Sunday, June 28, 2009

Players who slipped through the cracks in the NHL draft

A think a bunch of us were a bit surprised to John Ramage slip through this year's draft while Craig Smith and Troy Hesketh were selected. Now, Ramage could be drafted next year, so he hasn't really slipped through the draft yet, but while I was pondering Ramage's so-far undrafted status, I coincidentally stumbled up this article about other players who slipped through the cracks in the NHL draft. And low-and-behold, there was a Badger on the list:
8. Curtis Joseph

It's no surprise that 18 games with the King City Dukes of the Ontario Junior B League wasn't enough to get Joseph drafted as an 18-year-old goalie.

In fact, it wasn't until he turned in a stellar season at the University of Wisconsin four years later that the St. Louis Blues signed him as a free agent.

Nobody could have predicted Joseph would play 943 NHL games, win 454 of them, fourth on the all-time list, post a career 2.79 goals against average and make two Olympic teams.

Take a bow, Cujo.
Another undrafted Badger, Brian Rafalski, didn't receive mention in this article. But don't worry, he's listed in another Top 10 Undrafted list, as is Rene Bourque.
2. Brian Rafalski
After being ignored in the Draft, Rafalski went to Finland and tore up the SM-liiga, eventually leading to The Sporting News calling him the best hockey player in the world not currently in he NHL. Second only to Mike Green in points by a defenseman this year so far (and leading the league in assists by a D-man), Rafalski has put up tremendous numbers the past two seasons as a member of the offensely-minded Detroit Red Wings.

8. Rene Bourque
Bourque is having a career year, scoring over 20 goals and leading the Flames in plus/minus. He's also second only to Curtis Glencross in hits by a Calgary forward, fitting beautifully into that mold of gritty but talented players that Flames fans and management seem to love.