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Entry Draft Review: 1st Rounders from the Past 20 Years

Now that the 2009 NHL Entry Draft is weeks away, it’s time to look back at previous drafts and see what mistakes were made.  Below I have provided each #1 pick of the past 20 years, along with some brief thoughts.  Let’s step into the DeLorean and visit good old 1989.  If only I had a sports almanac to tell me that Bryan Berard wouldn’t be the best pick of the 1995 draft.

1989 – Quebec: Mats Sundin C Nacka (Sweden)

Who they passed up: Sergei Fedorov (74th), Nicklas Lidstrom (53rd), Pavel Bure (113th)

Other interesting thoughts: Remember how hyped-up the Rangers’ Steven Rice was (20th overall)?  I think I still have his Pro Set hockey card somewhere

1990 – Quebec: Owen Nolan R Cornwall Royals [OHL]

Who they passed up: Jaromir Jagr (5th), Keith Tkachuk (19th), Doug Weight (34th)

Other interesting thoughts: Steal of the draft has to be Bondra (156th overall).  Note that Calgary took Trevor Kidd at 11th instead of Brodeur at 20th

1991 – Quebec: Eric Lindros C Oshawa Generals [OHL]

Who they passed up: Alex Kovalev (15th), Peter Forsberg (6th), Scott Niedermayer (3rd)

Other interesting thoughts: The Jets took Aaron Ward at 5 over Forsberg.  Way to go!

1992 – Tampa Bay: Roman Hamrlik D Zlin ZPS AC [Czech]

Who they passed up: Alexei Yashin (2nd), Sergei Gonchar (14th), Cory Stillman (6th)

Other interesting thoughts: Minnesota nabbing Lehtinen at 88th was quite the steal.  Plus Khabibulin (204th) wasn’t bad either for the Jets

1993 – Ottawa: Alexandre Daigle R Victoriaville Tigres [QMJHL]

Who they passed up: Umm, everyone.  Take your pick: Chris Pronger (2nd), Paul Kariya (4th), Koivu (21st)

Other interesting thoughts: The gem has got to be Demitra by the Sens at 227.  Too bad they gave up on him quickly.  Timonen at 250 and Brunette at 174 are nothing to sneeze at either

1994 – Florida: Ed Jovanovski D Windsor Spitfires [OHL]

Who they passed up: Could have been worse, they could have traded down to take Jason Bonsignore (Edmonton, 4th).  Notables of this draft include: Daniel Alfredsson (133rd), Patrik Elias (51st), Tomas Holmstrom (257th)

Other interesting thoughts: Ryan Smyth (6th) and Jovo were really the only top ten picks that weren’t total disappointments.  Quebec really cleaned up with Drury (72nd) and Hejduk (87th).  A lot of goalies got taken extremely late that have panned out: Marty Turco (124th), Tim Thomas (217th), Evgeni Nabokov (219th), Tomas Vokoun (226th)

1995 – Ottawa: Bryan Berard D Detroit Jr. Red Wings [OHL]

Who they passed up: Jarome Iginla (11th), JS Giguere (13th), Shane Doan (7th)

Other interesting thoughts: Savard at 91 was a steal, but the Rangers were too impatient with him.  San Jose nabbing both Kipper (116th) and Toskala (90th) is quite remarkable

1996 – Ottawa: Chris Phillips D Prince Albert Raiders [WHL]

Who they passed up: Tomas Kaberle (204th), Derek Morris (13th), Marco Sturm (21st)

Other interesting thoughts: What a terrible first round.  The only players that stand out, besides Chris Phillips are J.P. Dumont (3rd) and Daniel Briere (24th).  With the Sens badly needing some help on their blueline at the time, hard to argue with the Phillips pick despite him not turning into the offensive defenseman many thought he could be

1997 – Boston: Joe Thornton C Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds [OHL]

Who they passed up: Patrick Marleau  2nd), Olli Jokinen (3rd), Roberto Luongo (4th), Marian Hossa (12th), Brendan Morrow (25th)

Other interesting thoughts: Brian Campbell at 156 by the Sabres was one of the only valuable late picks.  Karel Rachunek at 299 notwithstanding (kidding)

1998 – Tampa Bay: Vincent Lecavalier C Rimouski Oceanic [QMJHL]

Who they passed up: Alex Tanguay (12th), Scott Gomez (27th), Brad Richards (64th), Simon Gagne (22)

Other interesting thoughts: Lecavalier has proven to be the best player from the first round.  But, is he the Michael Jordan of hockey?  That is the question.   Datsyuk at 171?  Aye Karamba!

1999 – Atlanta: Patrik Stefan C Long Beach Ice Dogs [IHL]

Who they passed up: The Sedins (2nd, 3rd), Henrik Zetterberg (210), Martin Havlat (26), Barret Jackman (17th)

Other interesting thoughts: I guess that’s the last time a team drafts someone after playing in Long Beach!  This draft is regarded as one of the worst of recent memory with too many busts to name.  Fine I will: Pavel Brendl (4th), Brian Finley (6th), Kris Beech (7th), Jani Rita (13th)…I could go on

2000 – NY Islanders: Rick DiPietro G Boston University [NCAA]

Who they passed up: Dany Heatley (2nd), Marian Gaborik (3rd), Niklas Kronwall (29th)

Other interesting thoughts: How the heck did the Rangers know to pick Henrik Lundqvist at 205?!?!

2001 – Atlanta: Ilya Kovalchuk L Moscow Spartak [Russia]

Who they passed up: Jason Spezza (2nd), Mikko Koivu (6th), Ales Hemsky (13th), Mike Cammalleri (49th)

Other interesting thoughts: Props to the Sabres nabbing Derek Roy (32nd) and Jason Pominville (55th) as 2nd rounders.

2002 – Columbus: Rick Nash L London Knights [OHL]

Who they passed up: Jay Bouwmeester (3rd), Alexander Semin (13th), Cam Ward (25th), Duncan Keith (54th)

Other interesting thoughts: A strong draft class, but still doesn’t compare to 2003

2003 – Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury G Cape Breton Screaming Eagles [QMJHL]

Who they passed up: Eric Staal (2nd), Thomas Vanek (5th), Dion Phaneuf (9th), Zach Parise (17th), Ryan Getzlaf (19th)

Other interesting thoughts: Regarded as the strongest draft class in a long time.  Other than a few exceptions (Hugh Jessiman, Brian Boyle, and Shawn Belle) being possible busts, the rest of the first rounders have already solidified themselves as NHL regulars

2004 – Washington: Alexander Ovechkin L Moscow Dynamo [Russia]

Who they passed up: Evgeni Malkin (2nd), Mike Green (29th) Pekka Rinne (258th)

Other interesting thoughts: Did you know that after Ovie and Geno, the next highest scoring player in the NHL from this draft class is Mark Streit?

2005 – Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby C Rimouski Oceanic [QMJHL]

Who they passed up: Bobby Ryan (2nd), Carey Price (5th), Anze Kopitar (11th), Paul Stastny (44th)

Other interesting thoughts: Bobby Ryan may very well turn out to be the second best from 2005 after all

2006 – St. Louis: Erik Johnson D US National Under 18 Team

Who they passed up: Jordan Staal (2nd), Jonathan Toews (3rd), Nicklas Backstrom (4th), Phil Kessel (5th)

Other interesting thoughts: Still too hard to judge with the verdict out for many of the drafted players.  Lucic at 50 was sweet, as was Steve Mason at 69

2007 – Chicago: Patrick Kane R London Knights [OHL]

Who they passed up: Sam Gagner (6th), Jakub Voracek (7th)

Other interesting thoughts: David Perron at 26 seems to be a nice find for the Blues

2008 – Tampa Bay: Steven Stamkos C Sarnia Sting [OHL]

Who they passed up: The year of the defenceman – Drew Doughty (2nd), Luke Schenn (5th)

Other interesting thoughts: Seen Stamkos?