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Top 10 draft busts (not our list, someone else’s)

Dec 27, 2011, 4:43 PM EDT

Daigle Getty Images

ESPN Insider has published a list of the top 10 NHL draft busts since 1990. As we are wont to do on PHT, let’s review said list, after which we can engage in a sophisticated discussion in the comments section.

OK, here’s the list. Remember, it’s since 1990, not all time. Also note that it was compiled using an advanced stat called GVT (Goals Versus Threshold), which I’m not about to explain because I don’t know what it is.

10. Thomas Hickey (4th, 2007, Kings)
9. Kyle Turris (3rd, 2007, Coyotes)
8. Alexandre Volchkov (4th, 1996, Capitals)
7. Andrei Zyuzin (2nd, 1996, Sharks)
6. Jason Bonsignore  (4th, 1994, Oilers)
5. Chris Phillips (1st, 1996, Senators)
4. Alexander Svitov (3rd, 2001, Lightning)
3. Alexandre Daigle (1st, 1993, Senators)
2. Patrik Stefan (1st, 1999, Thrashers)
1. Rick DiPietro (1st, 2000, Islanders)


—-Daigle should be number one. None of the other guys mentioned were talked up like he was. Coming out of junior, Daigle had Sidney Crosby and Eric Lindros levels of hype. Stefan and DiPietro had hype, but not that much.

—-The highest draft pick mentioned is fourth overall. Not sure I would’ve gone that route, as there’ve been plenty of top 10 picks that were highly touted and ended up doing nothing. In 1990, for example, Scott Scissons was taken sixth overall by the Islanders, after which he played two career games in the NHL. Now that’s a bust.

—-No way Turris should be on this list. He’s 22 years old and, until being traded to Ottawa, hadn’t had an opportunity to play in a system that lends itself to his particular talents.

—-No way Phillips should be on this list. First overall pick or not, draft busts don’t play over 1,000 games in the NHL.

—-Pat Falloon probably needs to be mentioned. Second overall in 1991 by the Sharks, finished with 322 points in 575 NHL games with five different teams before playing out his career in Switzerland.

—- Pavel Brendl definitely needs to be mentioned. Fourth overall in 1999 by the Rangers, finished with 22 points in 78 NHL games.

  1. govtminion - Dec 27, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    I’ll disagree on DiPietro, Jason- he belongs here. Maybe not that high on the list, but top ten? Definitely. Any time someone is drafted first overall, there are expectations- if they don’t meet them, they’re not meeting the potential the team saw, right? Well, DiPietro was supposed to be the guy the Isles rebuilt around- that’s why they also threw that ridiculous contract at him. And on the rare occasion he’s been healthy enough to play, he’s rarely shown that he’s a game-changing goaltender. Decent, yes, and flashes even of brilliance sometimes, but consistently? He’s been a dud for them- a very expensive and rarely game-capable dud.

    And look at the players picked after him! Dany Heatley, Marian Gaborik, Brooks Orpik, Anton Volchenkov- and that’s just the first round (thanks Wikipedia!). Any of those players would have been infinitely more useful than what DiPietro has been.

    It’s been over ten years now- and it’s time to acknowledge that he’s never going to be a legitimate #1 netminder. There’s no Tim Thomas-style late-career blossoming coming here- whatever the Islanders wanted DiPietro to be, he’s failed to achieve it. And for that, he belongs on this list, even before his career has ended.

    • Jason Brough - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:32 PM

      I didn’t say DiPietro shouldn’t be on the list — just that I’d put Daigle number one.

      • govtminion - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:58 PM

        Doh! I misunderstood you. Ignore my previous novel-length post then! Sorry!

    • larrybiv - Dec 28, 2011 at 12:57 AM

      Simply stay away from anyone named Alexander(Alexandre). And yeah, Jessiman. What a huge bust.

    • bcisleman - Dec 28, 2011 at 1:08 AM

      RDP was on his way to becoming a legit #1 before his injuries. Now it does seem unlikely that he will return to that form.

      Heatley is really the only name worth mentioning on that list as he is surely who Mad Mike would have picked if he hadnt picked RDP. But focusing on that misses the big picture.

      Every GM picks busts. Its inevitable. The late EJ McGuire (God rest his soul) once said that he’d love to have an NFL scout’s job picking 22 year olds in the draft.

      A lot of physical, mental, and emotional maturation goes on between 18 and 22. Its inevitable that, when you are ranking prospects for selection at 18 based on what they have done at 16, 17, and 18 that some of the can’t missers are going to miss and some of the ones that seemed less promising are going to blossom.

      I don’t blame Milbury because he made the wrong call on RDP. I blame him because immediately before he drafted RDP, he traded away Roberto Luongo along with Olli Jokinen for a couple of role players. The Rangers drafted Lundqvist the same year as RDP in the 5th round, hung on to him, and let him mature into one of the NHL’s best. That is what you are supposed to do with goaltending prospects. Milbury drafted Luongo 4th overall in 1997 and traded him away three years later. To use Milbury’s own word for that idea, that’s “crazy”.

      To make matters worse, because Heatley was passed on, Milbury needed a stud center. So the following year he traded away Chara and the #2 overall that became Spezza to get Yashin. Let’s see…Luongo, Jokinen, Heatley. Chara, Spezza…sound like the core of a Cup contender to you? To make it worse, a few years later, he passed on Parise.

      As to The Contract, it must be pointed out in all fairness that Wang was trying to reassure fans that the Milbury days of trading away the best prospects were over. It was foolish, but well-intentioned.

  2. hooockey - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Wow! This Ching guy knows noting at all about hockey. He must be a basketball/football writer who was assigned a hockey story or something.

    The 96 draft was awful. As merely above average a career Phillips has had, there is only one player, Daniel Briere, in the entire first round who’s arguably done better. What a moron to write this.

    And Turris could still bust, but he’s 22, and could just as easily become a 60-70 point 2nd line centre for many years. (3 points in 3 games so far with OTT; setting up the winning goal in his first 2 games).

    Daigle, Stefan, and Dipietro I agree with, but the rest is laughable.

    Hugh Jessimen anyone?

  3. bigbear42 - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    If Phillips is a bust then so is Eric Johnson

  4. pens919209 - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    I don’t understand how DiPietro is the top draft bust here – it absolutely should be Daigle. Maybe they’re holding his injuries against him (that’s all I can figure, aside from some pretty horrid teams in front of him over the years). That said, he’s had chances to shine and never took advantage of them. Definitely not the kind of goalie you build a team around, but far from the biggest bust since 1990.

    On the other hand, Daigle was just laughable… and Stefan was painful to watch. Those two should be fighting it out for the top two spots in this list.

    • bigbear42 - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:30 PM

      If you include DiPietro then you should also include Berard for the same injury reasoning

      • drewsylvania - Dec 27, 2011 at 8:05 PM

        Well, Berard had a single catastrophic injury. DiPietro gets injury during warmups every year. At some point getting injured is a failing of the player.

  5. paul621 - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Why are you even criticizing the list if you admit to not understanding the metric used to generate it?

    • Jason Brough - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:33 PM

      Because I fear change.

  6. danphipps01 - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Yeah, no. This is a bad list. Turris is only on here because he’s been in the news recently and the author, clearly not a hockey fan, happened to remember it and look him up. He’s got a lot of years left before we can fairly write him off.

    RDP’s up there, but he’s not #1. At times, when he’s been able to play a stretch of games, he’s actually been decent, especially considering how bad the Islanders have been for much of his time there. He’s not really a good goalie, but it’s not hard to understand why when he barely ever plays. And in terms of wasted first-overall picks, he’s way the hell up there, #3 at least, but Daigle’s much worse. Daigle was healthy. He just fucking sucked at hockey. At least Di Pietro’s shown he COULD have been good if a light breeze could hit him without breaking several bones.

  7. hulkhogan69 - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Turris is not a bust yet. It’s silly to have him on the list. Now, Hugh Jessiman should be on the list.

    • govtminion - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:00 PM

      I’d agree with the Turris part here. I’m not a fan of the kid- even before the contract mess, I just wasn’t impressed with him. The contract… well, that just made him FUNNY. But he’s still only 22, there’s plenty of time for him to (hopefully) turn into a great player still. Most of the others on the list? Not so much- they’re either long gone from the NHL, or their days are very numbered.

  8. alexb64 - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    I hate NHL Draft “busts” lists because for the most part its teams drafting teenagers, so you have a lot of players who were drafted on pure potential that maybe never adapted to playing NHL style hockey or like in Chris Phillips place he just didn’t play up to the expectations of his draft slot, which again is a huge roll of the dice.

    I could get behind a “Most Frustrating NHL Draft Picks” list because I think that’s fair & more logically argued. Guys liek Zherdev & Cheechoo

  9. rainyday56 - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    Speaking of hype, could we give honorable mention to Angelo Esposito? Only drafted 20th overall in 2007 after getting getting Tavares worthy work up by the Toronto based Canadian media leading up to the draft. Currently plying his trade in San Antonio as he can’t find a place on a very good Florida team (huh?). Not totally the kid’s fault TSN types over sold him ’cause they have to hype someone to fill their air time. I wonder if Bob McKenzie would even recognize the guy if they were in the same room together now …

  10. swizzler16 - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    It’s a bit early to consider anyone drafted in 07 a bust, much too early for Kyle Turris and Tom Hickey. Speaking of draft busts from 2007, anyone hear from Patrick White lately…..

  11. Brian - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Yeah, Brendl should be on this list, not just because he was bad but because by all rights he should’ve gone first overall. He was the big hype guy that year not Stefan or the Sedins. Having Phillips on the list is unfair. Sure his offensive game didn’t pan out, but the only guys in his draft year that can even hold a candle to him in terms of career success are Briere, Zubrus and Kaberle. At worst he’s third best of that group.

  12. danphipps01 - Dec 27, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Wait. Waaaaaait. Filly don’t do top-ten bust lists?

    Well, whatever, he’s probably too young for it too. But I really want him to find his way onto SOME disparaging top-ten list, you know?

  13. greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 27, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    How is Beniot Pouliot not on this list?

  14. 2qswing - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    Are you kidding me? At least 4 guys on this list should be Bluejackets draft choices.
    How about Pascal LeClair # 8 overall in 2001, Zherdev #4 in 2003, Gilbert Brule #6 in 2005, and last but not least Nikita Filitov #6 overall in 2008. Derrick Brassard is about to join the list, #6 overall in 2006.

    Cmon guys, any story about miserable draft failures MUST have a Bluejacket angle. This from a Jacket season ticket holder (for now).

  15. bct11554 - Dec 28, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    Jessiman was a huge bust. Look at all the great players that were taken after him. Image the how good the rangers would be if they had any one of those guys.

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