Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Sens All Time Worst Draft Picks

The NHL Draft is this Friday and while there's less excitement this year with the Sens only picking 15th, the entry draft is where you build your team for the future. It's more important than free agency in my opinion, it's where you lay the foundation to be competitive year after year. One only has to look at our amazingly talented teams of the early 2000's to see how important it can be. On the flip side, making a wrong pick can set your franchise back many years and be devastating. The Senators are lucky enough that we haven't had any picks that did that to the organization but we've had our share of lemons. Here's my top 10 list of the worst draft picks in Senators history that proves we only know one sure thing, that drafting is an inexact science at best.

#10: Marc Moro drafted 27th overall in 1995, which at the time was a 2nd round pick but now would be a 1st rounder. Moro never suited up for the Sens but did manage to play 30 career NHL games for Anaheim, Nashville and Toronto, putting up ZERO career points. His claim to fame was being traded in 1996 to the Mighty Ducks for future Sens contributors Shaun Van Allen and Jason York, and where would Ottawa be without the amusing Yorkie covering the Sens? The draft pick used on Moro was almost worth it just for that. Moro fittingly currently works as an analyst for the hated Maple Leafs on Leafs TV.

#9: Jeff Glass was drafted 89th overall in the 3rd round of the 2004 draft which doesn't seem like much of a bust at first glance until you see that in 2005 he was the starting goaltender for Canada at the World Junior Championship's in North Dakota. That team won gold and Glass went a perfect 5-0 with a 1.40 GAA for the red and white. He never played a minute for the Senators or any other NHL club and went on to spend parts of 4 seasons in Binghamton, never managing to win more than 17 games in a season.

#8: Jakub Klepis was drafted 16th overall in the 1st round of the 2002 draft. He never suited up for the Sens and was traded in 2003 to Buffalo for Vaclav Varada, who was one of the scariest looking guys to ever put on an Ottawa uniform. Klepis managed just 66 career NHL games for the Caps, potting just 14 points, which is pretty poor for a guy drafted in the top 20. His claim to fame was winning gold for the Czechs at the 2010 World Championships. He currently plays in the KHL.

#7: Chad Penney was drafted 25th overall in our inaugural 1992 draft in Montreal, which at the time was a 2nd round pick but today would be a 1st rounder. He was a solid all around forward for North Bay of the OHL and put up some impressive scoring numbers that had the Sens high on him but it never panned out at the next level. He only managed 3 career NHL games where he failed to register a point. By 1998-99 Penney was out of hockey entirely.

#6: Simon Lajeunesse was 48th overall in the 2nd round of the 1999 draft and at the time was regarded as a fairly blue chip prospect. He was one of many in the long list of Senators goalies that never panned out. He only managed to suit up for one NHL game for the Sens, playing just 24 minutes in his National Hockey League career. He spent most of the rest of his pro hockey career splitting time between the AHL and ECHL, never playing for an NHL club again. He retired in 2007 at the age of just 26 years old.

#5: Alexei Kaigorodov was drafted 47th overall in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft. The Senators were very high on the young Russian and pencilled him in as the 2nd line centre to start the 2006-07 season. He only managed 6 games and 1 assist before the Senators sent him to Binghamton. The only problem was he refused to report to the AHL and the Senators suspended him. A few months later in early 2007, Ottawa traded his rights to Phoenix in exchange for Mike Comrie, who helped us on our magical 2007 finals run. Kaigorodov, who had an attitude problem never played in the NHL again and currently plays in the KHL. He remains suspended by the Coyotes should he ever wish to return to the NHL.

#4: Alexandre Daigle was drafted 1st overall in the 1993 draft. I know many of you would have him at #1 but I personally don't think he was that poor as a Senators player, which is why I only have him at number 4. He came in with an unfair amount of pressure for an 18 year old, with comparisons of Gretzky and Lemieux being thrown around way too liberally. While most consider him a massive bust, he put up 172 points in 301 games for Ottawa over 4 and 1/2 seasons, putting up 20 goal seasons twice. Hardly superstar numbers but not nearly as bad as many seem to remember either. He was eventually traded to Philadelphia for Vaclav Prospal and fellow disappointment Pat Falloon. His 5 year, 12.25 million dollar contract, a fortune at the time, lead to the league pushing a salary cap for rookie deals. He may well be best remembered for his infamous nurse picture. He is widely considered one of the NHL's all time biggest draft busts.

#3: Greg Zanon was drafted 156th overall in the 5th round of the 2000 draft. At first glance most of you are probably saying who? And why is a guy from the 5th round a poor draft pick? The Sens took the dman and let him play collegiately at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for 4 years and never got around to signing him. He never played a second for the Senators organization but has gone on to play 449 career NHL games and counting for Nashville, Minnesota and now Boston, putting up 56 points. Zanon may not be spectacular by any means but he has proved that he is a capable pro. The Senators dropped the ball on this one. He is still currently an NHL player for the Bruins.

#2: Brian Lee was drafted 9th overall in the 1st round of the 2005 draft, ironically conducted here in Ottawa. He was always picked as a bit of a project with a lot of raw talent, although that talent was rarely on display at the NHL level. Sens fans are all too familiar with the frustrating play of Mr Lee, who always left you wanting more from him. He managed 167 games for the Sens over parts of 5 seasons before being dealt at the trade deadline to Tampa Bay last season for Matt Gilroy. Even more frustrating for Sens Army is that Muckler took Lee instead of future all stars Anze Kopitar and Marc Staal.

#1: Mathieu Chouinard was drafted 15th overall in the 1st round of the 1998 draft and again at 45th overall in the 2nd round of the 2000 draft. Yes you read that right, the Sens picked him TWICE. After taking him very high for a goalie in 1998, the Sens and Chouinard could not come to a contract agreement in time and he chose to re-enter the draft in 2000 hoping for a fresh start. Ottawa had other plans and picked the goalie yet again, this time in the 2nd round of the 2000 draft. He eventually signed to the organization the second time around and in 2001-02 won the Harry "HAP" Holmes Memorial Award given to the AHL's goalie tandem with the lowest GAA. That was as good as it got for Chouinard and the Sens unfortunately. Being picked twice, both fairly highly and never once living up to any of the potential he had, plus never suiting up for Ottawa or any one else in an NHL game is what lands the netminder at the top of the worst picks in Senators history.

Thoughts on my worst 10 picks in Sens history? Who would you have included/excluded?


HCAB said...

Good list! Not sure I'd change anything about it. Would be fun to see a top 10 best picks - this organization has nailed so many diamonds in the rough!

Melnyks Hangovers said...

How is Zanon a bad pick just because they didn't sign him? That doesn't make him a bad pick.

How is Glass a bad pick just because he had a good World Juniors AFTER he was picked?

Doesn't make sense to have guys like this listed as "bad picks" ahead of names like Ruslan Bashkirov, Teemu Sainomaa, Chris Bala, etc.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hangovers is right - Ruslan Bashkirov should be on there.

HCAB said...

Good point on Bashkirov. Interesting to see that his twin brother Roman, who posted nearly identical stats in the Q on Ruslan's line, went undrafted. Looks like they're both out of the professional circuit now.