Hits and misses at the draft by Pacific teams
The Los Angeles Kings proved again this season that good drafting is the basis of success. The core of the Kings' Stanley Cup championship team -- goaltender Jonathan Quick, defenseman Drew Doughty, No. 1 center Anze Kopitar and captain Dustin Brown -- all were drafted and developed by the team.
Every team has had its ups and downs since the draft began in 1963. Here's a look at the hits (and some of the misses) for the five teams in the Pacific Division on Draft Day.
Best first-round pick: Paul Kariya (1993) -- The Ducks were ecstatic when Kariya fell to them at the No. 4 pick in the first draft in franchise history. He turned pro in 1994 and was a 50-goal scorer a season later. He left the Ducks in the summer of 2003 after leading them within one victory of the franchise's first Stanley Cup, but he never scored anywhere else the way he did in Anaheim.
Honorable mention: Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry (2003), Bobby Ryan (2005)
Best pick, rounds 2-4: Ilya Bryzgalov (2000) -- The Ducks picked Bryzgalov from Lada Togliatti in Russia with their second-round pick in 2000, and he became an effective backup behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the 2007 Cup-winning team. Then-GM Brian Burke allowed him to leave on waivers to try to land a starting job, and he did just that after being claimed by Phoenix, leading the Coyotes to back-to-back playoff berths before signing with Philadelphia last summer. He had an up-and-down first season with the Flyers but finished with a 33-16-7 record and helped Philadelphia to the second round of the playoffs.
Honorable mention: Matt Cullen (1996), Jordan Leopold (1999)
Best later-round pick: Trent Hunter (1998) -- Hunter has had a fine career for a sixth-round pick -- though not for the Ducks, who dealt him to the Islanders for a fourth-rounder in 2000. Hunter had 25 goals and 51 points as a rookie in 2003-04 and was a solid two-way player on Long Island before winding up in Los Angeles this season.
Honorable mention: Martin Gerber (2001), Shane O'Brien (2003)
Biggest disappointment: Stanislav Chistov (2001) -- The Ducks selected Chistov with the No. 5 selection in 2001 and brought him to North America a season later amid high expectations that never panned out. After totaling 12 goals and 30 points as a rookie, he slipped to two goals and 18 points in 2003-04 before being sent to the Ducks' AHL affiliate in Cincinnati. He went home to Russia for the 2005-06 season, came back to North America the following season, and was traded to Boston early in 2006-07. Chistov went home for good after totaling five goals and eight assists in 60 games with Boston.
Honorable mention: Michael Holmqvist (1997), Alexei Smirnov (2000)
DALLAS STARS/MINNESOTA NORTH STARS
Best first-round pick: Mike Modano (1988) -- The Stars, then based in Minnesota, took Modano No. 1 after a 47-goal, 127-point season with Prince Albert of the Western Hockey League. He put up 105 points in 41 games with the Raiders the following season, then turned pro and became the face of the franchise. Modano's 561 goals and 1,374 points are the most by any U.S.-born player in NHL history. He played with Detroit in 2010-11 before calling it a career last summer.
Honorable mention: Brian Bellows (1982), Derian Hatcher (1990), Jarome Iginla (1995), Brenden Morrow (1997)
Best pick, rounds 2-4: Jere Lehtinen (1992) -- The North Stars used a fourth-round pick on Lehtinen, a forward who had scored 32 goals in 43 games in Finland's second division. Lehtinen never was a huge offensive producer in the NHL, but he won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward three times and had 20 or more goals in a season seven times (30 or more twice). He was plagued by injuries during his final seasons and retired following the 2009-10 season.
Honorable mention: Neal Broten (1979), Jamie Langenbrunner (1993)
Best later-round pick: Marty Turco (1994) -- The Stars' patience in waiting for Turco certainly was rewarded. Dallas took Turco with a fifth-round choice in 1994 but didn't bring him to the NHL until 2000-01, after he had spent four seasons at the University of Michigan and two more in the minors. Turco then spent two more seasons backing up Ed Belfour before earning the starting job in 2002-03. In his nine seasons with the Stars, he had as many seasons with a goals-against average under 2.00 (three) as over 2.50.
Honorable mention: Arturs Irbe (1989), Roman Turek (1990), Jussi Jokinen (2001)
Biggest disappointment: Jason Botterill (1994) -- Botterill was expected to develop into a star after the Stars drafted him with the No. 20 pick following an excellent freshman season at the University of Michigan. He added to those expectations with 32- and 37-goal seasons for the Wolverines before turning pro. But the scoring touch Botterill showed in college never made it to the NHL. He managed five goals in 88 games during parts of six NHL seasons with four franchises before retiring in 2004.
Honorable mention: David Quinn (1984), Warren Babe (1986)
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Best first-round pick: Larry Murphy (1980) -- Murphy was the best offensive defenseman in Kings history almost from the moment he stepped onto the ice after being chosen with the fourth pick. He had 16 goals and 76 points as a rookie, 22 goals in his second season and 14 goals in his third season. But after a slow start in 1983-84, the Kings traded him to Washington. He kept piling up the points wherever he went, becoming a key part of two Cup-winning teams each in Pittsburgh and Detroit in the 1990s before retiring with 287 goals and 1,216 points on the way to the Hall of Fame.
Honorable mention: Jay Wells (1979), Anze Kopitar (2005), Drew Doughty (2008)
Best pick, rounds 2-4: Rob Blake (1988) -- Little did the Kings know they were getting one of the best defensemen in franchise history when they used the 70th pick in 1988 on a college defenseman from Bowling Green. Blake became an NHL regular in 1990 and went on to pile up 240 goals and 777 points in 1,240 games, mostly with the Kings -- though he won his only Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001. He finished his career in 2009-10 as captain of the San Jose Sharks.
Honorable mention: Michael Cammalleri (2001), Jonathan Quick (2005)
Best later-round pick: Luc Robitaille (1984) -- Robitaille is the patron saint of low-round draft choices. He filled the net as a junior while playing for Hull in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but wasn't taken until the ninth round (five rounds after the Kings selected future baseball Hall of Famer Tom Glavine). Much to everyone's surprise, Robitaille continued to score in bunches -- 44 or more goals in each of his first eight seasons before being traded by the Kings in 1994. He returned to L.A. three years later and had three more seasons of between 36 and 39 goals, went to Detroit for two seasons (including a Cup win in 2002), and made a third appearance in Los Angeles before retiring in 2006 with 668 goals, the most by a left wing. He's still with the Kings as their president of business operations.
Honorable mention: Billy Smith (1970), Garry Galley (1983)
Biggest disappointment: Jens Karlsson (2001) -- The Kings took Karlsson, a big right wing, with the 18th pick. He's still active in Sweden but never came to North America. Karlsson spent six full seasons in the Swedish Elite League, then three seasons at the next level down, mixed in with time in Germany and Denmark. He returned to the SEL in 2009-10 but dropped a level in 2010-11 -- though he put up a career-high 22 goals with Boras and had 23 points in 50 games in 2011-12.
Honorable mention: Craig Duncanson (1985), Dan Gratton (1985)
PHOENIX COYOTES/WINNIPEG JETS
Best first-round pick: Teemu Selanne (1988) -- Winnipeg had to wait four long years for Selanne to move from Finland to North America. When he did, though, it was memorable, as he shattered the NHL rookie record with 76 goals in 1992-93. He never got close to that total again and was traded in 1996, but he's continued to pile up goals and points; he had 26 goals and a team-high 66 points for Anaheim in 2011-12, playing all 82 games as a 41-year-old, giving him 663 goals and 1,406 points in 1,341 games.
Honorable mention: Dale Hawerchuk (1981), Keith Tkachuk (1990), Shane Doan (1995), Danny Briere (1996)
Best pick, rounds 2-4: Teppo Numminen (1986) -- Numminen wasn't flashy, he just showed up for work every night and did his job, beginning when he arrived in the NHL as a 20-year-old in 1988, and kept at it through his 15 seasons with the Jets/Coyotes. Numminen went to three All-Star Games, but was traded to Dallas in the summer of 2003 and signed with Buffalo a season later. He retired after the 2008-09 season having played 1,372 NHL games.
Honorable mention: Dave Christian (1979), Alexei Zhamnov (1990)
Best later-round pick: Nikolai Khabibulin (1992) -- The Jets took Khabibulin in the ninth round, and three years later he was their starting goaltender. Khabibulin won 30 or more games in each of the franchise's first three seasons in Phoenix, but he enjoyed more success after being dealt to Tampa Bay in 2001, helping the Lightning win the franchise's first Stanley Cup in '04. He spent the next four seasons in Chicago, leading the Hawks to the Western Conference Finals in 2009 before signing with Edmonton.
Honorable mention: Thomas Steen (1979), Igor Ulanov (1991), Trevor Letkowski (1996)
Biggest disappointment: Scott Kelman (1999) -- Kelman saw a lot of the world while playing hockey, but he's never played an NHL game. Phoenix took him with the 15th pick in 1999, but never brought him to the NHL. He played with 13 teams after turning pro without putting up more than 15 goals or 47 points for any one team in a season -- not exactly what the Coyotes were counting on from a mid-first rounder.
Honorable mention: Patrick DesRochers (1998), Jakub Koreis (2002)
SAN JOSE SHARKS
Best first-round pick: Patrick Marleau (1997) -- San Jose's all-time leading scorer has spent every day of his pro hockey career as a Shark and has been a consistent producer -- though perhaps not at the level some fans might have expected from the second player taken in his draft year. Marleau has excelled in his four seasons under coach Todd McLellan, scoring a career-high 38 goals in 2008-09, topping that with 44 in 2009-10, adding 37 in 2010-11 and contributing 30 goals this past season. He's 13 away from 400 goals for his career.
Honorable mention: Viktor Kozlov (1993), Jeff Friesen (1994), Brad Stuart (1998)
Best pick, rounds 2-4: Ray Whitney (1991) -- The one-time Edmonton Oilers stick boy was the second player ever selected by the Sharks -- and has long since outlasted first-round pick Pat Falloon. Whitney is a late bloomer who didn't really come into his own in San Jose; he never scored 20 goals with the Sharks, but has done it nine times since leaving in 1997. He just turned 40, but is coming off a 77-point season with Phoenix that moved him into the NHL's 1,000-point club.
Honorable mention: Christian Ehrhoff (2001), Matt Carle (2003), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (2005)
Best later-round pick: Evgeni Nabokov (1994) -- The Sharks found a gem when they spent a ninth-round pick on Nabokov, a young goaltender playing in Russia. He came to North America in 1997, spent two seasons in the AHL, and has been an NHL regular since 2000-01, when he won the Calder Trophy. Nabokov outlasted challenges from Miikka Kiprusoff and Vesa Toskala, finally becoming the undisputed starter in 2007 and winning 131 games in his last three seasons before leaving as a free agent in 2010. After a short stint in Russia, he returned to the NHL with the New York Islanders.
Honorable mention: Miikka Kiprusoff (1995), Ryane Clowe (2001), Joe Pavelski (2003)
Biggest disappointment: Teemu Riihijarvi (1995) -- The Sharks chose the Finnish left wing with the 12th pick, but he never came to North America. Riihijarvi continued to play in Finland until 2003, spent two seasons in Sweden, and then retired after five games back in his home country in 2005-06. Riihijarvi never scored more than eight goals or 18 points in any season.
Honorable mention: Jeff Jillson (1999), Mike Morris (2002)
Author: John Kreiser | NHL.com Columnist