Looking at top modern NHL draft busts

Biggest Modern NHL Draft Busts: 2012 Was A Nightmare

The NHL Draft is where 32 teams pin their future on a crop of 17-18-year-old kids. That's about two years younger than NBA draftees and three years younger than NFL draftees.

Just like Forest Gump and his box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get from a draft. But in the NHL, that concept is even more clear. Busts are prevalent but here are the top modern busts in the NHL.

For this, I'm only going back to the 2000 draft and I'm only looking at the top three picks from those years. 

Nail Yakupov - 2012 First Overall

There was a lot of hype thrown on Nail Yakupov. The Sarnia Sting product was going to light the league with his shot and offensive ability. 

But outside of a rookie season where the Yak scored 17 goals and 31 points in 48 games, a pace of 53 points over a full season, he never came close to that again.

By 2018, he was back in Russia playing in the KHL. Yakupov had an excellent shot but his sub-par skating and lack of desire to improve the other aspects of his game sent his NHL career spiraling. But he's got a Russian championship to his name so it's not all bad on the Yak front. 

The 2012 Draft - All Three Picks

The 2012 draft is the worst in the modern era. As you know, Yak was the first pick in that draft, but the next two weren't much better. 

Number two, Ryan Murray, was drafted by Columbus and was meant to be a controlling defenseman in his own end. He was not. And still isn't. Last year Murray averaged just over 13 minutes of ice time per game for an Oilers side that desperately needs solid defenseman.  

Alex Galchenyuk was taken number three by Montreal. By 2015-16 things looked to be going well for the Sarnia Sting player when he scored 30 goals and 56 points. But things started slipping and now he's on his seventh team, scoring 0 points in 11 games for the Avs, out of contract, and not likely to get another one. 

I know I said I'm only looking at picks 1 through 3, but don't forget about number four Griffin Reinhart who played a total of 37 NHL games. 

Cam Barker - 2004 Third Overall

Drafted third overall after Washington took Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh took Evgeni Malkin. Barker was supposed to be a controlling top-pair defenseman. But Barker never averaged more than 19:20 minutes of ice time in a single season. That was his sophomore year and put up -12 +/- in 35 games.

Barker spent most of his North American career in the AHL. Not ideal for a third-overall pick. Thought I suppose the Hawks won't mind with their three Cups and all.

Alex Svitov - 2001 Third Overall

We're going back pretty far here to the 2001 draft where the Tampa Bay Lightning took big center Alex Svitov.

The Russian player made the trek to North America for the 2002-03 season. He lit up the AHL with nine points in 11 games but he could never match that success in the NHL. And well, he knew it and by 2007 he decided to stay in Russia even though he had a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Rick DiPietro - 2000 First Overall

I'm sure Rick is tired of seeing his name come up in these lists. But being the second goalie to be drafted first overall, getting a monster 15-year $67.5 million contract from the Islanders and having that contract bought out in 2013 because he couldn't play anymore (breathe) justifies his inclusion.

But look, if not for injuries, Rick may have been that guy the Isles wanted. In DiPietro's first season after that monster deal, he averaged a 0.919 SV% and 2.58 GAA in 62 games. And finished 8th in Vezina voting. Don't forget a 0.911 SV% and 2.36 GAA through 50 games in 2003-04.