Photo by Michael Miller, via Wikimedia Commons
As I noted in the mock draft article the Columbus Blue Jackets have three first round picks in the 2013 NHL Draft. That in and of itself is not special, but with the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings both struggling, the Jackets could be in a very special position in June – they could have three of the top twelve selections in the draft.
Due to poor management, the Blue Jackets have drafted inside of the top ten in all but one entry draft since the team began play in 2000. They’ve picked 4, 8, 1, 4, 8, 6, 6, 7, 6, 21, 4, 2 and have traded one of their first-round picks. If their luck holds, the Jackets are set to become just the third team to hold three selections inside of the top twelve in the post-WHA expansion era.
In 1983, the NHL consisted of 21 teams and that year the Buffalo Sabres had three of the first eleven picks. The draft was already a bizarre one because the the St. Louis Blues staged a boycott of the draft in the midst of Ralston Purina’s dispute with the NHL over the sale of the Blues and move to Saskatoon. By the way, if you think the Coyotes’ ownership situation is a farce, read up Ralston’s attempts to sell the Blues. As a result of the boycott, the Blues forfeited all of their untraded draft picks.
Buffalo acquired the 5th pick from the Los Angeles Kings in 1981 by trading Rick Martin in exchange for a 3rd round pick in 1981 and a 1st round pick in 1983. The Sabres acquired the 10th pick from the Calgary Flames in a 1982 trade that sent Don Edwards, Richie Dunn, the Sabres 2nd round pick in 1982 and 1st round pick in 1983 to Calgary in exchange for Calgary’s 1st and 2nd round picks in 1982 and the Flames’ 1st and 2nd round picks in 1983. The Sabres acquired the 11th pick from the Quebec Nordiques by trading Tony McKegney, Andre Savard, Jean-Francois Sauve and the Sabres 3rd round pick in 1983 for Real Cloutier and the Nordiques 1st round pick in 1983.
The Sabres used those picks to select goaltender Tom Barrasso 5th, right wing Norm Lacombe 10th, and centre Adam Creighton 11th overall.
The only other team to have three of the top twelve draft picks in a single year was the 1999 New York Islanders. Mike Milbury was in charge of the Islanders’ front office at the time and the Islanders missed the playoffs for the 5th consecutive season.
The 5th overall pick was their own, earned by finishing with 58 total points. Milbury acquired the 8th overall from the Los Angeles Kings by trading Marcel Cousineau, Ziggy Palffy, Bryan Smolinski and a 4th round pick in 1999 in exchange for Mathieu Biron, Josh Green, Olli Jokinen and the Kings’ 1st round pick in 1999. The Islanders landed the 10th overall pick by trading restricted free agent Trevor Linden to Montreal in exchange for Montreal’s 1st round pick in 1999.
The Islanders used those picks to select centre Tim Connolly 5th, left wing Taylor Pyatt 8th, and defenseman Branislav Mezei 10th overall.
Scott Howson, if he’s still employed as GM at the time, will get a special opportunity to remake the face of the franchise in about 90 minutes in June. Or he could end up like Mike Milbury.