Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NHL Draft. All-Time: Ups and Downs 20 - 30


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. 20: Martin Brodeur (New Jersey, 1990) -- It may be hard to believe now, but the winningest goaltender in NHL history was not the first goalie picked in 1990 (Calgary took Trevor Kidd at No. 11). Brodeur passed Patrick Roy for the wins record this season and figures to surpass Terry Sawchuk's mark of 103 shutouts early in 2009-10. He has three Stanley Cup rings, four Vezina trophies and is regarded as the gold standard among NHL goaltenders.

Runners-up: Larry Robinson (1971), Michel Goulet (1979)
Up and coming: Travis Zajac (2004), Michael Del Zotto (2008)
Disappointment: Barrett Heisten (1999)

No. 21: Kevin Lowe (Edmonton, 1979) -- The Oilers' first draft pick after the NHL-WHA merger was a superb choice. Lowe anchored the defense on a team that won five Stanley Cups in seven years, then provided stability on the blue line when the New York Rangers broke their 54-year drought by winning the Cup in 1994. Lowe wasn't flashy, but on an offense-first juggernaut, he was a huge stabilizing factor.

Runners-up: Patrick Flatley (1982), Saku Koivu (1993)
Up and coming: Wojtek Wolski (2004), Tuukka Rask (2005)
Disappointment: Evgeni Ryabchikov (1994)

No. 22: Bryan Trottier (N.Y. Islanders, 1974) -- The Islanders completed a Hall of Fame daily double when they picked Trottier, a center from Swift Current, with their second pick in 1974 (they took his future linemate, Clark Gillies, with their first pick). Trottier was the prototypical two-way center -- tough, strong, defensively diligent -- but his offensive skills were off the chart. Trottier, Gillies and Mike Bossy formed one of the NHL's best lines for years. After scoring 500 goals and helping the Isles to four straight Stanley Cups in the 1980s, Trottier finished his career with two more Cups as a checking center in Pittsburgh.

Runners-up: Adam Graves (1986), Adam Foote (1989)
Up and coming: Matt Lashoff (2005), Claude Giroux (2006)
Disappointment: Nikos Tselios (1997)

No. 23: Ray Whitney (San Jose, 1991) -- The second draft pick in team history is 37 but still going strong, with 24 goals and a team-high 77 points for Carolina (his sixth NHL team) in 2008-09. That moved the Edmonton native past 300 goals and 800 points for his career -- not bad for a kid whose first hockey claim to fame was being the Oilers' stick boy in Wayne Gretzky's last season in Edmonton (1987-88). That's pretty good for a 5-foot-10, 180-pounder who was told he was too small to make it in the NHL.

Runners-up: Travis Green (1989), Todd Bertuzzi (1993)
Up and coming: Andrej Meszaros (2004), Simeon Varlamov (2006)
Disappointment: Craig Hillier (1996)

No. 24: Doug Jarvis (Montreal, 1975) -- No one was better at showing up for work every night than Jarvis, who broke into the NHL on opening night of the 1975-76 season and suited up for 964 consecutive games, a record that's not likely to be broken. Jarvis scored as many as 20 goals only once, but was one of the NHL's best checkers and combined with Bob Gainey and Doug Risebrough to form one of the League's top shut-down lines during the Canadiens' dynasty of the late 1970s.

Runners-up: Sean Burke (1985), Daniel Briere (1996)
Up and coming: T.J. Oshie (2005)
Disappointment: J-F Damphousse (1997)

No. 25: Mark Howe (Boston, 1974) -- Gordie's son never did play for the Bruins. Instead, Mark and Marty Howe joined their father in Houston, where they led the Aeros to a WHA title and made the club one of the league's flagship franchises in its early years. The Howes went to Hartford in 1977 and stayed with the Whalers through the merger with the NHL. Mark shifted to defense and had a number of excellent seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers. He obviously wasn't as good as his father, but totaling his WHA and NHL numbers, he scored more than 400 goals and had 1,246 points in 1,355 games.

Runners-up: Gilles Gilbert (1969), Brenden Morrow (1997)
Up and coming: Andrew Cogliano (2005), Patrik Berglund (2006)
Disappointment: Mikhail Kuleshov (1999)

No. 26: Claude Lemieux (Montreal, 1983) -- Lemieux somehow kept showing up when there were Stanley Cups to be won -- he took home rings with Montreal, New Jersey and Colorado. He also earned a reputation as one of the game's best playoff performers (and most irritating players). Lemieux was on four Cup winners, earned the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1995, and stunned the hockey world by making a comeback with San Jose this season at age 43. He has 379 goals and 786 points in the regular season, plus 80 goals and 158 points in 233 postseason contests.

Runners-up: Don Maloney (1978), Zigmund Palffy (1991)
Up and coming: Cory Schneider (2004), David Perron (2007)
Disappointment: Kevin Grimes (1997)

No. 27: Joe Nieuwendyk (Calgary, 1985) -- Nieuwendyk started his NHL career with a bang, scoring 51 goals in each of his first two full seasons, the second of which ended with the Flames hoisting the Stanley Cup. Nieuwendyk had 45 goals in each of the next two seasons, and though he never reached 40 goals again, he was a consistent scorer for winning teams until retiring in 2006-07 with 564 goals and 1,126 points, plus 66 playoff goals, and Stanley Cup rings with three different teams.

Runners-up: Scott Mellanby (1984), Scott Gomez (1998)
Up and coming: Jeff Schultz (2004), Ivan Vishnevskiy (2006)
Disappointment: Ari Ahonen (1999)

No. 28: Mike Richter (N.Y. Rangers, 1985) -- Richter arguably is the best U.S.-born goaltender in history. He was in net when the Rangers ended their 54-year Stanley Cup drought in 1994, led the United States to the World Cup two years later and to the silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics. He ended his career (prematurely, due to concussions) with 301 wins, the most in Rangers history, despite spending the first few seasons of his career splitting time with John Vanbiesbrouck.

Runners-up: Guy Chouinard (1974), Justin Williams (2000)
Up and coming: Matt Niskanen (2005), Viktor Tikhonov (2008)
Disappointment: Adrian Foster (2001)

No. 29: Danny Gare (Buffalo, 1974) -- The Sabres took Gare in the second round after he scored 45 and 68 goals in his last two junior seasons. He quickly showed those totals were no fluke, scoring 31 as a rookie to help the Sabres make the Stanley Cup Final, and he reached the 50-goal mark in his second season. He had a career-best 56 in 1979-80, when he was a Second-Team All-Star, and came back with 46 the next season. He finished his career in 1986-87 with 354 goals and 685 points in 827 games.

Runners-up: Stephane Richer (1984), Corey Perry (2003)
Up and coming: Mike Green (2004), Steve Downie (2005)
Disappointment: Brian Wesenberg (1995)

No. 30: Randy Carlyle (Toronto, 1976) -- The Leafs took Carlyle with their first pick (in the second round) in 1976, bounced him up and down between Toronto and the minors for two seasons, and then dealt him to Pittsburgh in the summer of 1978. It was a deal they would come to regret, as Carlyle won the 1981 Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman, played in four All-Star Games and wound up scoring 647 points in 1,055 games with the Leafs, Penguins and Winnipeg Jets. He's done pretty well as a coach, too, leading Anaheim to the Cup in 2007.

Runners-up: Mark Hardy (1979), Patrice Brisebois (1989)
Up and coming: Matthew Corrente (2006), Nick Ross (2007)
Disappointment: Luke Sellars (1999)

No comments:

Post a Comment