Re-Drafting The Entire First Round Of The 1993 NHL Draft
One of my favorite things to do as a hockey fan is to go back and look at any given draft year, and simply dissect and critique the teams’ choices. That of course is much easier to do in hindsight, especially for drafts that occurred pre-1996, as pretty much every player who was selected in those drafts has retired (Jaromir Jagr—that freak who was drafted in 1989—notwithstanding).
Whenever I think about the 1993 draft, I think of what Alexandre Daigle said immediately following the draft. Daigle was considered a can’t-miss prospect, so the Senators called his name first overall. This was Daigle’s reaction:
“I’m glad I got drafted first, because no one remembers number two.”
What’s so funny about this? Well, the 1993 draft has produced one Hall-of-Famer to date (and that will be it), and that man is 2nd overall pick Chris Pronger. Not a lot of fans will forget him, but if you are a young hockey fan, it’s probable that you’ve never heard of Alexandre Daigle.
Today I took a peek at the 1993 draft and re-selected the top 20 picks from that year. It wasn’t the strongest year for sure, but nor was it the weakest. It ranks somewhere in the middle of the hierarchy of NHL drafts in history.
Without further ado, here are all 26 first round picks from the 1993 NHL draft re-selected (original draft position in parenthesis):
1. CHRIS PRONGER (2ND) – OTTAWA SENATORS
Concussion issues forced him to retire at the age of 37, and it’s safe to say he had a few good years left in him had they not—he had 12 points in 13 games in 2011-12 before being forced to hang up the skates. Pronger’s resume is still hella-impressive, as his mantle features a Hart Trophy, a Norris Trophy, a Stanley Cup ring, and two Olympic Gold Medals. I think the Sens would have preferred him to Alexandre Daigle, but I can’t be sure.
2. PAUL KARIYA (4TH) – HARTFORD WHALERS
The Hartford Whalers held the number two pick in 1993, and they actually got Pronger at that slot so they should have no regrets (except for trading him a few years later). That being said, nobody would have thought anything less of them if they went with Kariya, who leads all skaters from the ’93 draft in points. Had he been healthier, he’d surely be considered for the Hall-of-Fame as well.
3. KIMMO TIMONEN (250TH) – TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
The Finnish defender would have been Tampa Bay Lightning property if he was drafted where he should have been. The Lightning instead went with Chris Gratton, who wasn’t terrible but definitely had a lesser career than Timonen. Timonen’s boxcars prove he was good at both ends of the ice, a he compiled 117 goals and 454 assists before retiring in 2015.
4. PAVOL DEMITRA (227TH) – MIGHTY DUCKS OF ANAHEIM
Tragically, Demitra was one of the members of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv club that perished in the 2011 plane crash into the banks of the Volga River. He’d played the prior season with Yaroslavl, and led the club in scoring by notching 61 points in just 54 games. The 36-year-old was still a great hockey talent at the time of his death, and in my opinion he was the fourth best player from the 1993 draft class.
5. MIROSLAV SATAN (111TH) – FLORIDA PANTHERS
Miroslav Satan comes in at number five on our list, and I was always a big fan of his so perhaps my bias is showing a bit. Nonetheless, the Slovakian had an incredible hockey career, playing in 1,050 NHL games before playing out the remainder of his career back in Europe (first for the Slovak league, then the KHL).
Satan was originally an Edmonton Oiler selection, picked in the fifth round. If things panned out as they should have, Satan would have ended up being a Florida Panther draft pick. Satan’s hallmark was consistent production and health; from 1998-99 to 2006-07, he missed just nine regular season games, and his season point totals ranged from 57 to 75 over that span. Satan won a Cup with the Penguins in 2009 near the tail-end of his NHL career, capping off a great journey for the sixth-highest Slovakian NHL player of all time.
6. SAKU KOIVU (21ST) – SAN JOSE SHARKS
Koivu had an incredible career, becoming the beloved captain of the Montreal Canadiens in 1999 and holding the position for almost an entire decade. The Finnish center played five more seasons with the Ducks after departing Montreal, and he managed to put up 832 points in 1,124 NHL games. Koivu sits third in all-time scoring among Finnish-born NHL players, behind legends Teemu Selanne and Jari Kurri—not bad company to keep.
7. TODD BERTUZZI (23RD) – EDMONTON OILERS
Todd Bertuzzi will unfortunately be mostly remembered for ruining Steve Moore’s career, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a pretty darn good hockey player in his day. He was one-third of the famous “West Coast Express” line from the early 2000s in Vancouver, and that was probably the best line in the NHL for a few seasons.
Skating with Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison, Bertuzzi put up seasons of 85 and 97 points before his career got derailed by that unfortunate incident near the end of the 2003-04 season. Who’s to say where Bertuzzi’s career could have gone if not for that dark cloud that followed him around after that fateful day, causing an endless distraction for the power forward. Perhaps his career would have taken a different turn in Edmonton.