In the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders selected Rick DiPietro first overall. Over the course of his eleven-year NHL career, he’d never live up to his first overall billing. But the worst Isles draft day bust he was not.
The New York Islanders thought they had selected a franchise goaltender in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft when they selected Rick DiPietro. His .913 SV% and 2.45 GAA with Boston University were good signs of what the Isles were getting. But as with every pick; you never know what you’re going to get exactly.
But just the other day Goliath Sports put out a list of every NHL team’s biggest draft bust. And for the Islanders, Rick DiPietro was selected for tribute.
I get it. It’s an easy target. Rick was taken first overall with a ton of expectation. Expectations he didn’t fully live up to. There’s also that absurd contract that he signed as fodder. I get it. It was easy. But I wouldn’t make him the biggest draft bust in Isles history.
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Rick And Mikey
For the first few years of his NHL career, DiPietro got better and better. By 2002-03 he was the New York Islanders number one keeper, playing 50 games and posting a 23-18-5 record with a .911 SV% and 2.36 GAA.
Keep in mind that the 2002-03 Isles made the playoffs with 83 points that season, winning only 35 games. It wasn’t a great team but for his part, DiPietro played well enough.
A season later, where DiPietro played 63 games with a 30-24-5 record and a .900 SV% and 3.02 GAA, New York Islanders GM Garth Snow offered their first overall pick a ridiculous 15-year $67.5 million contracts.
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A Big Contract Isn’t A Draft Bust
Does all that make Rick DiPietro the biggest bust in Islanders draft history? No. I can think of a player that was a bigger bust, not because he was given a ridiculous contract but because he was a high draft pick that never amounted to anything.
In 1989 the New York Islanders had the second overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. A pick they used to select Dave Chyzowski from the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL. He scored 104 points in his draft year surging his stock.
Turns out the best player in that draft, Mats Sundin, was taken at number one by the Québec Nordiques. Although an argument could be made for Nicklas Lidstrom at 53rd overall or Sergei Fedorov at 74th overall.
Chyzowski would play in a total of 126 games in the NHL and scored 31 points before leaving the league in 1996-97.
Rick DiPietro didn’t work out but he had a number of good NHL season before injuries took their toll. And that contract, while terrible should never be pinned on the player. If the franchise is going to put that type of term in front of him it’s their fault.