Saturday, June 26, 2010
Taylor Hall was drafted #1 overall last night in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. Hall, from the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL will be looking to establish himself as a bona fide NHL player, if not a star in the NHL.
The four players drafted first overall on this date are a mixed bag of success, and include Alexandre Daigle, picked #1 by the Ottawa Senators in 1993, Patrik Stefan, the first ever choice by the Atlanta Thrasers in 1999, Alexander Ovechkin, selected first overall by the Washington Capitals in 2004 and John Tavares, made the overall number one choice by the New York Islanders just last year.
While Daigle managed to play in the NHL for 10 seasons, he never managed more than 51 points in any season, scored a high of only 26 goals, one of only two seasons with 20 or more, was traded four times, including twice in one day, and found himself out of hockey after only seven seasons and four different teams at the age of 25. He made a comeback after two seasons away from the game and made his way back to the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins for half a season. He then signed with the Minnesota Wild for a season and a half, which it must be noted included his second 20 goal season and equalling his career high of 51 points.
After leaving the NHL, Daigle has continued to play professionally in Switzerland, putting up as many as 61 points in a 44 game season. Overall however, Daigle is considered to be a draft bust considering his lofty status as the #1 pick and having never scored more than 51 points in an NHL season, when compared to the 137 he scored in 53 games in junior hockey in 1992-93.
Stefan, a center from the Czech Republic, the first overall choice by the Thrashers failed to impress during six seasons with Altanta. Stefan's playmaking abilities did not make up for his goal totals, which hovered between 5 and 14. Never registering more than 26 assists, Atlanta shipped him out to the Dallas Stars, where he played only 41 games, which included one of the biggest gaffes in NHL history, when he failed to put the puck into an empty Edmonton Oilers net from inside the Oilers crease! To make matters worse, the Oilers got control of the puck and scored with 2 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime, earning him heaps of ridicule from announcers and fans alike.
(note the Oilers wearing the Teammates for Kids patch on their jerseys in the video, worn only on January 4, 2007)
At the conclusion of the season, Dallas chose not to resign him and he too moved to Europe but played only 3 games for SC Bern in Switzerland before retiring from hockey. Stefan is clearly considered a bust and his failure to develop clearly hurt the Thrashers, who have only qualified for the playoffs once in their ten years, a first round sweep by the New York Rangers in 2007, the year after Stefan was dealt to Dallas.
Ovechkin, taken first overall in 2004 really needs no introduction. Currently the most dynamic player in the world today, Ovechkin has already scored more NHL points in five seasons than Daigle and Stefan combined, including 52 goals as a rookie, leading the league in scoring in 2008 and leading the league in goals in 2008 and 2009. His hardware cabinet includes the Calder Trophy, the Pearson Award/Lindsay Award three times, the Art Ross once, the Hart Trophy twice and the Richard Trophy twice. Internationally, Ovechkin has won a gold, silver and two bronze medals at the World Championships after capturing a gold and a silver at the World Juniors.
Additionally, he hits like a freight train, is currently a +64 for his career and celebrates each goal with the joy of a kid. The Oilers can only hope to get a player of his quality and caliber.
Tavares was selected first overall just one year ago wasted little time letting the league know he had arrived, scoring a goal and an assist in his first ever game on October 3, 2009. He ended up finishing second in rookie scoring with 54 points while playing in all 82 games.
Internationally, he's off to a good start, having won gold medals at the 2008 and 2009 World Juniors, including being named the MVP in 2009 after scoring 15 points in six games, and was named, at just 19 years of age, to Team Canada for the 2010 World Championships.
Will Tavares increase his scoring totals as he becomes accustomed to the NHL game and continues to mature, or will he follow the path of Daigle (who scored 51 points in his rookie season) and become a pedestrian player who failed to live up to the lofty expectations of a number one draft pick?
The Islanders, just like the Oilers now, will be hoping their scouting, research and judgement will pay off with an ace, rather than a joker.
Today's featured jersey is a 2005-06 Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin jersey as worn during the first period of Ovechkin's first ever NHL game with the NHL Cares/Katrina patch on the right chest.
The NHL Cares/Katrina patch was worn by all players during just the first period of their first home game of the 2005-06 season. The game worn jerseys were then auctioned off for charity to raise funds for the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. Ovechkin's jersey sold for a high bid of $6,710.
Here is Daigle being taken first overall by the Senators in 1993, a pick that was "the consensus number one draft pick, the best player available".
Next up is Patrik Stefan being selected first in 1999, the first ever pick by the Atlanta Thrashers in their history. "A player you can build your franchise around. No doubt about it." Oops.
Here is Alexander Ovechkin being taken #1 overall by the Capitals in 2004. Nice Sunday school hair, Alex.
We follow with a profile of John Tavares, last year's #1 overall draft pick.
Finally, we conclude with Taylor Hall being selected #1 in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers.