Skip to main content
NHL Draft

Late-round gems key to long-term success

Red Wings' foundation built on Datsyuk, Zetterberg

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

One of the most important people in the Detroit Red Wings' streak of 25 straight appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been director of European scouting Hakan Andersson.

Andersson's job requires frequent travel and isn't accompanied by much fanfare, but he's played a key role in the Red Wings winning the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.

In 26 years with the Red Wings, Andersson has proven to be one of the top talent evaluators in the business, capable of unearthing that diamond in the rough that has helped sustain Detroit's run of success. Among them have been late-round picks like forward Pavel Datsyuk in the sixth round (No. 171) of the 1998 NHL Draft; forward Henrik Zetterberg in the seventh round (No. 210) in 1999 and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson in the ninth round (No. 291) in 2002.

"Pavel Datsyuk played in a faraway place in Russia and there weren't many guys who saw him," Andersson said. "And to be honest, the fact we drafted him in the later rounds shows that maybe I didn't even believe in him that much at the time. If I would have known these players were this good, I would have pushed it and said, 'Let's draft them higher.' But I have to give a lot of credit to [former vice president/assistant general manager] Jim Nill, [former director of amateur scouting] Joe McDonnell and [general manager] Ken Holland for giving me the chance to make a pick in the late rounds."

General managers rely on their scouts to provide the necessary information when the clock is ticking at the NHL draft. It makes no difference whether it's a first- or seventh-round choice.

With the proper foresight to project a future star in the League, picks in the fifth round can turn out to be just as valuable as those in the first.

Besides the Red Wings' three stars, here are 15 other prominent NHL players selected in the fifth round or later (listed alphabetically):

Jamie Benn, LW, Dallas Stars (2007, fifth round, No. 129): Benn was No. 107 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters entering the 2007 draft. As a rookie in 2009-10, Benn had 22 goals and 41 points in 82 games, and was named Stars captain four seasons later. He won the Art Ross Trophy last season and was second in the League this season with 89 points in 82 games. Benn has 192 goals and 448 points in 508 regular-season games. Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris, who was No. 1 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2007 draft, has 106 goals and 256 points in 455 games.

Dustin Byfuglien, D, Chicago Blackhawks (2003, eighth round, No. 245): In a draft overflowing with future stars, Byfuglien was not high on most draft charts. But he was capable of playing defense and forward, and today is considered one of the more physically intimidating players in the League. He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010 before he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers. In six seasons with the Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets he's scored 20 goals twice and played in the NHL All-Star Game twice. He has 152 goals, 397 points and 796 penalty minutes in 678 regular-season games.

Brian Campbell, D, Buffalo Sabres (1997, sixth round, No. 156): Since his rookie season in 1999-2000, Campbell ranks eighth among defensemen in assists (405), 11th in points (487) and 18th in power-play points (197) in 1,002 regular-season games. He's played in the NHL All-Star Game four times, won the Stanley Cup in 2010 with the Blackhawks and won the 2012 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Campbell was No. 94 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 1997 draft. His 16-season career includes time with the Sabres, San Jose Sharks, Blackhawks and Florida Panthers.

Brian Elliott, G, Ottawa Senators (2003, ninth round, No. 291): Elliott was the second-to-last player chosen in the 2003 draft and the 29th goalie selected. He's gone on to play in the NHL All-Star Game twice, and in 2011-12 with the St. Louis Blues he led the League in save percentage (.940) and GAA (1.56). Elliott, 31, has played nine seasons with the Senators, Colorado Avalanche and Blues, and has a 2.40 GAA, .914 save percentage and 34 shutouts in 322 regular-season games. He went 23-8-6 with a 2.07 GAA and League-leading .930 save percentage in 42 games for the Blues in 2015-16.

Brendan Gallagher, RW, Montreal Canadiens (2010, fifth round, No. 147): Gallagher has reached 40 points in each of the past three seasons, including personal NHL-bests of 19 goals and 47 points in 2014-15. He blocks shots, goes to the front of the net, hits and is an agitating skater to play against. In 260 regular-season games, he has 77 goals, 156 points, a plus-45 rating and, according to, a 7.1 Corsi-relative percentage, meaning Montreal attempts 7.1 percent more shots with Gallagher on the ice compared to his teammates. Gallagher was named one of Montreal's alternate captains this season and the Canadiens were 26-21-5 with him in the lineup in 2015-16.

Carl Hagelin, LW, New York Rangers (2007, sixth round, No. 168): Considered one of the fastest and more skilled playmakers in the game, Hagelin has 72 goals and 169 points in 346 regular-season games in five seasons with the Rangers, Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins. He played a major role in the Penguins' run to the Stanley Cup this season after being acquired in a trade with the Ducks on Jan. 16. He had 10 goals and 27 points in 37 regular-season games, and 16 points in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Patric Hornqvist, RW, Nashville Predators (2005, seventh round, No. 230): Hornqvist has gone from the last player selected in the 2005 draft to Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins while playing on a line with captain Sidney Crosby. He was traded by Nashville to Pittsburgh on June 27, 2014. In eight seasons with the Predators and Penguins he has 153 goals and 318 points in 509 regular-season games. He has scored 20 or more goals six times and has reached 50 points in three straight seasons.

Jussi Jokinen, LW, Dallas Stars (2001, sixth round, No. 192): Jokinen has played all three forward positions during his 11 NHL seasons and proven to be exceptional in the shootout. As a rookie with the Stars in 2005-06 he scored on his first nine shootout attempts and is 10-of-13 (76 percent) for his career. He had 60 points in 81 games with the Florida Panthers this season, the second-most he's had in the League. In 822 games with the Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Penguins and Panthers, he has 175 goals and 518 points.

John Klingberg, D, Dallas Stars (2010, fifth round, No. 131): Klingberg has played more NHL games (141) than the combined total of the four players chosen ahead of him (69) by the Stars in the 2010 draft. Klingberg led NHL rookie defensemen in 2014-15 with 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 65 games. He had 58 points (10 goals, 48 assists) in 76 games in 2015-16.

Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers (2000, seventh round, No. 205): Since taking the starting job with the Rangers during the 2005-06 season, Lundqvist has been among the best at his position in the League. His 374 wins and 59 shutouts since 2005 lead all goalies. He has a 2.28 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 11 seasons, has won 30 or more games 10 times, won the Vezina Trophy in 2012 and was a Vezina finalist four other times.

Andrei Markov, D, Montreal Canadiens (1998, sixth round, No. 162): Markov, 37, concluded his 15th season in the League as the longest-tenured Canadiens player. He has reached 40 points seven times, including the past three seasons. He's ninth in games played (928), eighth in assists (423), and ninth in power-play goals (59) for the Canadiens. Among Canadiens defensemen he's second in games played and assists, and third in goals (113) and points (536).

Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo Sabres (1999, fifth round, No. 138): Miller's best season was 2009-10, when he set personal NHL-bests with 41 wins, a 2.22 GAA and .929 save percentage, and won the Vezina Trophy and the silver medal for the United States at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He became the 20th NHL goalie to play 500 games with one team before being traded to the Blues on Feb. 28, 2014. In 13 seasons with the Sabres, Blues and Vancouver Canucks, he has 340 wins, a 2.60 GAA, .915 save percentage and 36 shutouts in 655 games. 

Ondrej Palat, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning (2011, seventh round, No. 208): He has been playing in a top-six role for the Lightning the past three seasons. He played 14 games in 2012-13 and earned a full-time role the following season. He was a Calder Trophy finalist with 23 goals and 59 points in 81 games as a rookie in 2013-14. He works hard at both ends, kills penalties, blocks shots and can play the power play. He's been an alternate captain the past two seasons.

Joe Pavelski, C, San Jose Sharks (2003, seventh round, No. 205): The Wisconsin native was starring for Waterloo in the United States Hockey League when he was drafted by the Sharks. Now in his 10th season, San Jose's captain has had at least 37 goals and 70 points in three straight seasons. Pavelski played in the NHL All-Star Game and Stanley Cup Final for the first time this season. He's solid on faceoffs, can play anywhere on the top three lines, and is one of the best in the League at getting to the net in the offensive zone and deflecting pucks for goals.

Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville Predators (2004, eighth round, No. 258): Rinne was the 30th goalie selected in the 2004 draft and the second from Finland after Karri Ramo was picked by the Lightning in the sixth round (No. 191). Rinne's 447 games played are more than any goalie drafted in 2004. He has played in the NHL All-Star Game twice, has been a Vezina Trophy finalist three times and has won 30 or more games five times in eight full seasons.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.