Great NHL Draft Picks Can Be Found In Surprising Places
I’m on a bit of an NHL draft binge when it comes to my posts on Blackhawk Up. I recently published a piece looking at other players the Chicago Blackhawks could’ve selected with their first overall picks in each of the last 10 drafts. I’ve also looked at the best draft choices for the Blackhawks since 2000.
We’re going to go a little off the Blackhawks track with this post and take a look at the top NHL draft pick in each of the last 10 drafts to be selected at No. 100 or later.
The biggest find I can immediately think of in this range comes from a Blackhawks rival, the Detroit Red Wings. They picked Pavel Datsyuk 171st overall in 1998 draft, and look how he turned out. He may be on his way out of the organization now (at age 37), but that turned out to be quite a steal.
With that, let’s get started with the 2006 draft and work our way to the present.
Top 100-or-higher pick: C Mathieu Perreault, 177th overall, Washington Capitals
Honorable mention: G Reto Berra, 106th overall, St. Louis Blues; LW Matt Beleskey, 112th overall, Anaheim Ducks; G Chad Johnson, 125th overall, Pittsburgh Penguins; C Andrew MacDonald, 160th overall, New York Islanders; LW Viktor Stalberg, 161st overall, Toronto Maple Leafs; C Leo Komarov, 180th overall, Toronto Maple Leafs; RW Derek Dorsett, 189th overall, Columbus Blue Jackets
More from Editorials
- Blackhawks: List Of Things To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving
- Blackhawks: Changes to the coaching staff are a step in the right direction
- Chicago Blackhawks: Reasons for optimism and cause for concern
- Blackhawks: Kick off four game road trip against Kraken
- Recapping the Jeremy Colliton era with the Chicago Blackhawks
This one comes down to Perreault, Komarov and Dorsett. While Komarov is the only All-Star in this group, I think his inclusion in 2016’s exhibition was more a product of Toronto needing a representative than him being an incredible player. He had a fine 2015-16 season, to be sure, but Perreault is a better player, in my opinion.
Perreault had just 9 goals this season after posting 18 each of the last two regular seasons, but he also added a career-best 32 assists in the 2015-16 season. His shooting percentage was also an atrocious 6.8 percent, down from his 14.0 career mark, meaning he’s probably due for an uptick next season for a Jets squad that has to be better than this year’s.
Perreault isn’t a big guy, checking in at 5-foot-10, 188 pounds, but he just knows how to get to scoring areas on the ice. He’s been dynamite with the Anaheim Ducks and now Winnipeg Jets since parts of four lackluster seasons in Washington, so maybe he needed a change of scenery. Or maybe the Caps should’ve given him more time to develop.
Top 100-or-higher pick: LW Jamie Benn, 129th overall, Dallas Stars
Honorable mention: LW Dwight King, 109th overall, Los Angeles Kings; Jake Muzzin, 141st overall, Pittsburgh Penguins; G Scott Darling, 153rd overall, Phoenix Coyotes; LW Patrick Maroon, 161st overall, Philadelphia Flyers; LW Carl Hagelin, 168th overall, New York Rangers; C Nick Bonino, 173rd overall, San Jose Sharks; D Justin Braun, 201st overall, San Jose Sharks
Some decent players in this bunch, but Benn and Braun really stand out. Braun and his fantastic beard are competing for a Stanley Cup right now, while Benn became part of hockey’s most-potent offensive line this season.
Benn gets the nod just because of how special an offensive talent he’s become. He posted a league-best 87 points in 82 games last season, then followed that up with 89 points in 82 games this year, good for second in the league. And he did some of this without almost-constant linemate Tyler Seguin, who can’t seem to avoid the late-season injury bug.
Benn has turned being picked 129th overall into team captaincy and a near-point-per-game NHL career through seven years. And the scary thing is, he’s probably entering his prime now, set to turn 27 this offseason. We very well may see Benn break the 100-point barrier real soon.
Next: 2008 And 2009 Drafts