Friday, January 27, 2012
I'm talking about the NHL Entry Draft, which "officially" started in 1979, as it was called the Amateur Draft prior to that. In that time span, only 10 last picks have played at least one game in the NHL, with the top-end player playing 739 games in the NHL.
It's started off in the 1979 Draft, where Blair Barnes was picked in the 6th round, 126th overall by the Edmonton Oilers-- playing in only one game in the 1982-83 season with the Los Angeles Kings. That next draft, the 1980 Draft-- Andy Brickley was the last pick in Round 10, 210th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers; then playing 385 NHL games with the Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, and Winnipeg Jets. Brickley finished with 82 career goals and 222 points.
There was a quite the gap, but we got back-to-back last picks playing starting in the 1987 Entry Draft with Edmonton again pick last, this time Igor Vyazmikin with the 252nd overall pick, leading to a four-game stint with the Oilers, for only one goal in his career. In 1988, Edmonton's provincial counterparts, the Calgary Flames, picked last at pick 252 and took another Russian in Sergei Pryakhin-- who was the first Russian who was allowed by the Soviet government to play in the NHL-- and put up three goals and 11 points in 46 career games. Pryakhin was the first Russian-trained player to receive a Stanley Cup ring, as well, but not engraved on the Cup.
A small gap before yet another back-to-back last pick. The 1993 Draft has the Pittsburgh Penguins pick in the 286th slot, using Hans Jonsson for their pick, where he'd lead a solid career over 242 games with the Penguins, compiling 10 goals and 48 assists on the blue line. Another blue liner was picked last in the 1994 Draft, when Kim Johnsson was pick by the New York Rangers and would lead the way for the last picks-- playing in 739 games with the Rangers, Flyers, Minnesota Wild, and Chicago Blackhawks, finishing with 67 goals and 284 points.
The Boston Bruins picked last in the 1997 Draft, using the 246th pick to choose Jay Henderson, would only put up four points in 33 games with the Bruins.
More recently, the most active players on the chart include Jonathan Ericsson, currently playing with the Detroit Red Wings, who drafted him with 291st pick in the 2002 Draft. Currently, Ericsson has 10 goals and 42 points in 213 games-- with a Stanley Cup ring to boot. Also in the Central Division, Patric Hornqvist of the Nashville Predators was picked last in the 2005 Draft and has put up 67 goals and 129 points in 236 games with the Preds.
Keeping with the All-Star, Brian Elliott almost made this list, even with him being an All-Star-- but he was picked second-to-last in 2003 with the 291st pick by the Ottawa Senators, currently having career record of 76-58-18 over 165 games, with this year being his best on record.
While it's not horrible to be picked last, regardless of the fact, the success rate isn't always there....which I guess is why you're the last to be picked.