Los Angeles Kings Top 5 Draft Busts in Franchise History

Apr 22, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of the Staples Center before game five of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of the Staples Center before game five of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Los Angeles Kings Top 5 Countdown: Biggest Busts in Franchise History

Los Angeles Kings are the next team in a series dedicated to the top five draft busts in franchise history. Over the next while, we plan to explore all 30 teams (in alphabetical order) big misses on the draft floor since their inception.

For those expansion teams from the early and late 1990s into 2000, their franchise draft history is obviously skewed in comparison to older teams. Even with a limited sample size to choose from, each and every franchise has been victimized by the imperfect art of selecting 18-year-old prospects.

Several years of missing on the draft floor in the 1990s/early 2000s quickly caught up to the Los Angeles Kings forcing them into the NHL’s basement.

Things began to turn around in 2005 when they selected Anze Kopitar 11th overall and Jonathan Quick 72nd overall (3rd round). After years of solid scouting since, the Kings snagged a pair of recent Stanley Cup wins.

Honorable Mentions:

Craig Duncanson – 9th overall in 1985
Matt Zultek – 15th overall in 1997
Mathieu Biron – 21st overall in 1998
Alexander Frolov – 20th overall in 2000
Jens Karlsson – 18th overall in 2001
Denis Grebeshkov – 18th overall in 2002
Lauri Tukonen – 11th overall in 2004
Jonathan Bernier – 11th overall in 2006
Colton Teubert – 13th overall in 2008

For this countdown, we have chosen to omit 2007 4th overall pick Thomas Hickey. He was never given an opportunity at the NHL level with LA (four years in Manchester). The Islanders threw him in the lineup immediately and had success. Hickey has since developed into a decent NHL defenseman.

Los Angeles Kings Top 5 Draft Busts

5. Craig Redmond – 6th overall in 1984

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Craig came from rich NHL bloodline’s (Mickey Redmond/Dick Redmond) and was a highly productive NCAA player. He even managed to post 39 points during his NHL rookie season in 1984-85.

After watching his numbers fall drastically mixed with a rash of injuries, Redmond was eventually traded to Edmonton in 1988. He split the 1988-89 season between Edmonton, IHL Denver, and AHL Cape Breton before disappearing from hockey. He would eventually reappear in 1995-96 suiting up for AHL Cape Breton/IHL Atlanta to play one last season.

Craig Redmond posted an impressive 84 points in 191 career NHL games, but unfortunately was forced out by injuries.

Picks after Redmond: Shawn Burr (DET) – 7th overall, Shayne Corson (MTL) – 8th overall, Doug Bodger (PIT) – 9th overall, J.J. Daigneault (VAN) – 10th overall, Sylvain Cote (HRT) – 11th overall, Gary Roberts (CGY) – 12th overall, Terry Carkner (NYR) – 14th overall, Kevin Hatcher (WSH) – 17th overall

4. Jamie Storr – 7th overall in 1994

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Three goalies were selected in the 1st round (in 1994): Jamie Storr (LA) – 7th overall, Eric Fichaud (TOR) – 16th overall, and Dan Cloutier (NYR).

This was a regularity throughout the 1990s into the 2000s. It peaked with Rick DiPietro and Marc-Andre Fleury, but it seems the DiPietro debacle changed the way teams approach drafting goaltenders.

Storr appeared in 219 games over his NHL career (with Los Angeles and Carolina).

He took over as Kings starter in 1999-00 when he went 18-15-5 with a 2.53GAA and .908 save percentage. Appearing in 45 games in 2000-01, Storr went 19-18-6 with a 2.74GAA and .899 save percentage. He only appeared in 19 games in 2001-02 and 39 in 2002-03 before joining the Hurricanes in 2003-04.

This would mark the last time we saw Jamie Storr in the NHL as he spent much of the next two seasons in the minors before leaving to play in Germany between 2006-2009.

Picks after Storr: Jason Wiemer (TB) – 8th overall, Jeff Friesen (SJ) – 11th overall, Mattias Ohlund (VAN) – 13th overall, Ethan Moreau (CHI) – 14th overall, Wayne Primeau (BUF) – 17th overall

3. Wayne McBean – 4th overall in 1987

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Whether the Kings realized McBean was a bust after a short 27-game debut, or if it was simply the price to pay to acquire goaltender Kelly Hrudey, LA was able to package this future bust with G Mark Fitzpatrick to find their future starter.

McBean spent time with the Kings, Islanders, and Jets over his short injury-ravaged career. He tallied 49 points in 211 regular season games.

Picks after McBean: Luke Richardson (TOR) – 7th overall, Stephane Quintal (BOS) – 14th overall, Joe Sakic (QUE) – 15th overall, Bryan Marchment (WPG) – 16th overall, Andrew Cassels (MTL) – 17th overall, Jody Hull (HRT) – 18th overall

2. Doug Smith – 2nd overall in 1981

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Smith showed a lot of promise through his first four plus seasons. He posted 30 points in 1981-82, 22 points (42 games) in 1982-83, 36 points in 1983-94, and 41 points in 1984-85.

After tallying 17 points in 48 games in 1985-86, Doug Smith was packaged with Brian Engblom in a deal to acquire Ken Baumgartner, Sean McKenna, and Larry Playfair from the Buffalo Sabres.

Doug posted 40 points in first year with the Sabres, but hit an absolute wall after that. His totals dropped to 28 points in 1987-88 and found himself looking for a new team in free agency.

He would end up with three different teams (Edmonton, Vancouver, and Pittsburgh) over the next two seasons to wrap up his NHL career. Doug spent his last two years of his pro hockey in Austria.

Picks after Smith: Bob Carpenter (WSH) – 3rd overall, Ron Francis (HRT) – 4th overall, Grant Fuhr (EDM) – 8th overall, James Patrick (NYR) – 9th overall, Randy Moller (QUE) – 10th overall, Al MacInnis (CGY) – 15th overall

Next: Bobby Orr: Greatest Hockey Player of All-Time

1. Aki Berg – 3rd overall in 1995

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This highly touted Finnish defender never managed to pan out in the NHL. His nine-year career spanned four and a half seasons between Los Angeles and Toronto.

Berg had a career-high 16 points (70 games) with LA in 1999-00, and totaled 85 points in 606 career NHL games.

After re-emerging for one more year with Toronto post-lockout (2005-06), Aki Berg would spend his final five years playing in the SM-Liiga (Finland).

Picks after Berg: Daymond Langkow (TB) – 5th overall, Shane Doan (WPG) – 7th overall, Radek Dvorak (FLA) – 10th overall, Jarome Iginla (DAL) – 11th overall, J-S Giguere (HRT) – 13th overall, Petr Sykora (NJ) – 18th overall