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article imageOp-Ed: The seven best 7th round picks in NHL history

By Ben Morris     Nov 8, 2014 in Sports
Detroit - Drafting your next crop of players is not easy. Every team has believed they drafted their next big piece to see that player fail to meet expectations. Those picks, integral to building competitive teams make G.M's look like fools or geniuses.
For every Patrik Stefan there is a Pavel Datsyuk. High draft picks who are supposed to be stars never turn out the way you want them to be, and players with little to no expectations become faces of your franchise. The seven round picks were not supposed to win awards, or become hall of famers, but they showed you can find treasure in places you never expected.
7. Andrew Brunette
In 2003, the Colorado Avalanche were supposed to roll over the Minnesota Wild and contend for the Stanley Cup. The young team with suffocating defensive play shocked the hockey world when Andrew Brunette took a pass from Sergei Zholtok and went right to the net, sliding a backhand past the pad of Patrick Roy in overtime of game seven. The seventh round pick of the Washington Capitals in 1993 was never a star, but he lasted more than a decade in the NHL accumulating 733 points in 1,100 career games, which included six 20 goal seasons.
6. Joe Pavelski
In 2002 with the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL Joe Pavelski averaged more than a point a game. His 69 points in 60 games did not have many teams lining up for his services. It took the Sharks seven round to draft Pavelski in 2003. With a +/- never below 1, He has received votes for the Selke award seven times, becoming one of the best two way forwards in the NHL. Pavelski has scored 20 or more goals three times in his career,even topping 40 in 2013-2014. When the Sharks signed Pavelski to a five year extension in 2013, Sharks G.M Doug Wilson mentioned Pavelski as one of the key members of the team going forward, his steady two way play proves Wilson's belief as fact.
5. Cliff Ronning
In 1984 the St. Louis Blues used the 134th pick on 5`'8'' center from Burnaby, B.C who ended up scoring almost 600 more points than all other players drafted in the 7th round, combined. Cliff Ronning retired after the 2003-04 season with 869 points in 1,137 games. His best years came with the Vancouver Canucks where he had a career high 85 points in 92-93. The next season he reached game seven of the Stanley Cup finals where the Canucks fell to the New York Rangers.
4. Paul MacLean
The current head coach of the Ottawa Senators was a 7th round pick of the St. Louis Blues in 1978, where he played just one game for the franchise before being traded to the Winnipeg Jets, where he became a scoring machine. In his first season with the Jets, MacLean scored 36 goals. Often playing alongside Jets legend Dale Hawerchuk, in his seven seasons with Winnipeg, MacLean scored no less than 32 goals, scoring 40 or more in three of those seasons. The 2013 Jack Adams Award winner only played a decade in the NHL, but he is remembered as a bruising goal scorer who could put pucks in the net and a right hook on your jaw.
3. Henrik Lunqvist
Many hockey experts believe drafting a goalie in the first two rounds rarely ever works. High picks like Brian Finley, Brent Krahn and Rick DiPietro fizzled out and failed to make the strong imprint high draft picks are supposed to make. In the same year DiPietro was selected number 1, a rival of the New York Islanders arguably made the biggest steal, with a 7th round pick. With the 8th pick in the round, the New York Rangers selected King Henrik. Drafted in between Chris Berti and Tim Eriksson, Henrik Lundqvist made the Rangers management look like geniuses. After spending four years in Sweden, Lundqvist won 30 games in his rookie season, placing him fourth in Calder Award voting. He is a Vezina winner who has never won less than 30 games in a full NHL season. He won Olympic gold in 2006, and the Vezina in 2012, quite possibly becoming the greatest goaltender in the history of the New York Rangers.
2. Doug Gilmour
The man known as Killer was never the most talented, he wasn't the biggest, but he worked his hide off and became one of the most popular players in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs. His 1,414 points were 98 more than the first three players selected in 1982 draft, yet St. Louis waited until the seventh round to select Kingston's own Doug Gilmour. In September 1988 the Blues traded Gilmour to the Calgary Flames in a multi player trade, they regretted. His 85 points in the 1988-89 season helped Calgary capture their first and only Stanley Cup, but the trade that really hurt happened four years later when Calgary traded Gilmour to the Leafs. In Toronto, Gilmour became captain and lead them to within a game of the Stanley Cup final in 1993. His number hangs in the rafters of the Air Canada Centre, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, being the only player in his draft year to be inducted.
1. Henrik Zetterberg
Jari Tolsa, Andrei Maxemenko and Kent McDonell, are three names very few hockey fans know. All three combined for three career NHL points, and were the three players selected before Detroit used their 7th round selection on the current captain. The 1999 draft for the Red Wings was not a complete success, but by selecting Zetterberg, they saved face. Selected after busts like Pavel Brendl, Jaime Lundmark and Jani Rita, Zetterberg has 736 points in 773 career games. In 2007, he was second on the team in scoring and was awarded the Conn Smythe Award leading the Red Wings to a victory of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is 8th in all time scoring amongst Red Wings.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about NHL, Nhl draft, henrik zetterberg, Doug gilmour, Henrik Lundqvist
 
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