Worst 1st Overall NHL Draft Pick Ever

Every NHL draft has had its fair share of busts in it.  It’s not uncommon to look at a list of first rounder’s from any past draft and not recognize half the names on it. What is uncommon is for the first overall pick of the NHL draft to be a bust.

 

The annual NHL draft began in 1963 with the Montreal Canadian’s selecting Garry Monahan from the St. Michael’s Juveniles… that’s right Juvenile!  Since 1963 there have been 47 first overall picks and just three have never played a single game in the NHL.  All three of these players were selected in the 60s when NHL players made like 20 bucks a game so I don’t really care about them.  So, rather than analyzing all 47 first overall picks to determine the worst one ever I am only going to focus on the 26 that have occurred in my lifetime starting with Mario Lemieux in 1984.

 

When I look down the list of first overall picks since 1984 there are some pretty big names on that list including; Wendel Clark, Mike Madano, Mats Sundin, Eric Lindros, Joe Thornton, and more recently Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos.  In addition to these names I’ve mentioned there are a host of other studs that are equally as impressive.  However, three names stand out as the worst; Alexandre Daigle, Patrik Stefan and Rick DiPietro. These three guys are without question the biggest NHL first overall busts of my lifetime.

 

The Ottawa Senators selected Alexandre Daigle before Chris Pronger and Paul Kariya in the 1993 Draft.  It is reported that the Senators even passed on a deal with the Quebec Nordiques that would see them acquire Owen Nolan, Peter Forsberg and Ron Hextall for their first overall pick.  Instead, the Senators selected Daigle and offered him a five year $12.25 million deal, which was the richest entry level contract in NHL history at that time.  Daige amassed just 327 points over 11 seasons while playing for six different teams.

 

 

Patrik Stefan was selected first overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in the weak 1999 Draft ahead of the Sedin twins who were basically the only bright spot of the 99’ draft.  Stefan racked up a feeble 188 points over seven seasons while playing for the Thrashers and Dallas Stars.  Lack of accomplishments aside, Stefan is probably best known for one of the most memorable bloopers in NHL history.  While playing for the Stars, Stefan over handled the puck on an empty net breakaway and then watched the Edmonton Oilers collect the lose puck and score at the other end of the ice forcing the game into overtime.

 

 

Both Daigle and Stefan were bad first overall selections but to me the worst NHL first overall draft pick since 1984 was Rick DiPietro.  The New York Islanders made history when they selected a goalie for the first time in NHL history as the first overall pick in the 2000 draft.  Islanders GM Mike Milbury traded Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers for the first overall pick and the right to secure DiPietro with the first selection.  DiPietro came out of college with a lot of promise and for the most part lived up to the hype in his first couple of season in the NHL while playing on a bad team.  DiPietro was rewarded with his solid play in 2006 when he signed a 15-year $67.5 million contract with the Islanders.  What makes DiPietro a bust in my eyes is that he showed the potential of being a premier NHL goalie, signed a big contract, and then literally fell apart after sustaining injury after injury.  In the last three seasons DiPietro has played just 34 games and accumulated just 10 wins.  DiPietro is the quintessential boom player that cashed in big and went bust in a hurry.  There is no way Mike Milbury can look at DiPietro today and say he has come even close to living up to his potential.  He certainly can’t say DiPietro for Luongo was a rewarding deal for the New York Islanders.

 

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2 Responses to “Worst 1st Overall NHL Draft Pick Ever”

  1. Loved this, buddy. I often go back through the draft years and have a chuckle at who got picked ahead of you. My vote is for Daigle.

  2. Quipper Says:

    nice stats boot! I agree with your ranking. Gotta love the long shots too, zetterberg 7th round 210 overall.

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