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NHL teams find gems in undrafted players

Wednesday, 06.20.2012 / 7:31 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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NHL teams find gems in undrafted players
There will be 211 players chosen at the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh this weekend. That doesn't mean there aren't some gems that will slip through the cracks.

There will be 211 players chosen at the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh this weekend. That doesn't mean there aren't some gems that will slip through the cracks.

Just as being drafted is no guarantee that a player will make it to the NHL, not being selected doesn't mean that a player won't make it.



Hall of Famers Ed Belfour, Joe Mullen, Peter Stastny and Dino Ciccarelli were never drafted. Neither was goaltender Antti Niemi, who led the Chicago Blackhawks to the 2010 Stanley Cup -- or his current San Jose teammate, All-Star defenseman Dan Boyle. Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay, winner of the Hart and Art Ross Trophies in 2004 and the Lady Byng in 2010 and '11, never heard his name called on draft day. Neither did Niklas Backstrom, Rene Bourque, Alexandre Burrows, Curtis Glencross or dozens of other players who wore NHL sweaters this season.

Here are some of the best players never to be drafted by an NHL team:

Pre-1990 (majority of career before 1990):

Goaltender: Curtis Joseph

Defense: Borje Salming

Defense: Mike Milbury

Forward: Dino Ciccarelli

Forward: Peter Stastny

Forward: Joe Mullen


Goaltender: Ed Belfour

Defense: Steve Duchesne

Defense: Brian Rafalski

Forward: Steve Thomas

Forward: Adam Oates

Forward: Mike Ridley


Goaltender: Antti Niemi

Defense: Dan Boyle

Defense: Dan Girardi

Forward: Martin St. Louis

Forward: Andy McDonald

Forward: Chris Kunitz


2012 NHL Draft Division Previews

NHL.com provides in-depth draft outlooks for each of the six divisions in anticipation of the 2012 NHL Draft.

All active team (players who were active in 2011-12)

Goalie: Antti Niemi, San Jose

Goalie: Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota

Goalie: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim

Defense: Dan Boyle, San Jose

Defense: Dan Girardi, N.Y. Rangers

Defense: Jason Garrison, Florida

Defense: Mark Giordano, Calgary

Defense: Andy Greene, New Jersey

Defense: Zbynek Michalek, Pittsburgh

Forward: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay

Forward: Andy McDonald, St. Louis

Forward: Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh

Forward: Alexandre Burrows, Vancouver

Forward: Curtis Glencross, Calgary

Forward: Pascal Dupuis, Pittsburgh

Forward: Chad LaRose, Carolina

Forward: David Clarkson, New Jersey

Forward: Dustin Penner, Los Angeles

Forward: Rene Bourque, Montreal

Forward: Tyler Bozak, Toronto

Forward: Ruslan Fedotenko, N.Y. Rangers

Coaching Staff (former NHL players who were never drafted):

Dave Tippett, Phoenix

Peter Laviolette, Philadelphia


Glenn Healy

Nick Kypreos

Mike Milbury

2012 NHL Draft