Wednesday, June 17, 2009

NHL Draft. All-Time: Ups and Downs 10-19

Drafting is an inexact science -- for every late-round gem (Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk), there's a high pick that didn't work out the way the a team had planned (Patrik Stefan).

Here's a look at some of the best choices in the history of the Entry Draft, as determined by where they were selected among the top 30 picks. (Up and coming includes players taken from 2004-08)


No. 10: Teemu Selanne (Winnipeg, 1988) -- In terms of raw offensive numbers, Selanne had the greatest rookie season of all time. He announced his arrival in 1992 by shattering NHL records for first-year players with 76 goals and 132 points. The Finnish Flash led the NHL in goals three times and was good enough to score 48 goals and 94 points at age 36, helping the Anaheim Ducks to their first Stanley Cup. He had 27 goals for Anaheim this season and likely will go past 600 for his career if he comes back next season.

Runners-up: Steve Vickers (1971), Bobby Holik (1989)
Up and coming: Michael Frolik (2006); Cody Hodgson (2008)
Disappointment: Mikhail Yakubov (2000)

No. 11: Jarome Iginla (Dallas, 1995) -- The Stars traded the future for the present when they sacrificed Iginla to get Joe Nieuwendyk from Calgary. Landing Nieuwendyk helped them win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1999, but the long-term cost has been steep -- Iginla has become one of the NHL's top stars. He's won the Art Ross, Rocket Richard and Lester B. Pearson trophies and was a Hart Trophy finalist in 2007-08 after reaching the 50-goal mark for the second time. He owns the Flames' franchise records for career goals and points.

Runners-up: Brian Rolston (1991), Brendan Witt (1993)
Up and coming: Anze Kopitar (2005); Brandon Sutter (2007)
Disappointment: David Cooper (1992)

No. 12: Gary Roberts (Calgary, 1984) -- If it seemed like Roberts was around forever, that's because he was -- at least by hockey standards. Roberts won a Stanley Cup with Calgary at age 23, scored 53 goals three seasons later, missed most of three seasons recovering from a serious neck injury, and still managed to score 438 goals and 910 points in 1,224 games. At age 42 he was a key locker-room presence in Pittsburgh's run to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, and he played briefly with Tampa Bay before retiring this season.

Runners-up: Kenny Jonsson (1993), Marian Hossa (1997)
Up and coming: Marc Staal (2005), Bryan Little (2006)
Disappointment: Josh Holden (1996)

No. 13: Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Hartford, 1995) -- The last first-round draft selection in Whalers history had to make a few stops before finding success, but Giguere has been one of the keys to the rise of the Anaheim Ducks. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2003, when Anaheim lost the Stanley Cup Final to New Jersey, and he could have won again in 2007 after the Ducks topped Ottawa for their first Stanley Cup.

Runners-up: Mattias Ohlund (1994), Ales Hemsky (2001)
Up and coming: Drew Stafford (2004); Jiri Tlusty (2006)
Disappointment: Michael Henrich (1998)

No. 14: Rick Middleton (N.Y. Rangers, 1973) -- Want to make a Rangers fan groan? Mention Middleton, who came up as the Rangers were entering a rebuilding phase and was sacrificed in a trade that brought Phil Esposito's long-time sidekick, Ken Hodge, to the Big Apple in 1976. The Rangers traded Middleton's future for Hodge's past -- Middleton had seven straight 30-goal seasons and went on to score more than 400 goals with the Bruins, while Hodge was out of the League 18 games into his second season in New York.

Runners-up: Brian Propp (1979), Sergei Gonchar (1992)
Up and coming: Kevin Shattenkirk (2007), Zach Boychuk (2008)
Disappointment: Jim Malone (1980)

No. 15: Mike Bossy (N.Y. Islanders, 1977) -- Twelve teams (including the Rangers and Toronto twice each) passed on Bossy because he was regarded as just another sniper from the run-and-gun Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Isles coach Al Arbour told GM Bill Torrey he could teach Bossy to play defense; he was right, and the rest is history. Bossy scored 573 goals in just 10 seasons and was a key to the Isles' four consecutive Stanley Cups before being forced to retire in 1987 due to back problems. Had Bossy stayed healthy, it's likely he -- not Wayne Gretzky -- would have broken Gordie Howe's all-time record for goals.

Runners-up: Al MacInnis (1981), Joe Sakic (1987)
Up and coming: Riku Helenius (2006), Erik Karlsson (2008)
Disappointment: Scott Kelman (1999)

No. 16: Dave Andreychuk (Buffalo, 1982) -- At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Andreychuk was a presence in front of the net for more than two decades. He was a big scorer in the first half of his career, totaling 30 or more goals seven times with Buffalo and getting 53 for Toronto in 1993-94. He remained a consistent scorer for another decade while improving his all-round game. He also became a leader and was captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning when they won the 2004 Stanley Cup. Andreychuk retired with 640 goals and 1,338 points in 1,639 games.

Runners-up: Al Secord (1978), Markus Naslund (1991)
Up and coming: Petteri Nokelainen (2004), Colton Gillies (2007)
Disappointment: Ty Jones (1997)

No. 17: Bobby Clarke (Philadelphia, 1969) -- Clarke fell to the second round in 1969 because teams didn't want to take a chance on drafting a diabetic. The Flyers called his name at No. 17 and got a Hall of Famer. The diabetes became a non-issue as Clarke became a star. He was named team captain at 23, at the time the youngest player ever to get the "C." Clarke's drive and skill led the Flyers to Stanley Cups in 1974 and '75, and he retired in 1984 with 1,210 points, three Hart trophies and a hatful of other honors.

Runners-up: Brent Sutter (1980), Kevin Hatcher (1984)
Up and coming: Martin Hanzal (2005), Trevor Lewis (2006)
Disappointment: Brent Bilodeau (1991)

No. 18: Glen Murray (Boston, 1991) -- Murray had two stints with the Bruins (sandwiched around time with Pittsburgh and Los Angeles); suffice it to say the second was better than the first. Murray never had scored 30 goals in a season before returning to the Bruins in 2001-02, and then did it three times in a row, including a high of 44 in 2002-03. A solid player for a long time, he had 337 goals and 651 points in 1,009 NHL games.

Runners-up: Ken Daneyko (1982), Petr Sykora (1995)
Up and coming: Kyle Chipchura (2004), Ryan Parent (2005)
Disappointment: Jesper Mattsson (1993)

No. 19: Keith Tkachuk (Winnipeg, 1990) -- The Jets grabbed Tkachuk in 1990 and he made the NHL after one season at Boston University. Tkachuk became one of the NHL's best power forwards -- a two-time 50-goal scorer and the first U.S.-born player to lead the NHL in goals when he had 52 in 1996-97. He continued scoring after being dealt to St. Louis in 2000-01, reached the 500-goal mark on the final day of the 2007-08 season and was a big reason the Blues surprisingly made the playoffs in 2008-09.

Runners-up: Craig Ramsay (1971), Olaf Kolzig (1989)
Up and coming: Lauri Korpikoski (2004); Jakub Kindl (2005)
Disappointment: Matthieu Descoteaux (1996)

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