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Hits and Misses by Pacific Division Teams

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks

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Sharks Draft Central

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If there's one lesson recent Stanley Cup winners have taught the teams trying to dethrone them, it's the value of building from within. The core of championship teams continues to be players who are drafted and developed by that franchise.

But finding the right talent isn't always easy. Every team has had its ups and downs since the draft began in 1963. Here's a look at the hits (and some of the misses) for the five teams in the Pacific Division on Draft Day.


Best first-round pick: Paul Kariya (1993) -- The Anaheim Ducks were ecstatic when Kariya fell to them at the No. 4 pick in the first draft in franchise history. He turned pro in 1994 and was a 50-goal scorer in 1995-96, his second season. Kariya left the Ducks in the summer of 2003 after leading them within one victory of the franchise's first Stanley Cup, but never scored anywhere else the way he did in Anaheim.

Honorable mention: Joffrey Lupul (2002), Ryan Getzlaf (2003), Corey Perry (2003), Bobby Ryan (2005)

Best pick, rounds 2-4: Ilya Bryzgalov (2000) -- The Ducks picked Bryzgalov from Lada Togliatti in Russia with their second-round pick 13 years ago and he became an effective backup behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the 2007 Stanley Cup-winning team. The Phoenix Coyotes claimed him on waivers in 2007 and he led them to back-to-back playoff berths before signing with the Philadelphia Flyers in the summer of 2011. He'll be a free agent again this summer as the Flyers announced they'll buy out the final seven years of his contract. While he had two up-and-down seasons with the Flyers, at his best he's still among the NHL's top stoppers.

Honorable mention: Matt Cullen (1996), Jordan Leopold (1999)

Best later-round pick: Trent Hunter (1998) -- Hunter had a fine career for a sixth-round pick -- though not for the Ducks, who dealt him to the New York Islanders for a fourth-rounder in 2000. Hunter had 25 goals and 51 points as a rookie in 2003-04 and was a solid two-way player on Long Island before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Kings.

Honorable mention: Martin Gerber and PA Parenteau (2001), Shane O'Brien (2003)

Biggest disappointment: Stanislav Chistov (2001) -- The Ducks selected Chistov with the fifth pick in the 2001 NHL Draft and brought him to North America for the 2002-03 season amid high expectations that never panned out. After totaling 12 goals and 30 points as a rookie, he slipped to two goals and 18 points in 2003-04 before being sent to the Ducks' American Hockey League affiliate in Cincinnati. Chistov went home to Russia for the 2005-06 season, came back to North America the following season, and was traded to Boston early in 2006-07. Chistov went home for good after totaling five goals and eight assists in 60 games with Boston; he has spent the past five seasons in the KHL.


Best first-round pick: Mike Modano (1988) -- The Stars, then based in Minnesota, took Modano with the first pick after a 47-goal, 127-point season with Prince Albert of the Western Hockey League in 1987-88. He put up 105 points in 41 games with the Raiders the following season, then turned pro and became the face of the franchise. Modano's 561 goals and 1,374 points are the most by any U.S.-born player in NHL history. The Michigan native played one final season with the Detroit Red Wings in 2010-11.

Honorable mention: Brian Bellows (1982), Derian Hatcher (1990), Jarome Iginla (1995), Brenden Morrow (1997)

Best pick, rounds 2-4: Jere Lehtinen (1992) -- The North Stars used a fourth-round pick in their final draft in Minnesota on Lehtinen, a forward who had scored 32 goals in 43 games in Finland's second division. Lehtinen never became a huge offensive producer in the NHL, but he won the Selke Trophy as the League's best defensive forward three times and had 20 or more goals seven times -- 30 or more twice. He was plagued by injuries during his final seasons and retired in 2010.

Honorable mention: Neal Broten (1979), Jamie Langenbrunner (1993)

Best later-round pick: Marty Turco (1994) -- The Stars took a flyer on Turco and were rewarded for their patience. A fifth-round choice in 1994, the Stars didn't bring him to the NHL until 2000-01, after he had spent four seasons at the University of Michigan and two more in the minors. Turco then spent two more seasons backing up Ed Belfour before earning the starting job in 2002-03. In his nine seasons with the Stars, he had as many seasons with a goals-against average under 2.00 (three) as over 2.50.

Honorable mention: Arturs Irbe (1989), Roman Turek (1990), Jussi Jokinen (2001), Jamie Benn (2007)

Biggest disappointment: Jason Botterill (1994) -- Botterill was expected to develop into a star after Dallas drafted him with the No. 20 pick following an excellent freshman season at the University of Michigan. He added to those expectations with 32- and 37-goal seasons for the Wolverines (he was a teammate of Turco) before turning pro. But the scoring touch Botterill showed in college didn't translate to the NHL. He managed five goals in 88 games during parts of six NHL seasons with four franchises before retiring in 2004.


Best first-round pick: Larry Murphy (1980) -- Murphy was the best offensive-minded defenseman in Los Angeles Kings history almost from the moment he stepped onto the ice after being chosen with the fourth pick in the 1980 draft. He had 16 goals and 76 points as a rookie in 1980-81, 22 goals in his second season and 14 goals in his third. But after a slow start in 1983-84, the Kings traded him to the Washington Capitals. He kept piling up the points wherever he went, becoming a key part of two Cup-winning teams each with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings in the 1990s before retiring with 287 goals and 1,216 points on the way to the Hall of Fame.

Honorable mention: Olli Jokinen (1997), Anze Kopitar (2005), Drew Doughty (2008)

Best pick, rounds 2-4: Rob Blake (1988) -- Little did the Kings know they were getting one of the best defensemen in franchise history when they used the 70th pick in 1988 on a college defenseman from Bowling Green. Blake became an NHL regular in 1990 and went on to total 240 goals and 777 points in 1,240 games, mostly with the Kings -- though he won his only Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001. He finished his career in 2009-10 as captain of the San Jose Sharks.

Honorable mention: Mike Cammalleri (2001), Jonathan Quick (2005)

Best later-round pick: Luc Robitaille (1984) -- Robitaille is the patron saint of low-round draft choices. He filled the net as a junior while playing for Hull in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but wasn't taken until the ninth round (five rounds after the Kings selected future baseball Hall of Famer Tom Glavine). Much to everyone's surprise, Robitaille scored in the NHL just as he had in the QMJHL -- he had 44 or more goals in each of his first eight seasons before being traded by the Kings in 1994. Robitaille returned to Los Angeles three years later and had three more seasons of between 36 and 39 goals. He went to Detroit for two seasons (including a Cup win in 2002), and made a third appearance in Los Angeles before retiring in 2006 with 668 goals and 1,394 points, still the most by a left wing. He never got a Cup in L.A. as a player, but did earn one last spring as their president of business operations.

Honorable mention: Billy Smith (1970), Cristobal Huet (2001)

Biggest disappointment: Jens Karlsson (2001) -- The Kings took Karlsson, a big right wing, with the 18th pick, but he never came to North America. Karlsson spent six full seasons in the Swedish Elite League, then three seasons at the next level down, mixed in with time in Germany and Denmark. He returned to the SEL in 2009-10 but dropped a level in 2010-11 -- though he put up a career-high 22 goals with Boras and had 23 points in 50 games in 2011-12. He played in Sweden and Norway in 2012-13.


Best first-round pick: Teemu Selanne (1988) -- The Winnipeg Jets had to wait four years for Selanne to move from Finland to North America. But when he did, it was memorable. Selanne shattered NHL rookie records with 76 goals and 132 points in 1992-93. He never got close to those totals again and was traded in 1996, but he's continued to pile up goals and points; he had 26 goals and a team-high 66 points for the Anaheim Ducks in 2011-12, playing all 82 games as a 41-year-old, and added 12 goals and 24 points in 46 games this season. His 675 goals and 1,430 points are the most ever by a Finnish-born player. He's debating whether to come back for another season.

Honorable mention: Dale Hawerchuk (1981), Keith Tkachuk (1990), Shane Doan (1995), Danny Briere (1996)

Best pick, rounds 2-4: Teppo Numminen (1986) -- Numminen wasn't flashy, he just showed up for work every night and did his job, beginning when he arrived in the NHL as a 20-year-old defenseman in 1988. He kept at it through his 15 seasons with the Jets/Coyotes, and played in three NHL All-Star Games. He was traded to the Dallas Stars in the summer of 2003 and signed with the Buffalo Sabres a season later. He retired after the 2008-09 season having played 1,372 NHL games.

Honorable mention: Dave Christian (1979), Alexei Zhamnov (1990), Keith Yandle (2005)

Best later-round pick: Nikolai Khabibulin (1992) -- The Jets took Khabibulin in the ninth round of the 1992 draft, and three years later he was their starting goaltender. Khabibulin won 30 or more games in each of the franchise's first three seasons in Phoenix, but he enjoyed more success after being dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2001, helping the franchise win the Stanley Cup in 2004. He signed with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2005, and after backstopping them to the Western Conference Final in 2009, he signed that summer as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers.

Honorable mention: Thomas Steen (1979), Igor Ulanov (1991)

Biggest disappointment: Scott Kelman (1999) -- Phoenix took Kelman with the 15th pick in 1999 but never brought him to the NHL. He played with 12 teams in four leagues on two continents after turning pro in 2002, but none of them were the NHL -- not exactly what the Coyotes were counting on from a mid-first rounder.


Best first-round pick: Patrick Marleau (1997) -- The San Jose Sharks' all-time leading scorer has spent every day of his pro hockey career in teal and has been a consistent producer -- though perhaps not at the level some fans might have expected from the second player taken in his draft year. Marleau has excelled in his five seasons under coach Todd McLellan, scoring a career-high 38 goals in 2008-09, topping that with 44 in 2009-10, adding 37 in 2010-11 and 30 in 2012-13. His 17 goals this past season made him the first player in franchise history to score 400 times as a Shark.

Honorable mention: Jeff Friesen (1994), Brad Stuart (1998), Milan Michalek (2003), Logan Couture (2007)

Best pick, rounds 2-4: Ray Whitney (1991) -- The one-time stick boy for the Edmonton Oilers was the second player ever selected by the Sharks, and has long since outlasted first-round pick Pat Falloon. Whitney is a late bloomer who didn't really come into his own in San Jose; he never scored 20 goals with the Sharks, but has done it 10 times since leaving in 1997. Whitney was a Second-Team All-Star with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2011-12, and put up 11 goals and 29 points in 32 games with the Dallas Stars this past season. He turned 41 last month, but will be expected to play a significant role with the Stars in 2013-14.

Honorable mention: Christian Ehrhoff (2001), Matthew Carle (2003), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (2005)

Best later-round pick: Evgeni Nabokov (1994) -- The Sharks found a gem 19 years ago when they spent a ninth-round pick on Nabokov, a young goaltender playing in Russia. He came to North America in 1997, spent two seasons in the American Hockey League and has been an NHL regular since 2000-01, when he won the Calder Trophy. Nabokov outlasted challenges from Miikka Kiprusoff and Vesa Toskala, finally becoming the undisputed starter in San Jose in 2007 and winning 131 games in his last three seasons before leaving as a free agent in 2010. After playing in Russia in 2010-11, he returned to the NHL with the New York Islanders and led them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2012-13.

Honorable mention: Miikka Kiprusoff (1995), Ryane Clowe (2001), Joe Pavelski (2003)

Biggest disappointment: Teemu Riihijarvi (1995) -- The Sharks chose the Finnish left wing with the 12th pick in the 1995 draft, but he never came to North America. Riihijarvi continued to play in Finland until 2003, spent two seasons in Sweden, and then retired after five games back in his home country in 2005-06. Riihijarvi never scored more than eight goals or 18 points in any season.

By John Kreiser - Columnist
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