Notable NHL Draft Busts
1989: Dave Chyzowski
THN’s 1989 Draft Preview was right to call Chyzowski a “boom or bust” prospect. The winger, coming off a 56-goal season with Kamloops, was taken second by the Islanders behind Mats Sundin (Toronto) and became a career minor leaguer. His one big shot came in 1990-91 when he got into 56 games with the Isles and scored five goals. Cut loose in '95, he ended up in Detroit's system. The '90 draft was also awful for the Isles as they used the sixth pick on forward Scott Scissons, who played in all of two NHL games.
1993: Alexandre Daigle
Billed as the next Mario Lemieux, the first pick from a crop that included Chris Pronger (No. 2), Paul Kariya (4) and Jason Arnott (7) had produced three straight 100-points-plus campaigns in juniors. Handed a then-rookie record five-year, $12.25 million deal, Daigle spent four-and-a-half seasons with the Senators, twice scoring a career high 51 points before taking an unremarkable journeyman's path through Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, New York (Rangers), Pittsburgh, Minnesota and on out to Switzerland.
1994: Jason Bonsignore
The ultimate great tools/no tool box cautionary tale. A former junior coach graded Bonsignore’s potential with top marks for natural talent and zeroes for hockey sense and character. Bonsignore later admitted to his own immaturity but by that point it was far too late. He ended up playing 21 games for Edmonton before being cut adrift. Fortunately for the Oilers they compensated (somewhat) by taking Ryan Smyth two picks later.
1995: Steve Kelly
At No. 6, winger Kelly was yet another in a disastrous string of picks by the Oilers who from 1989 to '99 saw only three of their first rounders (Jason Arnott, Ryan Smyth, Boyd Devereaux) play at least 100 games for them. Their entire class of '90—11 picks—washed out without ever appearing in the NHL. Kelly bounced from the Oilers to the Lightning, Devils, Kings and Wild, exiting the league in 2008 with all of 149 NHL games on his resume.
1996: Alexandre Volchkov
The Russian sniper, the fourth pick, was too lazy for the pro game. In his defense, he was a member of one of the weakest draft classes in NHL history. Ahead of him were J.P. Dumont, Andrei Zyuzin and, at first overall, Chris Phillips. Nothing against Phillips, but he doesn't strike you as "first overall" material. Still, here's the difference between Phillips and Volchkov: Phillips missed as many NHL games between 2006-07 and 2011-12 as Volchkov played in his entire NHL career: three.
1997: Daniel Tkaczuk
Contextually, Greg Nemisz was a bigger miscue but that 1998 first-rounder was taken 25th overall. Tkaczuk’s name was called sixth, the second-highest selection in Flames franchise history, making it all the more painful when the former Barrie Colts star was the only top-12 pick who failed to play at least 250 NHL games. After skating in 19 games for the Flames he fled to Europe where he starred in the Italian and German leagues.
1998: Michael Henrich
The No. 13 pick by the Oilers, defenseman Henrich holds the distinction of being the only member of the class of 1998's first round to never play in the NHL. At least goalie Mathieu Chouinard (No. 15 by Ottawa) made it into one game.
1999: Patrik Stefan and Pavel Brendl
Chosen No. 1 by the Thrashers, Stefan (center) developed into a decent third-liner for the Atlanta, but hardly lived up to his draft status and was traded to Dallas in 2006 when his contract expired. After 41 games, the Stars had seen enough and he wasn't re-signed. Brendl (right) went to the Rangers at No. 4 and his potential helped New York land Eric Lindros from the Flyers in a 2001 trade. Brendl notched 13 points in 50 games with Philly and was out of the NHL by 2006-07.
2000: Brent Krahn
The Flames' No. 9 pick battled a recurring knee injury and did not reach the NHL until 2009. By then he'd been let go by Calgary and picked up as a free agent by Dallas for whom he appeared in all of one game, and that was in relief. He then spent the remaining two years of his pro career with the Stars' AHL affiliate.
2001: Alexander Svitov
The Lightning had big dreams for Svitov, the youngest player to skate in the Russian Elite League, when they used the No. 3 pick to land him. The big, strong center seemed like he would fit nicely into their roster but he topped out at 18 points, and that was in his final NHL season (2006-07). But then he was with Columbus, having managed only 11 points in 74 games for Tampa Bay. As unproductive for the Jackets as he was for the Bolts, Svitov ended up returning to Russia to finish his career.
2002: Petr Taticek
Only one player selected among the first 14 picks of the ’02 draft skated in fewer than 480 NHL games. That was Taticek, a center who played less than 20 minutes total before the Panthers fully grasped what a fraud he was. Making his selection even more painful: Florida actually sent a fourth-rounder to the Flames in order to move up one spot and grab him.
2003: Hugh Jessiman
Jessiman may be the greatest draft blunder of 2000s. The 6' 6", 230-pound winger's monster freshman season at Dartmouth prompted the Rangers to grab him ahead of Dustin Brown, Zach Parise, Brent Burns, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry, Mike Richards and others. Injuries and his lack of high-end hockey sense doomed him to wander the hockey hinterlands before he finally made his NHL debut with Florida in 2011. While a dozen players selected after him are All-Stars, he’s now skating in the Austrian league.
2004: Alexandre Picard
Not to be confused with the defenseman of the same name who was drafted in 2003, this Alexandre Picard was a forward taken eighth in 2004 by Columbus. The Jackets gave him plenty of opportunity to make it on the big stage, and he played 67 games over the course of five seasons. What did he have to show for it? Two points.
2007: Thomas Hickey
The Kings have pulled bigger busts out of the hat, but no pick was more controversial than this undersized puck-moving defender, the greatest reach in recent memory. The first blueliner chosen, at No. 4, from a crop that included P.K. Subban, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner, Hickey never played for L.A. Claimed on waivers by the Islanders in 2013, he's slowly matured into a serviceable defender, but he should not have come off the board that early.
2008: Kyle Beach
A bruising, agitating power forward who drew comparisons to Owen Nolan early in his draft year, Beach was destined for great things ... until his leaden stride and hamster-wheel hockey sense made him perhaps the biggest bust in Blackhawks history. He spent six seasons in the minors but never came close to earning a call-up. In July 2013, the Hawks gave him one more shot with a one-year deal, but he appeared in all of seven games for AHL Rockford before he was traded to the Rangers. He’s currently plying his trade in Austria. Meanwhile, Tyler Myers (12th) and Erik Karlsson (15th) are doing O.K. for themselves in the NHL.
2009: Scott Glennie
The Stars' first pick (No. 8) in a stacked draft is a center who impressed in the WHL but has so far been unable to justify his draft status. Bedeviled by injuries, he continues to languish in the AHL. He'd appeared in one NHL game as of the end of the 2014-15 season while a procession of Stars prospects had moved on to the big club. With his contract up, Glennie's future with the organization is in doubt.