GWMHL

The 4 Most Hilarious Top-5 Picks of All Time

In SAL, SCA, Special Features, VAN on August 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Hindsight is nature’s best talent scout.

Sure, some consensus picks fail to live up to expectations. Others have careers derailed by injuries. But not everyone can turn to those excuses when they look back at their wacky, off-the-board picks. Today we look at four spectacular examples of teams who took a flyer on a player in a coveted top-five slot… and lost in a way that leaves you shaking your head.

4. Kristian Huselius, drafted 3rd overall by Vancouver, 2002

Kristian Huselius is still playing and still contributing offense. As a matter of fact, he broke the 100-point barrier in ’07-’08 – though not for the team who drafted him – and is enjoyed a strong 2011 postseason with Salem, with 20 points in 16 games.

But Huselius stands out as a hilarious draft pick because of the company he kept in his draft class. In 2002, the Vancouver Sea Otters had the third overall pick. Drafted immediately before their turn at the podium? Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk. At 4th? Pavel Datsyuk. The city of Vancouver would like that one back.

Year   Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
02-03  Vancouver Sea Otters       79   21   14   35  -10   28
03-04  Vancouver Sea Otters       78   28   21   49    7   20
04-06  Vancouver Sea Otters       44    1    2    3   -4   18
04-06  Montreal Smashers           9    1    1    2   -3    0
06-07  Salem Wannbees             78   22   20   42  -12   26
07-08  Salem Wannabees            81   50   51  101   63   24
08-09  Salem Wannabees            80   20   17   37    0   14
09-10  Salem Wannabees            37    8   12   20    7   18
10-11  Salem Wannabees            68   17   33   50   14   38
                  Totals         554  168  171  339   62  186

3. Vladimir Malakhov, drafted 4th overall by New York Islanders, 1993

Like Huselius, Vladimir Malakhov had a few years as a solid player, but he never came close to the career-high 64 points he racked up in his rookie season. His career numbers are pretty good… for a second rounder.

History has been particularly unkind to Malakhov. The Islanders picked him right before another young defender went in the ’93 draft: some obscure guy named Scott Niedermayer.

Year   Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
93-94  NY Islanders               72   16   48   64  -16   65
94-95  NY Islanders               65    5   37   42  -19  119
95-96  NY Islanders               62    5   34   39    3  109
96-97  NY Islanders               27    1    5    6   -9   46
97-98  Richelieu Cardinals        67    8   16   24    4  104
98-99  Richelieu Cardinals        76    8   21   29   -8   92
99-00  Richelieu Cardinals        61    8   25   33    5  106
00-01  Richelieu Cardinals        20    1   10   11    6   14
01-02  Did Not Play
02-03  Chesapeake Icebreakers     82    6   17   23    5  135
03-04  Chesapeake Icebreakers     70    2   14   16   -4   62
04-06  South Park Cows            25    2    6    8    4   34
                  Totals         627   62  233  295  -29  886

2. Petr Sykora, drafted 1st overall by Columbus, 1996

Few players have been as enigmatic as Petr Sykora. He’s had the odd strong season, but his career stats are littered with sub-30-point efforts. But what makes the talented Czech winger a hilarious pick is that he was taken first overall in 1996 – a draft class that saw, among others, Daniel Alfredsson, Saku Koivu, Todd Bertuzzi, and Ed Jovanovski find their first homes in the GWMHL.

Year   Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
96-97  Colombus Owls              65   15   22   37  -30   34
97-98  Chicago Wolves             21    0    2    2   -4    4
98-99  South Carolina Fire Ants   50    9   14   23  -13   16
99-00  South Carolina Fire Ants   82   31   38   69   10   38
00-01  South Carolina Fire Ants   57    8   14   22    9   18
01-02  South Carolina Fire Ants   72   13   11   24   -1   32
02-03  South Carolina Fire Ants   73   10   14   24   10   44
03-04  South Carolina Fire Ants   62   13    8   21   -9   18
04-06  South Carolina Fire Ants   62   10    6   16   -1   14
06-07  South Carolina Fire Ants   57    7    6   13  -10   10
07-08  South Carolina Fire Ants   82   15   18   33    1   42
08-09  South Carolina Fire Ants   78   32   32   64    8   35
09-10  South Carolina Fire Ants   76   21   12   33   -7   52
                  Totals         837  184  197  381  -37  357


1. Todd Harvey, drafted 4th overall by New York Islanders, 1995

Todd Harvey tops our list simply because he never even sniffed success. Now, 1995 wasn’t a great year for draftees (the Isles missed out on the likes of Jim Carey and Radek Bonk when they went with Harvey – so, yeah).

But the fact remains – Harvey had one sort-of-okay 35-game season with the expansion Vancouver Sea Otters. The Otters had taken him first overall in the ’99 expansion draft, meaning he has the rare distinction of a massive bust to whom two franchises pinned all their hopes.

Year   TM Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
95-96  10 NY Islanders               59    4    5    9   -8   86
96-97  10 NY Islanders               49    6    7   13  -18  111
97-98  10 South Carolina Fire Ants   40    1    1    2    1   96
98-99  10 South Carolina Fire Ants   34    2    0    2   -5   73
99-00  20 Vancouver Sea Otters       35   11   14   25    3   56
00-01  20 Vancouver Sea Otters       54    3    2    5   -1   88
01-02  20 Vancouver Sea Otters       67   11    5   16  -15   59
02-03  20 Vancouver Sea Otters       54    6    9   15  -10   62
                     Totals         392   44   43   87  -53  631
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