A look at 18th overall picks in NHL Draft history
As detailed in a piece earlier this week on whether or not Don Sweeney should trade the 18th overall pick in the NHL Draft, the Bruins GM’s brief history of drafting and developing players over his first two years suggests that he may indeed want to keep the pick even in a Draft that’s not considered to be a strong one by pundits.
On the flip side, the 18th overall pick isn’t anything to write home about, especially given the history of players selected in that spot.
Though some decent players have been selected at No. 18, not a single player selected 18th overall became a household name during their NHL careers.
While the jury is still out on a few recent selections, like Logan Stanley, Alex Tuch and Thomas Chabot, here’s a look at some of the notable 18th picks in NHL Draft history.
Bill Clement (1970)
A two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Flyers, Clement had three 20-goal seasons during his 12-year career. Primarily serving as a bottom-six forward, Clement tallied 356 points (148 goals, 208 assists) in 719 career games and was a two-time All-Star. His playing career also included stints with the Capitals and Flames – spending time both in Atlanta and Calgary, where he ended his career in 1981-82.
Clement is better known for his time in the broadcast booth. The Quebec native called at least one game of every Stanley Cup Final in the U.S. from 1986-2004, serving as color commentator for ESPN, SportsChannel America and ABC during that time. Following the Lockout, he served as a studio host for OLN, Versus and NBC for two seasons.
Calling games alongside the likes of Mike Emerick and Gary Thorne, it’s safe to say that Clement, who was also a color commentator for local Flyers broadcasts in Philadelphia, made out pretty well for himself after his playing career. He still calls select Flyers games today filling in for Keith Jones when he’s on NBC duties, and also provides pre and postgame analysis for CSN Philadelphia.
Barry Pederson (1980)
Known today as one of NESN’s analysts for pre and postgame coverage, Pederson bursted onto the NHL scene in grand style. Following a stellar 92-point rookie campaign (44 goals, 48 assists) where he was the runner up for the Calder Trophy in 1981, Pederson’s point production increased in each of his next two seasons to 107 (46 G, 61 A) in 1981-82 and a career-high 116 (39 G, 77 A) in 1982-83.
Pederson’s Boston stint ended in 1986 as part of the Cam Neely trade. While Neely found success in Boston, Pederson couldn’t carry over his production to Vancouver. Following 76 and 71 point seasons in 1986-87 and 1987-88, the two-time All-Star would not crack the 50-point barrier for the remainder of his career, which included stops in Pittsburgh and Hartford. Pederson returned to Boston in 1992 for the final year of his career.
Ken Daneyko (1982)
The longest career of any No. 18 pick, Ken Daneyko skated in his first game as a Devil in 1983-84. He would wear the same jersey up until his retirement in 2003.
A solid stay at home defenseman, Daneyko, along with Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer and Martin Brodeur, one of the more consistent performers during the Devils’ run of success in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Highlighted by his three Stanley Cup rings, the Windsor, Ontario native also amassed 200 penalty minutes five times during his 18-year career. Though he has an NHL record of 255 consecutive games without tallying a goal, it’s safe to say that he’s pretty happy with how his career panned out over a team record 1,283 career regular season games. His No. 3 is one of four Devils’ numbers that hang up in the rafters at the Prudential Center in Newark.
Like Clement and Pederson, Daneyko went to the television screen after his retirement. He served as one of the Devils’ studio analysts for eight years before becomming a color commentator for the 2014-15 season.
Bruce Cassidy (1983)
From three current broadcasters, we segue to the current coach of the Boston Bruins, whose professional career, well, was not as well-known.
During his six years in the Blackhawks organization, the ex-defenseman only laced up his skates in 36 career games, tallying four goals and thirteen assists in that span. Cassidy did find success at the old IHL, tallying 238 career points (45 goals, 193 assists) in 312 games and also spent four seasons in Europe before returning back to the IHL where he spent his final three years in Indianapolis.
Having coached at in the junior, minor league and NHL level both as a head coach and as an assistant, Cassidy will enter his first full season as the lead man behind the Bruins bench in 2016-17 – his first full-time gig since being fired by the Washington Capitals in the 2003-04 campaign.
Glen Murray (1990)
The second former Bruin on this list, Murray’s best years came during his second stint in Black and Gold. He needed a stop in Pittsburgh and time in Los Angeles to find his game, though.
After a decent five-plus year tenure with the Kings that included two seasons of 20-plus goals and 60-plus points, Murray returned to Boston and formed a dynamic duo with Joe Thornton prior to the 2004-05 Lockout. In his last six years with the Bruins, Murray tallied two 40-goal seasons in 2001-02 (41, good for second in the league) and 2002-03 (a career-high 44 goals, good for fifth) and was a two-time All-Star. The Halifax-born forward finished his career with 651 points (337 goals, 314 assists) in 1,009 career games.
No other Bruin has scored 40 goals in a season since Murray.
Petr Sykora (1995)
He may not have been a dynamic scorer for his time, but like another former Devil on this list, consistency followed Sykora wherever he went.
In 1,017 career games, Sykora tallied the most points (721 – 323 goals, 398 assists) of any player selected with the not so coveted 18th overall pick. The Czech forward, who represented his country in the Olympics in 2002, tallied at least 20 goals 10 of his 15 NHL seasons and has his name etched on Two Stanley Cups with the Devils (in 2000) and Penguins (in 2009).
Not bad for a player who played for six different teams during his career.
Brooks Orpik (2000)
Another member of that 2009 Penguins squad, the former Thayer Academy, and Boston College blue-liner is in the latter half of his career.
Like Daneyko, Orpik is known for being a stay at home defenseman. He was a staple on the Pens blue-line for a decade before signing with the rival Capitals a few years ago in hopes of helping Washington overcome its perennial postseason disappointments. Instead, as his game started to decline, Orpik watched on as his former team eliminate the Caps in back to back years en route to the Cup Final. Still, the two-time Olympian has made out pretty well for himself during his career.
Ian Cole (2007)
Struggling to find consistency early in his career in St. Louis thanks to a packed blue-line, a change of scenery for Cole was just what the doctor ordered.
Since being acquired by the Penguins at the 2015 Trade Deadline, Cole has become a consistent presence on the backend. The former Notre Dame standout followed up his best regular season with an equally impressive postseason for former Bruins coach Mike Sullivan and company. Entering Game 5, Cole has the second most points among Pens defenseman with nine – all assists – and came off a regular season where he posted a career-high 26 points during the regular season. Not bad for a player who averages less than 20 minutes a night.
Austin Watson (2010)
In his third NHL season, Austin Watson has solidified himself into the Preds bottom six. Whether it’s delivering big hits, dropping the gloves, or chipping in offensively from time to time, Watson has found his niche in the Music City.
Other names: Eric Fehr, Teuvo Teravainen, Chris Stewart, Jason Smith, Jody Hull,
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