Teams choosing fifth overall have generally done well for themselves, with a few exceptions of course. Here’s a look at the history of the fifth pick dating back to 1969, which is generally considered the birth of the “modern” NHL draft.
1969 – Minnesota chose defenseman Dick Redmond – younger brother of NHL star Mickey Redmond – with this pick. The younger Redmond went on to a fine NHL career of his own, playing 771 games in the league with six different clubs.
1970 – Montreal chose goaltender Ray Martyniuk, and it did not go well. Ihor Stelmach’s story tells it better than we could.
1971 – Buffalo selected winger Rick Martin at No. 5. Martin went on to become part of the famed “French Connection” line. He totaled 384 goals and 701 points in 684 NHL games, and scored 35 or more goals in a season seven times.
1972 – Buffalo picked here again a year after grabbing Martin. This time the Sabres chose defenseman Jim Schoenfeld. Schoenfeld had a distinguished 719-game NHL career and went on to coach several NHL teams, including the Capitals.
1973 – St. Louis chose goaltender John Davidson, who went on to a distinguished career as a broadcaster after playing in 301 NHL games in goal for the Blues and the Rangers. Davidson is now the president of the Blues.
1974 – Montreal selected right wing Cam Connor, whose NHL career consisted of 89 games during which he scored nine goals and registered 31 points and 256 PIM. Connor also played in 274 WHA contests where he totaled 83 goals, 171 points and 904 PIM.
1975 – Detroit drafted defenseman Rick Lapointe, who went on to play 664 NHL games with six clubs. He picked up 44 goals and 220 points along the way.
1976 – The California Golden Seals chose forward Bjorn Johansson, the first European-born and trained player taken in the first round of an NHL draft. Johansson played in only 15 NHL games, collecting a goal and two points.
1977 – The Cleveland Barons took Mike Crombeen, who totaled 55 goals and 123 points in 475 NHL contests.
1978 – Colorado chose right wing Mike Gillis, whose NHL career lasted 246 games. Gillis totaled 33 goals and 76 points. His AHL career took him through both Baltimore and Hershey.
1979 – Vancouver picked forward Rick Vaive, a three-time 50-goal scorer in the NHL. Vaive totaled 441 goals, 788 points and 1,445 PIM in his 876-game NHL career. Vaive also played in the WHA in the final season of that league’s existence. He had 26 goals, 59 points and 248 PIM in 75 games as a 19-year-old with the Birmingham Bulls (one of the notorious “Baby Bulls”) in 1978-79.
1980 – The Capitals drafted Darren Veitch, who finished his NHL career with 48 goals and 257 points in 511 games. In his second season in Washington Veitch notched 44 assists, a single-season club mark for defensemen at the time.
1981 – Colorado selected defenseman Joe Cirella, who went on to an 828-game NHL career during which he totaled 64 goals and 275 points. Cirella was a member of both the first New Jersey Devils and first Florida Panthers NHL teams.
1983 – Buffalo chose goaltender Tom Barrasso, who posted a 369-277-86 record over the course of a 777-game NHL career. Barrasso holds NHL records for most games played and most games won by a U.S.-born goaltender, and he also holds the records for most career assists (48) and points (48) by an NHL netminder. Barrasso is likely Hall of Famer at some point in the near future.
1984 – Montreal selected defenseman Petr Svoboda, who carved out a 1,028-game NHL career. Svoboda totaled 58 goals, 399 points and 1,605 PIM. Montreal shocked the hockey world with this pick; Svoboda was expected to go much, much later in the draft. But Habs GM Serge Savard had the inside dope. He knew that Svoboda had already defected from the Czech Republic and had escaped to West Germany.
1985 – Hartford chose defenseman Dana Murzyn, who went on to pick up 52 goals, 205 points and 1,571 PIM in his 828-game NHL career.
1986 – Buffalo opted for defenseman Shawn Anderson, who finished his 255-game NHL career with 11 goals and 62 points. Anderson played 110 of those games in a Capitals uniform, and also did AHL stints in both Baltimore and Hershey.
1987 – Pittsburgh picked defenseman Chris Joseph. He totaled 39 goals and 151 points in 510 NHL games.
1988 – Quebec whiffed in taking right wing Daniel Dore, whose NHL career consisted of just 17 games. Dore had two goals and five points. His best year as a pro came in 1992-93 when he had a dozen goals, 22 points and 192 PIM in 65 games at Hershey.
1989 – New Jersey chose right wing Bill Guerin, who is in the midst of a fine NHL career. Guerin has played in 1,026 regular season NHL games and has totaled 364 goals and 719 points. He played on a Stanley Cup championship team in New Jersey and has five 30-goal seasons in the NHL.
1990 – Pittsburgh pegged right wing Jaromir Jagr, who has 621 goals and 1,528 points during his ongoing 1,191 NHL career. Jagr has played on two Cup winners and has won five Art Ross Trophies as the league’s scoring leader.
1991 – Winnipeg chose defenseman Aaron Ward, whose continuing career includes 35 goals, 115 points and three Stanley Cup championships over the course of a 632-game career.
1993 – Florida chose center Rob Niedermayer, who has accumulated 149 goals, 391 points and a Stanley Cup championship in his 854-game NHL career.
1994 – Hartford went with center Jeff O’Neill. O’Neill’s ongoing NHL career features 237 goals and 497 points in 837 games. He has reached the 20-goal level five times, the 30-goal level twice and has scored 40 goals in a season once.
1995 – Tampa Bay took center Daymond Langkow, who has rolled up 194 goals and 490 points during the course of his ongoing 788-game NHL career.
1996 – Dallas chose defenseman Richard Jackman, who has 19 goals and 77 points in his continuing 231-game NHL career. Jackman was a member of the 2007 Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks.
1997 – The Islanders selected defenseman Eric Brewer. Now with the Blues, Brewer has 46 goals and 151 points in his 518-game NHL career.
1998 – Anaheim chose defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski, who has 14 goals and 61 points during his continuing 483-game career in the NHL.
1999 – The Islanders chose center Tim Connolly, who has put up 63 goals and 201 points over the course of his injury-riddled 390-game NHL career.
2000 – The Islanders (geez, think the Islanders have had the fifth pick often enough?) chose left wing Raffi Torres. Now with Edmonton, Torres has totaled 62 goals and 115 points in 275 NHL games.
2001 – Anaheim went with center Stanislav Chistov, who has 19 goals and 61 points in 196 NHL games. Chistov started last season in Anaheim and finished it with Boston.
2002 – Pittsburgh picked defenseman Ryan Whitney. Whitney came into his own in 2006-07, his second season in the NHL. He had 14 goals and 59 points with the Pens last year, and has 20 goals and 97 points in 149 NHL games overall. Whitney was the third defenseman taken in 2002; Washington’s Steve Eminger was the fifth. Whitney is eight months older than Eminger.
2003 – Buffalo bagged winger Thomas Vanek, who has piled up 68 goals and 132 points in his 163 games in the league to date. Vanek has missed only one game during his NHL career, and he put up 43 goals and 84 points in 2006-07.
2004 – Phoenix picked right wing Blake Wheeler, who just finished his sophomore season at U. of Minnesota.
2005 – Montreal drafted goaltender Carey Price, who just helped the Hamilton Bulldogs to the Calder Cup title, becoming just the third teenaged netminder in league history to do so.
2006 – Boston picked center Phil Kessel, who put up 11 goals and 29 points in 70 games as a 19-year-old NHL rookie. He also missed just 12 games despite undergoing surgery for testicular cancer and was named the recipient of the NHL’s Masterton Trophy in 2007.
Tomorrow: A look at the history of the rest of Washington’s 2007 picks.