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Editorials

New York Islanders Absolute Failure at 1999 NHL Draft

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: A general view of the first round draft picks board during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: A general view of the first round draft picks board during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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16 Jan 2001: Tim Connolly #18 of the New York Islanders moves with the puck during the game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 4-1.Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport
16 Jan 2001: Tim Connolly #18 of the New York Islanders moves with the puck during the game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 4-1.Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport

Fifth Overall – Tim Connolly (Pick no.1)

With their first pick of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders would pick Tim Connolly. Out of the Erie Otters of the OHL, Connolly had 68 points in 45 games in his draft year and 62 in 40 the year prior.

He was a good junior player, one of the better ones on the board at number five. He clearly wasn’t one of the Sedin twins, but at five the thought was that he’d be a real good NHL player.

Or that’s what everyone thought. Again, remember it was thought that the 1999 Draft would be one of the best.

In his 697 NHL games, Connolly put up 431 points. Again not bad. But for the Islanders Connolly topped out at 41 points in year two.

That’s when the Islanders lost patience and sent him and Taylor Pyatt (another first-rounder in ’99) packing to Buffalo for the rights to free agent Michael Peca. It was a risky move, Peca could have just gone to free agency. Thankfully he didn’t and ended up being that number two center for a playoff bound team for the first time in seven years.

The New York Islanders didn’t have to give to get Tim Connolly. He was theirs from the start thanks to a terrible 1998-99 season. But he was supposed to be the Islanders prize of the 1999 draft. He wasn’t. Not even close.

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