The Class of '99

I was in the newsroom Sunday night chatting with noted Islander mouthpiece Jon Palmieri about the turnover by Dallas' Patrik Stefan that led to Edmonton tying the score with two seconds left on a play that will forever be seen on the Internet and blooper reels forever.

"That's why he's Patrik Stefan!" Palmieri said.

But then we got to talking about the first round of the Class of 1999, of which Stefan was the top overall pick. Seven years later, it shapes up as one of the worst opening rounds in NHL draft history.

1. PATRIK STEFAN, Atlanta: Never scored more than 14 goals or had more than 41 points in six seasons with the Thrashers ... Atlanta finally gave up on him, sending Stefan to Dallas in June with Jaroslav Modry for Niko Kapanen and a draft pick.

2. DANIEL SEDIN, Vancouver: Left wing who keeps showing steady improvement since 2003 ... is on pace to set career-highs with 31 goals and 78 points ... needs one goal for 100 in his career.

3. HENRIK SEDIN, Vancouver: Solid center, though not quite as talented as his twin brother ... should easily surpass the career-high 57 assists he had last season ... nearly 43 percent of his 196 career assists have come on the power play.

4. PAVEL BRENDL, N.Y. Rangers: The biggest bust of the first round ... like Stefan, another Czech native who never panned out ... scored 73 goals in 1998-99 with Calgary of the Western Hockey League, but never tallied more than five in any NHL season ... also played with Philadelphia and Phoenix.

5. TIM CONNOLLY, N.Y. Islanders: Acquired by Buffalo with Taylor Pyatt for Michael Peca in 2001 ... promising career slowed by concussions that sidelined him for all of 2003-04 season and all of this campaign.

6. BRIAN FINLEY, Nashville: Has yet to win in four career NHL appearances ... gave up 10 goals in two games over two seasons with Nashville ... signed with Boston as a free-agent in July 2006.

7. KRIS BEECH, Washington: He'll forever be known as a player involved in the 2001 trade that brought Jaromir Jagr to the Capitals ... reacquired by Washington in March from Nashville for Brendan Witt and a future first-round pick.

8. TAYLOR PYATT, N.Y. Islanders: Had a career-high 14 goals and 28 points with Buffalo in 2002-03 ... has nine goals, including five on the power play, and 15 points in 39 games with Vancouver this season.

9. JAMIE LUNDMARK, N.Y. Rangers: Had eight goals and 19 points in 55 games as a rookie in 2002-03, but never fulfilled any promise ... also spent time with Phoenix and Calgary, where he currently is a fourth-line center with four assists in 36 games.

10. BRANISLAV MEZEI, N.Y. Islanders: A 6-foot-5 tripod, or a modern-day Willie Huber ... hasn't scored a goal since Jan. 1, 2003 -- one of three in his career ... acquired by Florida in 2002 for Jason Wiemer ("I call that a wash," Palmieri chimes in.)

11. OLEG SAPRYKIN, Calgary: Picked up by Phoenix in trade for Daymond Langkow in 2004 ... servicable left wing who's tied for third in scoring on the Coyotes ... should eclipse career highs of 12 goals and 17 assists.

12. DENIS SHVIDKI, Florida: Has not played in the NHL since a two-game stint with the Panthers in 2003-04 ... has 11 goals and 14 assists in 76 career games over four seasons.

13. JANI RITA, Edmonton: Traded to Pittsburgh in January 2006 with Cory Cross for Dick Tarnstrom ... signed with Finland's Jokerit in May ... managed nine goals and 14 points in 66 games over four seasons with Oilers and Penguins.

14. JEFF JILLSON, San Jose: Now with the Sabres after playing with Sharks and Bruins ... grand total of nine goals in 140 career games.

15. SCOTT KELMAN, Phoenix: Invited to training camp by the Panthers in 2002 ... became unrestricted freee agent in 2005 ... now in the Hurricanes' system and has yet to appear in an NHL game.

16. DAVID TANABE, Carolina: Another player who's bounced around ... dealt to Boston, who later traded him to Phoenix ... rejoined Carolina this season and has five assists in 22 games ... has 99 points in 393 career games.

17. BARRET JACKMAN, St. Louis: Undersized 6-foot defenseman ... has 414 career penalty minutes to go with his 38 career points in 190 games, all with the Blues.

18. KONSTANTIN KOLTSOV, Pittsburgh: The last Penguins player to weat No. 71 before Evgeni Malkin ... posted 12 goals in 144 games over three seasons with Pittsburgh and wasn't given a new contract in July ... is a minus-42 for his career.

19. KIRILL SAFRONOV, Phoenix: Traded to Atlanta in 2002 and then to Nashville in 2003 ... hasn't played an NHL game since April 2003

20. BARRETT HEISTEN, Buffalo: Signed as a free-agent with the Rangers in June 2001, appeared in 10 games with the Blueshirts and was later dealt to Dallas ... also spent a season with the Islanders.

21. NICK BOYNTON, Boston: Now with Phoenix, but out with a broken foot ... injury prone defenseman also has missed time with a broken kneecap and shoulder surgery.

22. MAXIME OUELLET, Philadelphia: Posted a 2-6-1 record with a shutout and 3.08 goals-against average in 12 games with Flyers, Capitals and Canucks.

23. STEVE McCARTHY, Chicago: Had his best season a year ago with Thrashers when he scored seven goals in 16 games after being acquired from Canucks ... had three goals in five seasons with Chicago.

24. LUCA CEREDA, Toronto: Had open-heart surgery in September 2000 -- six weeks after signing a $2.6 million, three-year contract ... has never played in an NHL game.

25. MIKHAIL KULESHOV, Colorado: Played three games with Avalanche in 2003-04 and was minus-1 ... became an unrestricted free agent after that season.

26. MARTIN HAVLAT, Ottawa: The best player to come out of this round ... goal and assist totals increased each of his first four seasons with Ottawa before shoulder surgery limited him to 18 games last season ... traded to Chicago in July and leads Blackhawks in scoring this season.

27. ARI AHONEN, New Jersey: With Martin Brodeur in net, no room for Ahonen ... was recalled from minors six times but never appeared in game ... was granted unrestricted free agency in July 2006.

28. KRISTIAN KUDROC, N.Y. Islanders: Never played for the Isles, was later dealt to the Lightning with whom he had his only two career goals and assists ... last seen with Panthers in 2003-04, became an unrestricted free agent after that season.


Anonymous said...

A little harsh on #17, Igor. Won the Calder, if I recall correctly.

"Igor" said...

Someone had to win it ... by and large, and unexciting group.