HockeyDB.com has a fun tool called “NHL Best Players Drafted by Draft Position.” This tool lists the players that have the most games played, most goals, most assists, and most points for each draft position in league history. The categories are then subdivided by forwards and defensemen. Goaltenders are judged by games played, save percentage, win percentage, and goals against average.
Our friends at Raw Charge took a look at which Lightning players are on the list. It was a fun exercise, and one that probably surprised a few fans by the names that were popping up.
So how many Colorado Avalanche players make the list?
Pick #15 - F Joe Sakic
The best player in franchise and the current Avalanche General Manager was technically drafted by the Quebec Nordiques, but he’s an Av through and through. Sakic leads all forwards drafted 15th overall in games played with 1378, while leading all players in both goals (625) and assists (1016).
Pick #10 - Jocelyn Thibault
Thibault played 10 games in a Colorado Avalanche jersey, but the goaltender is a major part of franchise history. He was selected with Philadelphia’s 1993 first round pick that the team acquired in the Eric Lindros trade. Two and a half years later, he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens as part of a package that saw Patrick Roy and Mike Keane come to Colorado. Thibault is the best goalie to ever be drafted 10th overall, leading with 586 NHL games played, a 2.75 career goals-against average and .904 sv%.
Pick #19 - D Robyn Regehr
Regehr was drafted by the Avalanche in 1998, but was traded to Calgary for Theoren Fleury before playing with the franchise. Regehr’s 1090 games played, 36 goals and 163 assists are all the most by any defenseman selected 19th overall.
Pick #22 - D Adam Foote
Another Avalanche legend that was drafted while the franchise was in Quebec. Foote was taken 22nd overall in 1989 and went on to play 1154 games in the NHL - leading all defenders drafted at that spot.
Pick #44 - F - Paul Stastny
After signing with the Vegas Golden Knights his summer, Stastny is now on his 4th NHL team, but it all go started with the Avalanche. The 32-year-old leads all 44th overall pick forwards with his 426 assists. At some point this season, he is almost certainly going to overtake Guy Carbonneau’s 663 points - Stastny needs 17 more to get to that mark.
Pick #49 - G Calvin Pickard
Stuck in the AHL after being lost in the expansion draft last summer, Pickard was Colorado's second pick in the 2010 draft. Though he’s only played 89 NHL games, and has a sv% of .913, Pickard leads all goaltenders drafted in the #49 slot.
Pick #63 - G Peter Budaj
Like Pickard, Budaj makes this list simply because there aren’t many goalies drafted in the same spot. His 364 games played, .904 sv%, and 2.69 GAA are all good enough to put Budaj at the top of all goalies selected with the 63rd pick.
Pick #64 - D Tyson Barrie
The first current Avalanche player on the list. Selected in the early 3rd round back in 2009, Barrie is now one of the best offensive defenders in the NHL. His 61 goals and 248 points in 406 games are good enough for the highest totals in each category for this slot. Being selected with the same pick as Brad Richards, the 64th seems like a good spot to find a diamond in the rough.
Pick #72 - F Chris Drury
Another player that was a Nordique on draft day, but went on to play a major role on a Stanley Cup winning Avalanche team. For a player selected in the mid-third round, Drury went on to have a rather impressive NHL career. he leads all 72nd picks with 255 goals and 360 assists in 892 career NHL games. Unfortunately, his Avs career came to an end at the hands of a pretty bad trade that saw himself and Stephane Yelle moved to Calgary in exchange for Dean McAmmond, Jeff Shantz and Derek Morris.
May 20th, 2002. Round 3, game 2.— ᴀᴠᴀʟᴀɴᴄʜᴇ ꜰᴏʀᴇᴠᴇʀ (@citchmook) August 12, 2017
Chris Drury scores a beautiful O.T. goal to down the Red Wings (Forsberg ) pic.twitter.com/KyKcECmyPq
Pick #87 - F - Milan Hejduk
A true Avalanche legend, Milan Hejduk had his No. 23 raised to the rafters of the Pepsi Center this past season. Six players have had their numbers retired by the Avalanche, Hejduk is the only one to have played his entire NHL career with Colorado.
Drafted in the fourth round, Hejduk leads in every category possible for an 87th overall pick — and he’s not going to be caught any time soon.
Though Martin Kaut was selected a lot earlier, drafting a little-known kid out of the Czech pro league turned out pretty well in 1994, let’s hope history repeated itself in 2018.
Tune in a couple days when we will go through picks 101-293 in Part 2!