Mike Milbury – Draft
Through his entire tenure, Mike Milbury would go to the podium for a top-five pick on six different occasions. Six times his teams were bad enough to warrant an elite level prospect.
All of them would go on to have decent NHL careers. Some even potential Hall of Fame careers. It’s just that half of them weren’t wearing an Islanders jersey when doing so. Of the six players Milbury drafted in the top five, only three would have careers with the New York Islanders: Eric Brewer (5th overall in 1997), Tim Connolly (5th overall in 1999), and Rick DiPietro (1st overall in 2000).
And let’s be honest, Rick DiPietro’s career wasn’t anything to call home about. Nor was Brewer or Connolly. But, when healthy, they were serviceable NHL players.
As for the others, J.P. Dumont was traded before he played a game. Roberto Luongo was traded after Rick DiPietro was drafted first overall in 2000. And Raffi Torres would play 31 games across two seasons for the Islanders, registering six points.
Dumont would go on to play 822 games and score 523 points. Luongo would play 922 games and averaged a 0.919SV% and 2.50GAA. He also finished in the top three in Vezina voting on three different occasions.
And I’ve just gone over his top five picks. Look over Milbury’s draft history and you’ll find a short supply of “wins”. Zdeno Chara, Frans Neilsen, and Radek Martinek were Milbury’s best finds outside of the first round.
It’s fair to say that Milbury didn’t value building team through the draft. Often trading away promising young talent for veteran free-agents. That’s why Chara and a second overall pick were allowed to be sent to the Ottawa Senators for Alexei Yashin.