The Ottawa Senators juggernaut squads of the early 2000s were built through the draft and a recurring NHL.com feature has given them props for the best 26th pick of all-time.
Martin Havlat, Sens forward from 2000-2006, was taken with the 26th overall pick in 1999 and was voted with as the best player to be taken at that spot in the history of the Entry Draft by an NHL.com panel. Havlat recorded 235 points in 298 games with the Sens and added another 34 points in the post-season.
The Sens had great success drafting Europeans to that point in time and Havlat became more of the same. Here's the NHL.com breakdown...
The Senators had the No. 26 pick in the 1999 NHL Draft after finishing with a franchise-best 103 points and winning the Northeast Division for the first time. With a young core group in place, the Senators were able to allow Havlat to spend one more season in the Czech Republic, where he had 42 points in 46 games with Trinec. He also played for his country at the 2000 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 2000 IIHF World Championship.
Havlat made his NHL debut Oct. 5, 2000, picking up an assist in a game at the Boston Bruins, and in his fourth game, Oct. 14, 2000, scored his first goal, on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He finished his first season with 19 goals and 42 points in 73 games and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.
He raised his goal and point outputs in each of his first four seasons, topped by career bests of 31 goals and 68 points in 2003-04.
"Havlat has been a consistent offensive producer as long as he's been able to stay healthy," NHL.com columnist John Kreiser said. "He has good speed, good size, a good shot, and has always been defensively responsible. He's accomplished more -- by far -- than any first-rounder taken in this slot in the draft."
After leaving the Sens in 2006 via trade, Havlat continued to be a successful NHLer and has amassed 557 points in 700 career regular season games. He has racked up 52 points in 74 playoff games between Ottawa, Chicago and San Jose.
Above is the video explaining the Havlat selection, courtesy of NHL.com.
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