Top 5 New York Islanders Draft Flops
New York Islanders Draft Flops
The NHL Draft is a fun time of year for hockey fans. It’s the day when major trades are made, and a team starts to get set on building, or rebuilding if the case may be, a championship caliber hockey club. Over the years, teams have drafted players that have been a great success, teams have taken hidden gems in late rounds and teams have drafted players that have turned into a total flop. The New York Islanders are no different.
At times, the Islanders have plucked gems like Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Zigmund Palffy and John Tavares. Then there are guys the Islanders have drafted that have turned out to be a disaster, like Brent Lindros. Well today, we will be looking at something along those lines. Today we look at the top five biggest flop picks in Islanders history.
In this case, however, I use the term "flop picks" to mean something different. Normally, when somebody thinks of a flop of a draft pick, they think of guys who weren’t good enough to play in the NHL, or of guys whose careers were way too short. In this case, I will be looking at the top five picks the Islanders have made that didn’t work out with them, but instead had great careers elsewhere in the league. Every team in the league has had this happen. They pick a guy in the draft and he doesn’t work out well at all with the team that drafted him. Once that player gets moved to another team, his career seems to take off and he turns into the player everybody expected him to be.
That’s exactly what we will be looking at here. This list is of the top five players originally drafted by the Islanders and saw their careers take off once being moved off Long Island and to another team. Sure there have been guys that have played for the Islanders in their 41-year history that have had great careers after leaving Long Island, but for this topic, we will be focusing on guys that have been drafted since 1990. All the guys on this list are still currently playing in the NHL, and they all have had very nice careers for themselves since leaving Long Island.
So, without further ado, here are the top five Islanders' flop picks of the last 25 years!
5. Wade Redden
Taken second overall in the 1995 entry draft by the Islanders, right behind Bryan Berard, who was drafted by the Ottawa Senators, Redden never played a game on Long Island. In fact, the two guys would be traded for each other a few months after the draft, never playing for the teams that originally took them. As far as Redden is concerned, he spent 11 seasons on the blue line in Ottawa, and then made stops with the Rangers and Blues. Now Redden is patrolling the blue lines in Boston. He’s played over 1,000 games in the NHL and collected 455 points in a fine career. A smooth skating defenseman, Redden has had good vision on the ice, but somehow always manages to falter come playoff time. Redden never played a game on the Island, a move the Islanders looked a bit foolish for in the long run.
4. Bryan McCabe
Taken 40th overall in the 1993 draft, Bryan McCabe quickly established himself as a solid young defenseman. He played two and a half seasons on Long Island, averaging about 20 points a year. After his time on the island ended, McCabe made stops in Vancouver, Chicago, Toronto, the Rangers and finally Florida. McCabe’s career really took off during the seven seasons he spent with the Maple Leafs. He really began to establish himself as a puck moving defenseman and powerplay quarterback, which the Leafs took full advantage of in making good solid playoff runs with him on the blueline. Now McCabe is still putting that skill to good use for the Florida Panthers. McCabe was traded off Long Island to Vancouver along with Todd Bertuzzi, a move I’m sure the Islanders later regretted.
3. Todd Bertuzzi
Bertuzzi was drafted 23rd overall by the Islanders in 1993. He played a year and a half on Long Island, scoring 17 goals and 24 assists, before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks with Bryan McCabe. Bertuzzi then spent eight seasons with the Canucks, his best year coming in 2003 when he recorded 97 points. Now playing in Detroit, Bertuzzi has gone on to really establish himself as a premier power forward in the NHL. His combination of size and skill make him tough to knock off the puck. After the Islanders traded him, they realized what a mistake they made in letting him go.
2. Zdeno Chara
Drafted 56th overall in the 1996 draft, Chara has by far and away become the best blueliner to come out of that draft class. Big Z played four seasons on the island, and was never really able to get himself comfortable and established with his game. Then on draft day in 2002, he was traded as part of a package deal to the Senators for Alexei Yashin. Ever since then, his career has taken off. Chara averaged 30 points a year in four seasons with Ottawa. After leaving the Senators, he went to Boston, and has been with the Bruins ever since, becoming their captain. His play in Beantown has been more than fantastic, and he has since become captain of the hockey team and played in two Stanley Cup finals, winning once. This is the best example, at least of a skater anyway, of the Islanders really dropping the ball with a draft pick of theirs.
1. Roberto Luongo
Taken fourth overall in the 1997 draft, Luongo was bread to be a superstar in the making in the NHL. At the time it was the highest a goalie had ever been drafted. Luongo played just 24 games for the Islanders, going 7-14-1. The following season, Luongo was sent to the Florida Panthers in a blockbuster deal, and ever since then the Islanders have regretted the move. He played five years in Florida, averaging 15-20 wins a season, and basically carried the franchise. Then just like that, he was shipped off to Vancouver, where he has been ever since, once leading the Canucks to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Sure he has had trouble over the past few years, but still, this is the most obvious case of the Islanders dropping the ball on a big-time talent that they drafted.