Skip navigation

Duhatschek: How to make one single draft choice pay off

Broph: Joe Nieuwendyk’s decision to retire Wednesday reminded me again of one of my favorite pieces of hockey trivia: What was the single most effective draft choice in NHL history?

I’d argue it was the Atlanta Flames’ decision to select Kent Nilsson in the fourth round, 64th overall, in the 1976 entry draft. One year after trying to draft Nilsson in the 12th round (but getting his first name wrong and choosing the mythical Torbjorn Nilsson instead), the Flames picked the right Nilsson and received 10 mostly effective years of service out of him. Nilsson still holds the team’s single-season-points record of 131, set in their inaugural season in Calgary, 1980-81, and was one of the most dynamic crowd-pleasing players in team history.

When Badger Bob Johnson eventually tired of Nilsson’s playoff ineffectiveness, general manager Cliff Fletcher swapped his rights to the Minnesota North Stars for a pair of second-round picks, one of which produced Nieuwendyk, the other Stephane Matteau (who would go on to win a Stanley Cup with Mike Keenan in New York in 1994).

Nieuwendyk dazzled almost from the get-go and scored 192 goals in his first four full NHL seasons; he, along with Gary Roberts and Hakan Loob were the 1a line on the Flames’ 1989 Stanley Cup-winning team and took turns scoring big goals in the playoff along with the other scoring line on the team, Doug Gilmour between Joe Mullen and Colin Patterson.

In the fall of 1995, Nieuwendyk got into a contract dispute with the Flames, which was resolved only when then GM Al Coates traded him to the Dallas Stars for a prospect named Jarome Iginla. Iginla, already in his 10th season with Calgary, won’t turn 30 until next July.

On the Flames’ all-time scoring list, Nieuwendyk ranks third (616 points in 577 games), Iginla fourth (599 in 733 games) and Nilsson sixth (562 in 425). Not a bad return for one middle-round choice in a draft that took place almost 30 years ago.

You could perhaps make a case for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first choice in the 1985 when they selected Wendel Clark, a future captain. Clark gave the Leafs 441 points in 608 games, 15th on the Leafs’ all-time list, before Fletcher again – this guy can really get a return on his investment, can’t he? – flipped him to the Quebec Nordiques for Mats Sundin, their current captain. Sundin started the year third on the Leafs’ all-time scoring list (833 points in 832 games), but he is just four shy of tying Dave Keon for second on the all-time list and assuming he comes back to play next year, will eventually pass Darryl Sittler for top spot, probably by this time next year.

Can anybody find a similar drafting/trading thread elsewhere around the league?

 

  1. Dave Pogorzala from writes: How about this thread for the Sabres:

    June 1975 - Don Edwards is drafted 89th overall. He goes on to be their #1 goalie over several good years, earning a Vezina trophy in 1980.
    June 1982 - Edwards is traded to Calgary for (among other things) their 1st round pick that year. That pick is Paul Cyr. Cyr is decent, but nothing to write home about.
    December 1987 - Cyr is traded to the Rangers for a package including their 5th round pick, 89th overall, which ends up being Alexander Mogilny.
    July 1995 - Mogilny is traded to Vancouver for Mike Wilson, Mike Peca and their 1st round pick. That pick ends up being Jay McKee.
    March 1999 - Wilson is traded to Florida for Rhett Warrener and a 5th round pick. That pick ends up being Ryan Miller.
    June 2001 - Peca is traded to the Islanders for Taylor Pyatt and Tim Connolly.
    July 2003 - Warrener is traded to Calgary for Chris Drury.

    Note that most of these trades involve packages going both ways, but i'm just highlighting certain players.

    This pick has resulted in:
    - 2 #1 goalies
    - 3 captains (Mogilny served while LaFontaine was out)
    - 3 players on the 1999 Finals team
    - 5 players on the 2006 Conference Finals team
    - 3 players with the team now, including their #1 goalie, their captain, and arguably their most gifted centerman. Not too shabby.

Comments are closed

Thanks for your interest in commenting on this article, however we are no longer accepting submissions. If you would like, you may send a letter to the editor.

Report an abusive comment to our editorial staff

close

Alert us about this comment

Please let us know if this reader’s comment breaks the editor's rules and is obscene, abusive, threatening, unlawful, harassing, defamatory, profane or racially offensive by selecting the appropriate option to describe the problem.

Do not use this to complain about comments that don’t break the rules, for example those comments that you disagree with or contain spelling errors or multiple postings.

Back to Globe on Hockey

Globe on Hockey

The Globe's team of hockey reporters and columnists brings the latest news and analysis from across the National Hockey League

Blogroll

javax.servlet.ServletException: Processing template "tgamv3/v5/story/WBStory.html" with config "null"
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.processRequest(HTMLTemplate.java:231)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.doGet(HTMLTemplate.java:137)
	at GIS.Servlets.StoryHTMLTemplate.doGet(StoryHTMLTemplate.java:96)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:126)
	at GIS.Common.Servlet.service(Servlet.java:106)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:103)
	at com.caucho.server.http.FilterChainServlet.doFilter(FilterChainServlet.java:95)
	at com.caucho.server.http.Invocation.service(Invocation.java:291)
	at com.caucho.server.http.CacheInvocation.service(CacheInvocation.java:132)
	at com.caucho.server.http.RunnerRequest.handleRequest(RunnerRequest.java:341)
	at com.caucho.server.http.RunnerRequest.handleConnection(RunnerRequest.java:271)
	at com.caucho.server.TcpConnection.run(TcpConnection.java:136)
	at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:662)

Nested exception: GIS.Common.GICheckedException: Other exception in file: '/opt/GIS/HTML_Templates/tgamv3/v5/story/WBStory.html'  while processing select element with added parms:{}
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:1511)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:945)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.parse(HTMLTemplateParser.java:751)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:476)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.generate(HTMLTemplate.java:316)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.processRequest(HTMLTemplate.java:222)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.doGet(HTMLTemplate.java:137)
	at GIS.Servlets.StoryHTMLTemplate.doGet(StoryHTMLTemplate.java:96)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:126)
	at GIS.Common.Servlet.service(Servlet.java:106)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:103)
	at com.caucho.server.http.FilterChainServlet.doFilter(FilterChainServlet.java:95)
	at com.caucho.server.http.Invocation.service(Invocation.java:291)
	at com.caucho.server.http.CacheInvocation.service(CacheInvocation.java:132)
	at com.caucho.server.http.RunnerRequest.handleRequest(RunnerRequest.java:341)
	at com.caucho.server.http.RunnerRequest.handleConnection(RunnerRequest.java:271)
	at com.caucho.server.TcpConnection.run(TcpConnection.java:136)
	at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:662)

Nested exception: GIS.Common.GICheckedException: Other exception  while processing transformation element with added parms:{cacheTime=5000, type=xsl, url=/usr/local/web_htdocs/tgamv3/v5/includes/content/blogs/blogroll-gam.opml}
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:1625)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.parse(HTMLTemplateParser.java:751)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:476)
	at GIS.Jel.JELSelectProducer.emitChoiceNode(JELSelectProducer.java:48)
	at GIS.Jel.JELSelectOneProducer.generate(JELSelectOneProducer.java:92)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:1502)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:945)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.parse(HTMLTemplateParser.java:751)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:476)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.generate(HTMLTemplate.java:316)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.processRequest(HTMLTemplate.java:222)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.doGet(HTMLTemplate.java:137)
	at GIS.Servlets.StoryHTMLTemplate.doGet(StoryHTMLTemplate.java:96)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:126)
	at GIS.Common.Servlet.service(Servlet.java:106)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:103)
	at com.caucho.server.http.FilterChainServlet.doFilter(FilterChainServlet.java:95)
	at com.caucho.server.http.Invocation.service(Invocation.java:291)
	at com.caucho.server.http.CacheInvocation.service(CacheInvocation.java:132)
	at com.caucho.server.http.RunnerRequest.handleRequest(RunnerRequest.java:341)
	at com.caucho.server.http.RunnerRequest.handleConnection(RunnerRequest.java:271)
	at com.caucho.server.TcpConnection.run(TcpConnection.java:136)
	at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:662)

Nested exception: java.lang.ClassCastException: org.apache.xerces.dom.ElementNSImpl cannot be cast to com.caucho.xml.QElement
	at com.caucho.xsl.Generator.getXslLocal(Generator.java:2141)
	at com.caucho.xsl.Generator.generate(Generator.java:294)
	at com.caucho.xsl.AbstractStylesheetFactory.generate(AbstractStylesheetFactory.java:819)
	at com.caucho.xsl.AbstractStylesheetFactory.newTemplates(AbstractStylesheetFactory.java:437)
	at com.caucho.xsl.AbstractStylesheetFactory.newTransformer(AbstractStylesheetFactory.java:312)
	at GIS.Universal.XMLTransformer.transform(XMLTransformer.java:262)
	at GIS.Universal.XMLTransformer.transform(XMLTransformer.java:166)
	at GIS.HTMLComments.HTMLProducers.XSLProducer.generate(XSLProducer.java:85)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:1615)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.parse(HTMLTemplateParser.java:751)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:476)
	at GIS.Jel.JELSelectProducer.emitChoiceNode(JELSelectProducer.java:48)
	at GIS.Jel.JELSelectOneProducer.generate(JELSelectOneProducer.java:92)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:1502)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:945)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.parse(HTMLTemplateParser.java:751)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:476)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.generate(HTMLTemplate.java:316)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.processRequest(HTMLTemplate.java:222)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.doGet(HTMLTemplate.java:137)
	at GIS.Servlets.StoryHTMLTemplate.doGet(StoryHTMLTemplate.java:96)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:126)
	at GIS.Common.Servlet.service(Servlet.java:106)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:103)
	at com.caucho.server.http.FilterChainServlet.doFilter(FilterChainServlet.java:95)
	at com.caucho.server.http.Invocation.service(Invocation.java:291)
	at com.caucho.server.http.CacheInvocation.service(CacheInvocation.java:132)
	at com.caucho.server.http.RunnerRequest.handleRequest(RunnerRequest.java:341)
	at com.caucho.server.http.RunnerRequest.handleConnection(RunnerRequest.java:271)
	at com.caucho.server.TcpConnection.run(TcpConnection.java:136)
	at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:662)

Nested exception: java.lang.ClassCastException: org.apache.xerces.dom.ElementNSImpl cannot be cast to com.caucho.xml.QElement
	at com.caucho.xsl.Generator.getXslLocal(Generator.java:2141)
	at com.caucho.xsl.Generator.generate(Generator.java:294)
	at com.caucho.xsl.AbstractStylesheetFactory.generate(AbstractStylesheetFactory.java:819)
	at com.caucho.xsl.AbstractStylesheetFactory.newTemplates(AbstractStylesheetFactory.java:437)
	at com.caucho.xsl.AbstractStylesheetFactory.newTransformer(AbstractStylesheetFactory.java:312)
	at GIS.Universal.XMLTransformer.transform(XMLTransformer.java:262)
	at GIS.Universal.XMLTransformer.transform(XMLTransformer.java:166)
	at GIS.HTMLComments.HTMLProducers.XSLProducer.generate(XSLProducer.java:85)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:1615)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.parse(HTMLTemplateParser.java:751)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:476)
	at GIS.Jel.JELSelectProducer.emitChoiceNode(JELSelectProducer.java:48)
	at GIS.Jel.JELSelectOneProducer.generate(JELSelectOneProducer.java:92)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:1502)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:945)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:782)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.parse(HTMLTemplateParser.java:751)
	at GIS.Common.HTMLTemplateParser.generate(HTMLTemplateParser.java:476)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.generate(HTMLTemplate.java:316)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.processRequest(HTMLTemplate.java:222)
	at GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate.doGet(HTMLTemplate.java:137)
	at GIS.Servlets.StoryHTMLTemplate.doGet(StoryHTMLTemplate.java:96)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:126)
	at GIS.Common.Servlet.service(Servlet.java:106)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:103)
	at com.caucho.server.http.FilterChainServlet.doFilter(FilterChainServlet.java:95)
	at com.caucho.server.http.Invocation.service(Invocation.java:291)
	at com.caucho.server.http.CacheInvocation.service(CacheInvocation.java:132)
	at com.caucho.server.http.RunnerRequest.handleRequest(RunnerRequest.java:341)
	at com.caucho.server.http.RunnerRequest.handleConnection(RunnerRequest.java:271)
	at com.caucho.server.TcpConnection.run(TcpConnection.java:136)
	at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:662)