Winning in the NHL can come in many different ways, from the fire wagon Edmonton Oilers of the 1980’s, to the close to the vest trap of Lou Lamoriello’s New Jersey Devils, and a hybrid in between. The recent string of Stanley Cup winners has had one thing in common, strong cost-controlled talent picked up through the draft.
This was evidenced this spring by the Chicago Blackhawks’ electric duo of Brandon Saad (More on him in a minute) and Teuvo Teravainen, or the strong bottom-six that the Los Angeles Kings displayed over their multiple Stanley Cup winning seasons with Jordan Nolan, Tyler Toffoli and Dwight King.
Drafting has been not been a recent strong point for the Pittsburgh Penguins. While many high round picks and possible impact players have been dealt away, nothing has come back to sting the Pens just yet. Unless of course you consider the lack of depth and impact prospects, which is a glaring organizational weakness.
Of course, the draft is far from an exact science. But, there are some obvious misses that the front office has made over the past ten years that may have reversed this trend. Identifying a special player is part luck, part skill, and part diligence. Identifying a bust can be done by anyone, Alexander Daigle and Patrik Stefan can attest to that. Looking just at the first and second round over the past ten years these five picks stick out as the biggest draft misses by the Pittsburgh Penguins.