The 1999 NHL Entry Draft… regarded as the worst in NHL history. Here’s the scary part, draft analysts have been pulling out the ’99 term to describe this year’s rookie draft. Even hockey’s most positive analyst isn’t exactly pumped about the prospects available to the Golden Knights in their first ever Entry Draft.
This year’s draft appears to have considerably less sizzle and marquee value than each of the last two that featured the Connor McDavid versus Jack Eichel rivalry in 2015 and the Auston Matthews sweepstakes in 2016. –Bob McKenzie, TSN
Okay, fine. Its not like years past, but how bad could it possibly be?
The last time we had a draft like this, in terms of level of athletic competition was ’99… worst draft in the the history of the league -Pierre McQuire, TSN 690
Oh God, he did it, he said ’99, it’s got to be that bad. Only 16 first round draft picks in ’99 played a total of 82 games. In 1998, 23 out 27, and in 2000, 21 of 30 first-rounders skated for a minimum of 82 games. Sure, we’ve been touting ‘Number one Nolan‘ and ‘Nico the Knight‘ but after ’99, anything is possible. Scouts could easily be wrong on Patrick and Hischier. Analysts are expecting so little, Vegas should feel lucky to be in the mix for two potential goal scorers. If June’s amateur draft is anything like 18 years ago, Vegas should start focusing on 2018’s draft. You think the hockey world is being too dramatic? Here, remind yourself of the negative impact the ’99 draft had.
1999: Top Ten breakdown
1 – Patrik Stefan/Center – Atlanta
Stefan is considered as one of the biggest busts in NHL history. He was also Atlanta’s first selection in franchise history. In 414 games with the Thrashers, the Czech scored 59 goals, 177 points and a rating of -41. With numbers like that you’d only assume he played better on his next team right? Wrong. In one year with Dallas, Stefan scored 5 goals and 6 assists. After that season, Stefan was out of the league.
Stars fans NHL fans best remember Stefan by his missed breakaway open-netter. Maybe what’s worse about Atlanta drafting Stefan was their overall ’99 draft. The Thrashers second pick Luke Sellars was ranked the worst #30th pick in NHL history by NHL.com. Oh, and NHL.com also ranked Stefan the worst number one overall pick, but we hammered Stefan enough. All 11 picks were out of the NHL the same year pro hockey left Atlanta. That fact alone is why some doubters still object a team in Las Vegas. A couple promising picks from this year’s crumby draft and the Golden Knights will be satisfied.
What could I possibly write? Without the twins, this draft could be ranked one of the worst drafts in any sport.
4 – Pavel Brendl/Forward- Rangers
Another disappointing pick, Brendl played a total of 78 NHL games. The Rangers gave up on him before he even touched MSG. However, Brendl gave Ranger fans something to cheer about as he was part of the trade that brought Eric Lindros to New York.
5 – Tim Connolly/Center- Islanders
Scored 131 career goals in 697 career games.
6 – Brian Finley/Goalie- Nashville
Played four career NHL games.
7 – Kris Beech/Center- Washington
Well, I guess we can’t discuss the 1999 draft without bringing up McPhee’s disappointing first round choice. Beech’s 25 career goals was certainly a disappointment, but not to McPhee. The current Golden Knights GM traded Beech along with other assets to acquire Jaromir Jagr in 2001. McPhee made up for a bad pick in a big way (even if Jagr didn’t really work out in D.C.). Beech was properly profiled on the website the Bum Blog. The former Penquin was ranked one of the biggest bums in team history. So Beech is Pittsburgh’s bum not McPhee’s bum. In fact, it should make us feel better the Vegas GM cut the chord at the right time. If our first round pick gets sent packing in a couple of years, he must be a bum.
8 – Taylor Pyatt/Forward- Islanders
Scored 140 career in 859 NHL games.
9 – Jamie Lundmark/Center- Rangers
Scored 99 career points in 295 NHL games.
10 – Branislav Mezei/Defense- Islanders
Scored five career goals in 240 NHL games.
Notable players: The good players.
The 1999 draft was a disappointment for most teams. What makes it stand out is the negative impact it had on the the teams selecting the first ten picks. Out of six teams that drafted the first ten players, five wound up back in the top ten in 2000. Continuing on to two teams drafted top ten in 2001, two in 2002, two in 2003, two in 2004 and one in 2005. The impact hurt teams for almost a decade. Worst of all, Atlanta was one of those teams drafting top ten from 1999-2005.
Atlanta’s lowest pick was in 2006 with selection #16 and that was a trade down from #8. Some argue that first draft of 1999 hurt Atlanta so much the franchise couldn’t dig out from underneath. In the team’s 12 season history, only twice did they draft out of the top ten.
The Thrashers poor drafting from the start had an obvious impact towards their future. They could never get out from the basement and before Atlanta knew it, it was too late. Six times they drafted a top five prospect, and nine times they selected in the top ten.
For the doubters out there, they’ll blame Atlanta, the city. Really all you need to do is look back at their draft history. Atlanta, like Vegas was mocked as a city undeserving of an NHL team. What pessimists don’t realize is poor management can ruin a team in any city. The Golden Knights are aware of the draft’s weak potential and likely won’t go all out in year one. It’s a city that will sustain years of promising growth, Atlanta never had that. Plus, McPhee learned from that horrid draft of 1999, he turned his lemon into Jaromir Jagr.