The Eastern Conference’s Best Non-First Round Draft Picks

Here we are with part two of looking at each NHL team’s best non-first-round pick. Yesterday, we saw legends like Dominik Hasek and Mark Messier to role players like Matt Cullen and Tobias Enstrom represent the Western Conference team that drafted them. Today we have a similar range of players.

Let’s take a look at the Eastern Conference players.

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Boston: Patrice Bergeron

Drafted: Second Round (45th overall) in 2003

Patrice Bergeron wasted no time in making to the NHL, debuting with the Bruins in the 2003-04 season. Since then he has racketed up the hardware. He has won a World Junior Championship, a World Championship, two Olympic Gold Medals, the Spengler Cup and the Stanley Cup. As far individual awards, he has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy twice as the NHL’s top defensive forward and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy once. There is not many better centers in the NHL right now.

Stats: 740 GP, 206 G, 344 A, 550 P, 267 PIM

Buffalo: Danny Gare

Drafted: Second Round (29th overall) in 1974

Gare spent the the first seven and a half seasons with the Sabres, averaging 62.5 points a season. He had 500 points for the Sabres alone in his career. His number 18 was retired by the Sabres in 2005.  While he was great in Buffalo, even in leaving the city, he got the Canucks another one of their best players. When he was sent to the Detroit Red Wings in the 1981-82 season, part of the package the Sabres got back was Mike Foligno. He spent four and a half seasons with Detroit before finishing his career with one season with the Edmonton Oilers.

Stats: 827 GP, 354 G, 331 A, 685 P, 1,285 PIM

Carolina: Erik Cole

Drafted: Third Round (71st overall) in 1998

Cole was most consistent during his two stints with the Hurricanes. He won a Stanley Cup with the team in 2006. He was later traded in 2008 to the team they beat for the Cup, the Edmonton Oilers. However, after playing 63 games for the Oilers, he was traded back to the Hurricanes at the Trade Deadline. He would spend two more seasons with the Hurricanes, bringing his cumulative seasons with the team to nine. He has since played for the Montreal Canadiens and the Dallas Stars before being acquired by the Detroit Red Wings at this year’s Trade Deadline.

Stats: 892 GP, 265 G, 267 A, 532 P, 659 PIM

(John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports)
(John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports)

Columbus: Steve Mason

Drafted: Third Round (69th overall) in 2006

Mason is definitely a step down from Hasek. However, as there was not much choice with the Blue Jackets draft history, Mason gets the spot here. He came into the league with a great season in 2008-09. He won the Calder Trophy as well as nominated for the Vezina that year, leading Columbus to their first playoff appearance. However, after that season, it all went downhill for Mason in Columbus. After three disappointing seasons with the Blue Jackets, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. He returned to form and led the Flyers to the playoffs in 2014.

Stats: 351 GP, 151 W, 26 SO, 2.71 GAA, .910 SV%

Detroit: Pavel Datsyuk

Drafted: Sixth Round (171st overall) in 1998

Well, it was either Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg. However, Datsyuk winning three-straight Selke Trophies (2008- 2010), four-straight Lady Byng Trophies (2006-2010) and being nominated for the Hart Trophy in 2009 certainly help Datsyuk’s cause. Of course, he has two Stanly Cups to his credit as well. One of the most talented to ever play in the NHL, there’s a reason that dekes are sometimes referred to as “Datsyukian”.

Stats: 887 GP, 298 G, 571 A, 869 P, 214 PIM

Florida: Filip Kuba

Drafted: Eighth Round (192nd overall) in 1995

Filip Kuba didn’t really spend a lot of time in Florida at the beginning of his career. He only played 18 games for the franchise in four seasons with the team after leaving the Czech Republic. He was traded to the Calgary Flames in March of 2000. However, he would never play a game with the Flames as he was left unprotected and selected by the Minnesota Wild in the 2000 Expansion Draft. He spent five seasons with the Wild and finished as their top scoring defeneseman in their history. He spent two seasons there before being traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2008. After spending four seasons with the Senators, he returned to the Panthers, signing with them as a free agent. However he did not play well in lockout-shortened 2012-13 season and was bought out.

Stats: 836 GP, 70 G, 263 A, 333 P, 361 PIM

Montreal: Patrick Roy

Drafted: Third Round (51st overall) in 1984

As he is included in the conversation about who is the best goaltender ever, there is no doubt that Roy would take this spot. Like Messier in the previous post, I’ll let the accomplishments do the talking: 11 All-Star Games, five Jennings Trophies, four Stanley Cups, four NHL First All-Star Teams, three Conn Smythe Trophies, three Vezina Trophies and two Second All-Star Teams.

Stats: 1,029 GP, 551 W, 66 SO, 2.54 GAA, .912 SV%

Patrik Elias
(Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE)

New Jersey: Patrik Elias

Drafted: Second Round (51st overall) in 1994

Elias is one of the few players that have had a career longer than 15 years and spend them all with one team. He holds pretty much every offensive record in New Jersey. He has been the captain of the team. A two-time Stanley Cup champion with the team in 2000 and 2003, there’s not much left to do in his career.

Stats: 1,224 GP, 406 G, 611 A, 1,017 P, 539 PIM

New York Islanders: Bryan Trottier

Drafted: Second Round (22nd overall) in 1974

The very first player to win the Art Ross Trophy while not playing with an Original Six team, Trottier is one of the best players to ever put on the Islanders jersey. He was instrumental in the Islanders’ four Stanley Cup wins in the 1980’s. He won the Art Ross, Hart, Conn Smythe and King Clancy Memorial Trophies during his tenure on Long Island. He would win two more Stanley Cups (1991 & 1992) with the Pittsburgh Penguins after signing with them in 1990.

Stats: 1,279 GP, 524 G, 901 A, 1,425 P, 912 PIM

New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist

Drafted: Seventh Round (205th overall) in 2000

The Rangers selection came down to two goalies, Lundqvist and Mike Richter. While Richter won the Stanley Cup in 1994, Lundvist has been one of the NHL’s best goalies since his debut in the NHL. He was nominated for the Vezina Trophy in his first three seasons (2006, 2007, 2008) before winning it in 2012. He is is the only goalie in NHL history to win 30 or more games in his first seven seasons. Of course, he gotten the Rangers close to winning the Stanley Cup in recent years.

Stats: 620 GP, 339 W, 55 SO, 2.26 GAA, .921 SV%

(Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)
(Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

Ottawa: Daniel Alfredsson

Drafted: Sixth Round (133rd overall) in 1994

From being a sixth-round pick to being the team’s captain from 1999 until 2013. He became a legend in a city that had just entered the league two years before he was drafted. He sits atop the Senators stats for games played, goals, assists and points with the franchise and no one is even remotely close to his totals. Unfortunately, he could not spend his entire career in Ottawa as he signed with the Detroit Red Wings and played his final NHL season there.

Stats: 1,246 GP, 444 G, 713 A, 1,157 P, 510 PIM

Philadelphia: Bobby Clarke

Drafted: Second Round (17th overall) in 1969

Clarke’s entire career, both on and off the ice, has been spent with the Flyers. When you think of the Flyers, you think of Clarke. He won two Stanley Cups with the Flyers, in two-straight years in 1974 and 1975. He won the Bill Masterton, Selke, Hart and Pearson Trophies over his career. He was invited to the All-Star Game eight times and was named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team twice (1975 & 1976) and Second All-Star Team twice as well (1973 & 1974).

Stats: 1,144 GP, 358 G, 852 A, 1,210 P, 1,453 PIM


Pittsburgh: March Recchi

Drafted: Fourth Round (67th overall) in 1988

For a player that will eventually got to the Hall of Fame sooner rather than later, he sure did move around a lot in his career. He had three stints with the Penguins and two stints with the Philadelphia Flyers. He also played for the Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins. He won three Stanley Cups, with 1991 Penguins, the 2006 Hurricanes and the 2011 Bruins.

Stats: 1,652 GP, 577 G, 956 A, 1,533 P, 1,003 PIM

Tampa Bay: Pavel Kubina

Drafted: Seventh Round (179th overall) in 1996

Kubina spent the first eight seasons of his NHL career with the Lightning, winning the Stanley Cup in 2004. In 2006, he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs as they tried to return to the playoffs after missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Let’s just say it didn’t work out. After three seasons with the Leafs, he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009. He only spent one season there before returning to the Lightning for two seasons. He was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers at the Trade Deadline in 2012 and ended his career there.

Stats: 970 GP, 110 G, 276 A, 386 P, 1,123 PIM

Toronto: Dave “Tiger” Williams

Drafted: Second Round (31st overall) in 1974

Tiger Williams is a player unlike any other player on either of these lists in that he was an enforcer. He is the NHL’s all-time leader in penalty minutes. However, he wasn’t the typical enforcer that you would see in recent years. Unlike many that primarily used their fists for fighting, Williams could also use his hands to score goals. He spent his first five and a half seasons with the Leafs before being involved in a trade with Vancouver that brought the Leafs Rick Vaive. He spent the next four and a half seasons with Vancouver before spending half a season with the Detroit Red Wings, parts of four seasons with the Los Angeles Kings before finishing his career with 26 games for the Hartford Whalers.

Stats: 962 GP, 241 G, 272 A, 513 P, 3,966 PIM

Bondra at the 2002 World Championships (anc via
Bondra at the 2002 World Championships (anc via

Washington: Peter Bondra

Drafted: Eighth Round (156th overall) in 1990

One of the best players to put on the Capitals jersey, Bondra played for the team in all but two of his 16 NHL seasons. He has the most hat tricks in Capitals history. In 2004, he was voted on by fans as of the 3o best Capitals of all time. In the 2003-04 season, he was dealt to the Ottawa Senators for a prospect that still remains with the Capitals organization to this day in Brooks Laich. He signed with the Atlanta Thrashers the next offseason, spending a season there. He ended his career with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he would score his 500th NHL goal. In doing that he became only the fourth player to achieve that feat while playing in Chicago, joining Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, and Michel Goulet.

Stats: 1,081 GP, 503 G, 389 A, 892 P, 749 PIM