The title holder for the NHL's biggest draft bust has been an oft-debated topic, with names like Alexandre Daigle or Kyle Turris frequently leading the discussion. But a recent examination of every draft since 1990 by ESPN's NHL Draft Blog (Insider) turned up a familiar name at No. 1: perpetually injured Islanders' goalie Rick DiPietro.
The list, based on a how much value a player has returned compared to the average expected value of the draft pick, puts DiPietro at No. 1 ahead of Patrik Stefan, and the aforementioned Daigle. And author Alvin Chang claims this is Exhibit A in why franchises shouldn't spend a high draft pick on a goalie:
First off, goalies are incredibly hard to project, no matter how far along or how good they are. Second, the No. 1 pick is so valuable that risking it on a goalie is just silly -- especially since the chances of landing a franchise forward are pretty decent in most drafts. Third, an above-average goalie can be acquired at a much better price almost every year on the free agent market.
Figure in DiPietro's injury woes and this is the kind of swing-and-a-miss you see in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, where ends up corkscrewing himself into the ground. Given the expected production from a No. 1 overall pick, it's no wonder the Islanders have had so much trouble trying to dig themselves out of the mud. Fortunately it seems the Islanders have fared much better in recent drafts, betting on John Tavares with their next No. 1 pick, and acquiring forwards Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Strome with other lottery picks. Both Niederreiter and Strome have turned heads at the junior hockey level and figure prominently in the Isles' development efforts going forward.