle

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    Commonly considered to be one of the worst draft picks in NHL history is the Ottawa Senators selection of Alexandre Daigle first overall in the 1993 NHL Draft.

    Daigle wasn't so terrible compared to some on this list, as he played generally half or more in each of four seasons with the Sens and put up alright numbers.

    However, you have to compare it to what the Senators could have had and that was Chris Pronger, the next player selected that year.

    Looking back, when you weigh Daigle versus Pronger, there's no question about who Ottawa should have chosen.

Philadelphia Flyers: Maxime Ouellet

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    The Philadelphia Flyers used their first draft pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, 22nd overall, to select goaltender Maxime Ouellet.

    When teams select a goaltender in the first round, they typically expect that goaltender to become their franchise goaltender.

    Ouellet never lived up to those expectations.

    He was traded to the Washington Capitals three years later at the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. He's spent most of his career playing for minor league clubs.

Phoenix Coyotes: Blake Wheeler

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    The Phoenix Coyotes used their first draft pick in 2004, fifth overall, to select Blake Wheeler. Wheeler would never play a game for the team.

    Wheeler isn't really a bust because he's had some success playing for the Boston Bruins and most recently the Atlanta Thrashers.

    However, he was a bust for the Coyotes, since they wasted a top five draft pick on a player who never played for their organization.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Blair Chapman

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    Blair Chapman was a highly-demanded player during his draft year. He was selected first overall in the 1976 WHA Draft and second overall in the NHL Draft that same year.

    The reason he was in such high-demand was because he had scored 157 points in 69 games for the Saskatoon blades.

    However, he couldn't duplicate that success in the NHL, scoring only 231 points in more than 400 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Photo courtesy of: penguins-hockey-cards.com

San Jose Sharks: Andrei Zyuzin

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    With the second overall pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, the San Jose Sharks selected Andrei Zyuzin.

    He spent 81 games between two seasons with the club, before parting ways with the Sharks. He's gone on to play for the Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey Devils, Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks and teams in the KHL.

    Players selected after Zyuzin that year included J.P. Dumont, Dainius Zubrus and Daniel Briere, the latter obviously having had a successful career so far.  

St. Louis Blues: Marek Schwarz

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    With their first draft pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, the St. Louis Blues went with a gamble, selecting goaltender Marek Schwarz.

    The gamble never paid off for the club, as Schwarz only started in net for the team four times in his career.

    His NHL averages from those four games include a GAA of almost five and a save percentage of .786.

    Definitely not first-round goaltender-worthy numbers.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Alexander Svitov

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning selected center Alexander Svitov with the third overall selection of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

    He would play 73 games for the Lightning between two seasons, before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    While with the Lightning, Svitov only scored 11 points—definitely not third overall pick material.

    To make matters worse, the team could have had Stephen Weiss, Mikkko Koivu or Ales Hemsky instead of Svitov.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Scott Pearson

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    With the sixth overall pick of the 1988 NHL Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected forward Scott Pearson.

    The team ended up getting only 62 games out of him, across three seasons. In those 63 games, he scored just 16 points.

    Pearson went on to play for the Quebec Nordiques, Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders and various minor league teams after his unsuccessful start in Toronto.

    He didn't fare much better anywhere else.

Vancouver Canucks: Alek Stojanov

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    Alek Stojanov was the Vancouver Canucks first draft pick in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. He was drafted seventh overall.

    He didn't play for the pro team until the 1994-95 season, when he only played four games. The next season, Stojanov played 58 games but only scored one point.

    One point in 62 games is not exactly what the team expected or wanted out of its first round forward.

    Stojanov went on to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he is widely regarded as a huge bust.

    Photo courtesy of: hockey-blog-in-canada.blogspot.com

Washington Capitals : Greg Joly

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    With the first overall pick in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft, the Washington Capitals selected defenseman Greg Joly of the Regina Pats.

    Joly only ended up playing two seasons in Washington and not complete seasons at that.

    After parting ways with the Capitals, Joly spent seven seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. If he had had a lengthy tenure like that with the Caps, he might have been worth it, but since he only played two incomplete seasons, he's generally considered a bust.

    Photo courtesy of: washingtoncapitalslegends.blogspot.com

Winnipeg Jets: Patrik Stefan

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    The Atlanta Thrashers had the first overall draft pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft and they selected center Patrik Stefan.

    Stefan spent six seasons with the Thrashers, playing only one complete season.

    His highest point total with the Thrashers was 40 points, which is not commensurate with being the first overall draft pick.

    Therefore, Stefan is a bust.

    After six years in Atlanta, Stefan was dealt to the Dallas Stars, where he played one season and then moved to play in Switzerland.


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