The 210 prospects that will get picked in the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh are hoping some of the magic of the last draft class to hear their names called in the Steel City rubs off on them.
The 1997 Entry Draft was held at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, and of the 246 players selected through nine rounds, 24 have played at least 500 games, and two have surpassed the 1,000-game mark, with a third rapidly approaching that milestone. Three players have scored at least 300 goals, while three have at least 700 points, topped by one 1,000-point scorer.
That would be Joe Thornton, taken by the Boston Bruins with the No. 1 pick. The lanky 6-foot-4 center was taken after an outstanding two-season junior career with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.
Thornton endured a rough start to his career under coach Pat Burns, scoring just 3 goals in 55 games, but soon developed into a franchise stalwart. He's scored 20 goals 11 times in his 13 full seasons with the Bruins and San Jose Sharks, won the Art Ross and Hart trophies in 2006, scored his 1,000th point late last season and played in his 1,000th game Oct. 21 against the New Jersey Devils.