Top 10 biggest NHL draft busts of all time ft. Rick DiPietro 

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at New York Islanders
Top 10 biggest NHL draft busts of all-time ft. Rick DiPietro

Over the years, the NHL draft has been called a lottery. In other words, teams select players in the hopes they can become future stars. Despite advanced analytics, scouting, combines and player interviews, teams get it wrong more often than not.

But then again, there are times when teams get it so wrong they draft a “bust.” In short, a bust is a player who’s generally taken in the first round but fails to make any sort of impact on the NHL throughout their career. In some instances, there are top 10 picks who don’t even play a game in the NHL.

Here's a closer look at the 10 biggest NHL draft busts of all time.

Top 10 biggest NHL draft busts of all time

#10. Brian Finley

The 1999 NHL draft is considered one of the worst in league history. This draft class not only produced one of the biggest all-time busts, but it also failed to produce any meaningful stars. Except for the Sedin twins, the first round was devoid of any impactful players.

Case in point, the Nashville Predators took goaltender Brian Finley with the No. 6 overall pick. Finley played a total of two games with the Preds and gave up 10 goals. He would make two more NHL appearances for the Boston Bruins before ending his career.

#9. Scott Scissons

In 1990, the New York Islanders took Scott Scissons ahead of Darryl Sydor, Keith Tkachuk, Doug Weight, legendary goalie Martin Brodeur and Derian Hatcher. The Isles picked Scissons following Jaromir Jagr's selection. In total, Scissons played just two NHL games.

#8. Ryan Sittler

The Philadelphia Flyers used the No. 7 overall pick in 1992 to select Ryan Sittler, who never played a game in the league. In contrast, the Washington Capitals took Sergei Gonchar at No. 14 and the Pittsburgh Penguins picked Martin Straka at No. 19.

Both players taken after Sittler went on to have lengthy and successful careers, with Gonchar playing over 1,300 games and racking up more than 800 points.

#7. Jason Bonsignore

The No. 4 overall pick in the 1994 NHL draft racked up 16 points in 79 NHL contests. Jeff O’Neill went No. 5 and Ryan Smyth No. 6, both of whom became stars. O'Neill played close to 700 games and registered over 400 points while Smyth played over 1,200 games, becoming captain of the Edmonton Oilers.

#6. Brett Lindros

Another notable bust from the 1994 NHL draft is Brett Lindros. The highly-touted younger brother of Eric Lindros saw his career cut short due to injuries. When he did play, he managed a meager seven points in 51 NHL games for the New York Islanders.

#5. Pavel Brendl

Going back to the 1999 NHL draft class, the New York Rangers selected Pavel Brendl, who played in parts across four seasons, totaling 78 games. He notched 11 goals and 11 assists. He ranks among the biggest busts of all time considering that Brendl was part of the return for Eric Lindros in 2001.

#4. Alexandre Daigle

Daigle was touted as the face of the newly formed Ottawa Senators. The Sens were confident in Daigle after he tore up the QMJHL. So, the club made him the No. 1 pick of the 1993 NHL draft.

Following an encouraging rookie season in which he notched 37 points in 47 games, Daigle struggled the next season. In his third year, he rebounded with 51 points in 82 games, including 26 goals. But that was his last productive season. He would score 16 points the following year before leaving Ottawa.

Daigle never regained his form, ending his NHL career with the Minnesota Wild. He would play in Europe for the remainder of his pro career. Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya, Saku Koivu and Todd Bertuzzi were all selected after Daigle.

#3. Brian Lawton

There’s not much to say about Lawton. The Minnesota North Stars took Lawton as the No. 1 overall pick in 1983. While Lawton did in fact score 266 points in 483 career games, however, he’s considered one of the biggest busts, as the players chosen after him included Steve Yzerman, Pat LaFontaine, Cam Neely, Dave Gagner and Tom Barrasso.

#2. Patrik Stefan

The Atlanta Thrashers made Stefan the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NHL draft. Stefan is remembered as among the worst No. 1 picks, given his 188 points in 455 games. He was never the transformational player Atlanta had hoped for.

Stefan’s biggest claim to fame was missing an empty-netter while playing with the Dallas Stars in 2007.

#1. Rick DiPietro

Taking a goaltender in the first round has always been a gamble. While the gamble paid off for New Jersey when it took Martin Brodeur, it failed miserably for the New York Islanders.

The Islanders took DiPietro with the No. 1 overall pick in 2000, who gave the Islanders enough confidence to trade Roberto Luongo in order to make him the starter. In total, DiPietro played 318 games, posting a 2.87 GAA and a .902 SV%. While not awful numbers, DiPietro never established himself as a starter.

The worst part of the DiPietro saga was his 15-year, $67 million contract signed in 2006. The Islanders eventually bought out DiPietro’s contract in 2012 following his last season. The Isles are still on the hook for the deal until 2029.

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Edited by Veer Badani
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