Is 5 first-rounders worth a big name RFA – A historical perspective

Consider someone like Jerome Iginla or Jose Theodore. From a historical perspective is 5 first rounders too much to give up for this kind of player.I have researched some recent draft history of a few clubs who could possibly afford to even sign these players. I have not considered 2001 and 2002 first round picks as we really have no idea in most cases how they will turn out.

I cannot vouch for 100% accuracy, I may have missed a pick here or there, got a pick number wrong, or listed something out of order… please do not crucify me for this!

If your team is not here there are places you can find draft history for all teams… search the net, I am not posting links here πŸ™‚

Do we think it’s worth it? Here how some teams have fared. Bracketed numbers are the position they were selected overall


1997 (16) Ty Jones

1998 (8) Mark Bell

1999 (23) Steve McCarthy

2000 (10) Mikhail Yakoubov

2000 (11) Pavel Vorobiev

* They also took Clearly first round 1997 and Nabokov frist round 1995!


1996 (25) Mikhail Kuleshov

1998 (12) Alex Tanguay

1998 (17) Martin Skoula

1998 (19) Robyn Regehr

2000 (14) Vaclav Nedorost


1993 (9) Todd Harvey

1994 (20) Jason Botterill

1996 (5)Richard Jackman

1997 (25) Brenden Morrow

2000 (25) Steve Ott

* Jerome Iginla 11th in 1995 is not included


1994 (23) Yan, Golubovsky

1995 (26) Maxim Kuznetsov

1996 (26) Jesse Wallin

1998 (25) Jiri Fischer

2000 (29) Niklas Kronwall

Los Angeles

1995 (3) Aki Berg

1997 (4) Olli Jokinen

1997 (15) Matt Zultek

1998 (21) Mathieu Biron

2000 (20) Alexander Frolov

New York Rangers

1994 (26) Dan Cloutier

1996 (22) Jeff Brown

1998 (7) Manny Malhotra

1999 (4) Pavel Brendl

1999 (9) Jamie Lundmark


1995 (22) Brian Boucher

1996 (15) Dainius Zubrus

1998 (22) Simon Gagne

1999 (22) Maxime Oullet

2000 (28) Justin Williams

St. Louis

1989 (9) 1989 Jason Marshall

1996 (14)Reasoner

1998 (24) Christian Backman

1999 (17) Barret Jackman

2000 (30) Jeff Taffe

* Is it true they had that many years with no first rounders?


1994 (16) Eric Fichaud

1995 (15) Jeff Ware

1998 (10) Nik Antropov

1999 (24) Luca Cereda

2000 (24) Brad Boyes

Seems to me If I was any one of those teams except maybe Colorado and Philadelphia my past drafting history suggest it IS worth it to give up 5 first rounders for Iginla. As a side note, Philaddelphia looks like the strongest drafting team!

38 Responses to Is 5 first-rounders worth a big name RFA – A historical perspective

  1. amok says:

    St. Louis went so many years without a pick because they had to fork over five first rounders to Washington after signing Scott Stevens.

    If Philly lost those players to sign a star, it would almost be as bad as the Lindros trade.

  2. Glen says:

    Toronto surely knows how to pick with the best of em. I foegot about Eric Fichaud. What a winner he is!!!

  3. SabresFanB says:

    Here are the Sabres picks for the last 5 years

    2000- 15 Artem Kriukov

    1999- 20 F Barrett Heisten

    1998- 18 D Dmitri Kalinin

    1997- 21 G Mika Noronen

    1996- 7 C Erik Rasmussen

    Now I look at these picks and I see one, Mika Noronen, who will probably have a good career in the NHL. Our last “real good” draft pick was in 1987 when we got Turgeon. And McKee in 1995 was a pretty good one too. The Sabres really suck and drafting people. I am looking at some of these names that we picked in the first round and I never even heard of them.

  4. chewy says:

    Leafs mentality at the draft table amazes me, I am surprised they have not pulled a Calgary Stampeders(Canadian Football League) and draft a player that was deceased!!, They did it twice in the same draft. The Leafs don’t have a clue, other then Boyes you have no one!!!

  5. amok says:

    Er, I should have mentioned that it would be as bad as the first Lindros trade.

  6. amok says:

    The Stampeders drafted a dead guy?!?

    Well, I’ll bet that the Lions called them up later in the day offering to trade for him.

  7. Robert says:

    indeed 5 1st rounders aint much in tbhe leafs case///

    I started a yahoo fantasy league for HTR and WOW hockey. A couple of my friends from here are planning on signing up and who ever is interested is welcomed, it a small draft, just for fun.

    LEAGUE ID: 4436

    PASSWORD: htr

    Also i was wondering when you guys would be collecting the money for this sites league?

  8. saksfan says:

    You haven’t heard of Erik Rasmussen?? He’s a Center/Wing that played on the third line of Buffalo until he was traded to L.A. last month. He can chip in with 15-20 points each year.

    Kalinin is a young defenseman that should be a 3rd or 4th D-man in the future.

    Noronen you mentioned and Heisten is playing on the Stars’ farm team Utah and Kriukov is still playing in Europe.

  9. Brettsko says:

    The Flyers are a good example to take. When they signed Chris Gratton, Bob Clarke sent Karl Dykhuis and Mikael Renberg to the Bolts in exchange for the 4 first round picks that TB received as compensation. Luckily that trade would benefit greatly in the future:

    Chris Gratton could have cost the Flyers:

    Simon Gagne

    Justin Williams

    Maxime Ouellet

    Jeff Woywitka

    Today, I don’t think I would part with any one of those four players in return for Gratton. Of course the Flyers put together a very strong run of draft choices with their late 1st rounders.

    If you’re team sucks at drafting, go ahead and sign Iggy! πŸ™‚

  10. Freeze says:

    Interesting post!!

    It sure looks like a lot of players drafted in the first round never amount to much. Maybe that’s why Detroit didn’t hesitate to trade players and #1’s for Chelios, Shanahan, Hasek. If you run out of #1’s, just sign a high priced free agents for a third round pick. Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille turned out well for Detroit. Now Cujo comes in for another #3.

    Lots of players drafted after the first round make it to the NHL. The draft is a reflection of a team’s investment in scouting and ability to evaluate talent. The teams that continually produce NHLers from the lower rounds show that scouting is a high priority with them.

    If you can get a superstar UFA at the age of 31 for a 3rd round pick, but it costs you five #1 draft picks for a superstar that’s 25 year old, the UFA looks like a better value IF you know how to draft. If you don’t know how to draft, just sign the Theodores and Iginlas and be done with it. Take the money that you would spend on scouting and give it to the FA superstar instead. The champagne will flow a lot sooner that way.

  11. bmr128 says:

    The Isles have done a good job of drafting. The only problem is that none of these players are still on the team.

    1998 – Michael Rupp

    1997 – Roberto Luongo, Eric Brewer

    1996 – Jean-Pierre Dumont

    1995 – Wade Redden

    1994 – Brett Lindros

    1993 – Todd Bertuzzi

  12. bmr128 says:

    The Isles have done a good job of drafting. The only problem is that none of these players are still on the team.

    1998 – Michael Rupp

    1997 – Roberto Luongo, Eric Brewer

    1996 – Jean-Pierre Dumont

    1995 – Wade Redden

    1994 – Brett Lindros

    1993 – Todd Bertuzzi

  13. habs_88_4life says:


    2002:Chris Higgins

    2001:Mike Komisarek

    2000:Ron Hainsey, Marcel Hossa


    1998:Eric Chouinard

    1997:Jason Ward

    1996:Matt Higgins

    1995:Terry Ryan

    1994:Brad Brown

    1993:Saku Koivu

    1992:David Wilkie

    1991:Brent Bilodeau

    1990:Turner Stevenson

    1989:Lindsay Vallis

    1988:Eric Charron

    1987:Andrew Cassels

    1986:Mark Pederson

    1985:Jose Charbonneau, Tom Chorske

    1984:Petr Svoboda, Shayne Corson

    1983:Alfie Turcotte

    1982:Alain Heroux

    1981:Mark Hunter,Gilbert Delorme, Jan Ingman

    Definately worst of all teams

  14. Aetherial says:

    WoW, I considered adding the isles also. That is an impresive draft list. They did have the benefit of earlier picks, in general, than the teams I listed.

  15. Aetherial says:

    I bet the Leafs last 20 years looks just as bad, maybe worse πŸ™

  16. Aetherial says:

    Ack, sorry about the typos. Clearly I meant Cleary πŸ™‚

  17. habs_88_4life says:


    2002:Alexander Steen

    2001:Carlo Colaiacovo

    2000:Brad Boyes

    1999:Luca Cereda

    1998:Nik Antropov



    1995:Jeff Ware

    1994:Eric Fichaud

    1993:Kenny Jonsson, Landon Wilson

    1992:Brandon Convery, Grant Marshall


    1990:Drake Berehowsky

    1989:Scott Thornton, Rob Pearson, Steve Bancroft

    1988:Scott Pearson

    1987:Luke Richardson

    1986:Vincent Damphousse

    1985:Wendel Clark

    1984:Al Iafrate

    1983:Russ Courtnall

    1982:Gary Nylund

    1981:Jim Benning

    Pretty Bad but better than Montreal

  18. Overtime says:

    The Islanders have been bottom dweller for a long time, so their #1’s a very high picks. But hey, that’s an impressive group. A lot of other teams didn’t do anywhere near as well as that.

  19. FlyersGoCupCrazy says:

    I find it amazing……….the Flyers are “the strongets drafting team!” and they are loaded with tons of older free agent vets! Damn Clarke! Damn him to hell! lol

  20. TheRumourGod says:

    no way it is better then the Habs buddy….I see nobody on this list, and at least we have won some Cups in the last 20 years, so we must be doing something TOR aint

  21. adambuffalo says:

    I really have to disagreee with you this time. I think the Sabres have some of the best young talent in the league. Just look at the Amerks. They are always one of the best teams in the minors. You got to remember also that its not always the first rounders that become stars.

  22. pantherboy says:

    I know this is a little off topic, but my fav. draft moment was way back in ’79 I believe and the Oakland Golden Seals traded their first round pick that year to the Canadiens. Amazingly enough, the got last that year, and the Canadiens drafted Guy “Can’t Pitch A Tent” Lafluer. That and some more trades are why the beloved Seals and their all white skates (a la Oakland A’s) are not around anymore!

  23. zednik says:

    We have one of the best collections of youth in hockey today.

    Guess it shows that you can draft quality guys in the later rounds such as Theo.


  24. zednik says:

    Sam Polock is my hero,

    Ken Dryden for a 4th liner

    man what a GM


  25. amok says:

    “Nobody”? I don’t get it. How has Montreal done a better job with their first rounders? The only Montreal draft picks that really made an impact were Corson and Koivu. The Leafs did their best drafting in the early and mid 80s and got Clark, Iafrate, Courtnall, and Damphousse out of it. Maybe they’re before your time or something, but they were far better than the mostly flotsam and jetsam first rounders the Habs called out on draft day. Richardson, Marshall and Thornton have been good NHLers and Jonsson is one of the most underrated defensemen in the game.

    The only other decent players Montreal got out of the last 20 years were Chorske, Svoboda, Cassels, and Stevenson.

    Toronto has far out done the Habs in first rounders during this comparison.

  26. devilfan says:

    Did Rupp re-enter the draft because the Devils drafted a Michael Rupp in 2000?

    They also have some guys in Bridgeport that could really help out the team this year.

    Maybe Mike Milbury really hasnt done such a bad job.

  27. Kariya-09 says:

    Ill keep it plain and simple. No they’re not worth 5 first rounders.

  28. KaPluie says:

    I wouldn’t trade Fischer alone for Iginla, let alone the other four guys … plus you never know what you’ll find in the first round. You only listed nine teams. All it would take for one of those nine teams to be off the list is a good draft year. I would never give up five top picks for one great player. It would mess up the depth for sure. One player, versus five prospects that have pretty good potential if they are selected in the first round … doesn’t seem worth it to me.

  29. big_booty says:

    There is something that you are all missing here, a stipulation that heavily influences this process.

    NHL bylaws state that when a particular franchise signs a Group II restricted free agent, and the player’s current team does not match it, the team losing the player is awarded five first round draft picks. However, they must be sequential BY YEAR, and they must be the ORIGINAL PROPERTY of the team signing the player to the offer sheet.

    Therefore, any team that wants to sign an Iginla or Theodore to an offer sheet must first have in its possession its own #1 picks for the next five years in order for the offer sheet and subsequent player contract to be valid. The team may not convey another team’s #1 obtained in a trade (whether in the same year or not), nor may they skip a year if their #1 for that year had been previously traded.

    This is what discourages these types of transactions from occuring. The reason the Chris Gratton trade went down was that Philadelphia, at the time of the offer sheet, had all of its #1’s for the next five years. Fortunately, they re-acquired those picks for a couple of players who never really panned out, and eventually Gratton was traded back to the Lightning, albeit $9 million the richer.

    I’m honestly not sure which teams actually have all their first rounders for the next five years in order, but they would be the only teams that would be eligible to offer that type of deal.

    Why doesn’t Toronto try it? They’re only going to seriously screw up their draft anyway…

  30. Aetherial says:

    Interesting, I was wondering about this. Are you sure it’s true?

    I believe the leafs have their 5 still…If I was them I WOULD trade them for Iginla πŸ™‚

  31. bmr128 says:

    That is the same Rupp. Yeah, Milbury and staff did a great job of drafting. The next year they got Taylor Pyatt, Tim Connoly and Branislav Mezei in the 1st round. They all may turn out to be pretty good.

    The only problem is that Gordie Clarke was the head of scouting since Milbury started. Clarke was let go recently. It will interesting to see if that will affect their future drafting.

  32. big_booty says:

    Yeah, I’m sure. I checked it out after the whole Larry Brooks schpeil about how the Rangers should sign Iginla. The only thing I’m not sure about is if a team re-acquires its own pick that it had previously traded. I guess if it’s still “original property,” then the league won’t make a stink about it.

    That would be a good deal for the Leafs, given their drafting history. But if those picks turn out to be a gaggle of blue-chippers, the great debate begins. Look at what Tampa Bay could have had for Gratton.

  33. aaron says:

    Yeah, Toronto’s is a lot better.

  34. aaron says:

    If I were the league, I wouldn’t raise the point. I’d LET it pan out and show that the big money spending that would involve in the end hurt the team and seriously helped the franchise that got screwed.

  35. Overtime says:

    Thanks for the info. I didn’t know that.

  36. big_booty says:

    Excellent point, aaron. There would still be a system of checks and balances, but the teams would have ultimate responsibility and accountability.

    Kind of like God letting Adam and Eve screw up. Give them what they want, but let them punish themselves for being so irresponsible.

  37. big_booty says:

    That’s what I’m here for….

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