Being the first is always a big responsibility, especially when it comes to the world-famous league. Not all players managed to live up to the expectations. Many could not stand the criticism. Let’s see how the careers of No. 1 NHL draft picks have gone nowhere.
Rick DiPietro (the New York Islanders, 2000)
Failure was associated with this player from the very beginning. He had persistent health problems due to injuries. As a result, DiPietro played only 50 games per season. Besides, he signed a contract for the sum of about 67 million dollars, which he was supposed to earn in 15 years. Being desperate, the guy even thought about suicide. He stayed in the NHL for only ten years, after which he ended his career.
Nail Yakupov (the Edmonton Oilers, 2012)
The Oilers for three consecutive years had the right to make a first choice (from 2010 to 2012). They were most lucky with two players – Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but with the third one, they made a mistake. Yakupov spent four seasons with the Oilers. His best result was 33 points.
Then he moved to the Colorado Avalanch, where after a good start, he failed again. After that, Yakupov moved to the KHL, where he played well in the first season for CSKA. However, after a while, he seemed to lose his momentum again. This summer, he has been transferred twice already.
Patrick Stefan (the Atlanta Thrashers, 1999)
The Thrashers made the first choice as a new club, but the lack of experience played Old Harry with them. Stefan spent seven seasons and is notoriously known for the fact that he could not score a goal in the opponent’s empty cage in the last seconds of the game. He ended his career in the KHL, playing for a Swiss club.
Now you see how easily the careers of No. 1 NHL draft picks have gone nowhere.
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