Zigmund Palffy | Nitra
Selection: 26th overall in 1991
It took a few years before he came over to North America, and another year before he was productive in the NHL. But boy was Ziggy Palffy worth the wait.
Drafted in 1991, 25 other players were selected before him. Even the Islanders went with what was seen as the safe bet in Scott Lachance fourth overall. Between the Isles pick at number four and at number 26 the following players were drafted:
Peter Forsberg, Alexei Kovalev, Markus Naslund, and Ryan Whitney. All hit over 800 points in their career. Bill Torrey wouldn’t be outdone though. Because at number 26, he selected Czech born Ziggy Palffy.
By the end of the 1994-95 season, Palffy had played a total of 38 NHL games and scored a low 17 points. It wasn’t a great return, but certainly good enough to keep him around. He was still young. He’d get better.
He did. Immediately. In 1995-96, Palffy scored an outstanding 87 points in 81 games. Over the next two seasons, he’d add a 90 point year and another 87 point season.
Of course, the good times couldn’t keep on rolling. Not in the 90’s anyways. Ownership didn’t want to pay massive wages for players, even though they absolutely deserved it. So in June of 99, the Islanders traded Palffy to the Kings.
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Bill Torrey did some great things for the New York Islanders and the draft was no exception. Sure his scouts deserve some credit for flagging these players. But Bill gets credit for setting up the scouts and making the final call on each of the players he drafted.