Saturday, October 18, 2014

How did the Canucks draft the Sedin twins?

It seems like a simple enough question, doesn't it?

Twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin, from Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, had played hockey together since they were little kids. Daniel, the scoring winger, and Henrik, the playmaking centre, began playing for their hometown MoDo hockey club in 1994. In their first season playing for the MoDo under-16 junior club they finished second in the U16 championship to Djurgårdens, and finished first the next year. In 1996 as 16-year-olds they began playing for MoDo's under-20 junior club and led the team to a second-place finish. By the time they turned 17 they began playing at the top level, Elitserien.

In the 1998-99 season, as 18-year-olds, they jointly won the Guldpucken—the "Golden Puck"—the award for best player in the Elite League. MoDo finished atop the standings but lost the Le Mat Trophy to Brynas, with Daniel leading the team in scoring in the regular season and playoffs and Henrik third in the regular season and second in the playoffs.

The hype surrounding the brothers was enormous going into the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. They were the best young prospects from Europe by far, the best in a long time. There was, however, a catch: if they were going to come over to North America they wanted to play together. Any NHL team that wanted to draft one was expected to draft the other, otherwise neither would come over. At least that was the rumour spread by their agent, Mike Barnett.

The other consensus top-three prospect was Patrik Stefan, a Czech centreman who left the Czech Republic as a 17-year-old to play in North America. Rather than go through the Canadian Major Junior system or the NCAA he signed a 25-game try-out with the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the IHL. His try-out was a little rough but he acclimated to the North American game very well by the '98-'99 season. In 33 games playing full-time with the Ice Dogs he scored 35 points. Not bad for a kid playing with men.

Despite the glowing reviews of his performance on the ice the fact that he was limited to only 33 games in the '98-'99 season drew a lot of negative attention. He had suffered more than one concussion that year.

After the expansion draft on June 25, 1999, Canucks GM Brian Burke was swiftly working out the details of the trades that would get him both Sedin brothers at the entry draft the very next morning. Going into the entry draft the Tampa Bay Lightning, the last-place team, held the first overall pick. The expansion Atlanta Thrashers held the second overall pick, the Canucks had the third pick, and the Blackhawks held the fourth. Patrik Stefan and Daniel Sedin were expected to be the first two picks, so Henrik would almost certainly be available when the Canucks made the third pick. Somehow he needed to wrestle one of the top two picks from either the Lightning or Thrashers, keep his third overall pick, and have assurances that whoever ended up with the first or second pick picked Stefan instead of Daniel Sedin.

The first deal Burke made was with Bob Murray of the Blackhawks. The Canucks would trade defenceman Bryan McCabe and their first-round pick in the 2000 or 2001 Entry Draft to the Blackhawks for fourth overall in '99. The deal was agreed upon on the evening of the 25th and filed later so as to keep Don Waddell of the Thrashers and Rick Dudley of the Lightning in the dark on Burke's machinations.

In the wee hours of the morning Burke was in discussions with the Thrashers about the second overall pick. Waddell was willing to pick one of Daniel Sedin or Stefan, but Rick Dudley wasn't going to take Stefan. Burke needed to get the first overall pick from the Lightning, and even if he did there was still a chance that the Thrashers would take one of the Sedin twins with the second. He needed assurances from Waddell that he would take Stefan instead. Burke needed to make it worth Waddell's while, so Burke made him an offer: he'd give Waddell first overall, on the condition that Waddell used it on Stefan. Waddell agreed, but it was all contingent on the Canucks acquiring the first overall pick from the Lightning.

The Lightning for their part had picked first overall in 1998 and chose Vincent Lecavalier after engineering a trade for the pick with the San Jose Sharks. Another first overall pick wouldn't have hurt but they were amenable to trading the '99 first overall pick for other assets. Rich Winter—Patrik Stefan's agent—wouldn't release Stefan's medical records to any of the top teams, which scared off Rick Dudley. If he kept first overall he was going to pick Daniel Sedin.

When Burke showed up at the FleetCenter on the morning of the 26th he laid it all out to Dudley and Lightning Assistant GM Jay Feaster on the draft floor: he had the third pick, he acquired the fourth pick from the Blackhawks, he had an agreement with Don Waddell that Waddell would take Stefan, and Burke emphasized that he was not leaving the draft without both Sedin twins.

Dudley was also in discussions with the Rangers. The Rangers wanted to take Calgary Hitmen forward Pavel Brendl, who probably would have been available at the fourth overall pick, but the Canucks had acquired fourth from the Blackhawks. If the Lightning could get the Rangers the fourth overall pick they would trade Niklas Sundstrom, Dan Cloutier and their first and third round picks in 2000 for it.

The plan was set into motion: Burke acquired the first overall pick from the Lightning for the Blackhawks' fourth overall pick and two third round picks—the compensatory pick for the signing of Jyrki Lumme and the Sabres' pick, which they had acquired earlier for Geoff Sanderson. Then he traded the first pick to the Thrashers for the second overall pick and a conditional third round pick in 2000. The Lightning traded the fourth overall pick to the Rangers for Sundstrom, Cloutier and their first and third round picks the next year.

Going into draft day the Lightning held the first pick, the Thrashers had second, the Canucks third, the Blackhawks fourth. At the end of the day the order went Thrashers, Canucks, Canucks, Rangers. The Thrashers took Stefan first, the Canucks took both Sedin twins with second and third picks (Daniel officially went first) and the Rangers took Brendl.

Brian Burke's manoeuvring at the '99 draft is still considered some of the most shrewd asset management in NHL history. 15 years later the Sedin brothers still play for the Canucks, and are the club's all-time leading scorers (Henrik, despite being chosen after his brother, has more points than Daniel).

1999 NHL Expansion Draft

For more information see the 1998 NHL Expansion Draft

The Atlanta Thrashers were the second of the last four NHL expansion teams to take to the ice. The Nashville Predators debuted in 1998, and in 1999 it was the Thrashers' turn.

The Thrashers were owned by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a division of Time Warner. TBS also owned the Atlanta Hawks basketball club and Atlanta Braves baseball club. Harvey Schiller, president of TBS's Turner Sports division and the Thrashers, hired Don Waddell as the Thrashers' first GM on June 23, 1998 (two months to the day after the "cyber-launch" of the team's logo, unveiled on their website). In his youth Waddell was a defenceman at Northern Michigan University; in fact he was one of the last cuts to not make the 1980 U.S. Olympic team. He played most of his pro hockey career in the IHL, and after he retired as a player in 1988 at the age of 30 he became GM of the IHL's Flint Spirits. By 1995 he had become GM of the IHL's Orlando Solar Bears and a vice-president of RDV Sports, the Solar Bears' parent company that also owned the Orlando Magic basketball club. He left Orlando in 1997 to become assistant GM of the Detroit Red Wings under Ken Holland.

The rules of the 1999 Expansion Draft were set well in advance and were almost identical to the rules of the 1998 Expansion Draft. The only differences were that any team that lost a goalie in 1998 was exempt from losing another in 1999, and in 1999 teams could only chose to protect either one goaltender, five defencemen and nine forwards or two goaltenders, three defencemen and seven forwards—the had been afforded an extra forward or defenceman in 1998.

The Thrashers would chose only one player from each of the other clubs except for the Predators. The Predators, being that they had just finished their first season, were exempt from the draft entirely. Of those 26 players the Thrashers had to choose at least three goaltenders, eight defencemen and 13 forwards; the other two players could be of any position.

The draft announcement was made on Friday, June 25, 1999 beginning at 3:00 pm Eastern Time from the FleetCenter in Boston. A trade freeze went into effect on Sunday the 20th at 5:00 pm (less than 24 hours after the Stanley Cup was won by the Stars), and protected lists were filed on Monday the 21st.

Protected Lists

All teams chose to protect one goalie, five defencemen and nine forwards.

Mighty Ducks of AnaheimBoston BruinsBuffalo SabresCalgary Flames
exemptByron DafoeDominik HasekFred Brathwaite
Kevin HallerRay BourqueJay McKeeTommy Albelin
Jason MarshallKyle McLarenRichard SmehlikJamie Allison
Fredrik OlaussonDon SweeneyRhett WarrenerSami Helenius
Ruslan SaleiMattias TimanderJason WoolleyCale Hulse
Pavel TrnkaDarren Van ImpeAlexei ZhitnikTodd Simpson
Frank BanhamJason AllisonStu BarnesValeri Bure
Ted DonatoKen BelangerCurtis BrownRene Corbet
Travis GreenAnson CarterMichal GrosekHnat Domenichelli
Paul KariyaRob DiMaioBrian HolzingerJarome Iginla
Mike LeclercSteve HeinzeMike PecaAndrei Nazarov
Marty McInnisDmitri KhristichWayne PrimeauJeff Shantz
Steve RucchinRandy RobitailleMiroslav SatanCory Stillman
Teemu SelanneTim TaylorVaclav VaradaJason Wiemer
Jeremy StevensonLandon WilsonDixon WardClarke Wilm
Carolina HurricanesChicago BlackhawksColorado AvalancheDallas Stars
Arturs IrbeJocelyn ThibaultPatrick RoyEd Belfour
Steven HalkoJamie AllisonGreg de VriesDerian Hatcher
Sean HillBrad BrownAdam FooteBrad Lukowich
Marek MalikAnders ErikssonJon KlemmRichard Matvichuk
Nolan PrattBoris MironovAaron MillerDarryl Sydor
Glen WesleyBryan MuirSandis OzolinshSergei Zubov
Bates BattagliaTony AmonteAdam DeadmarshBrett Hull
Ron FrancisEric DazéShean DonovanMike Keane
Martin GelinasDoug GilmourTheoren FleuryJamie Langenbrunner
Sami KapanenJean-Yves LerouxPeter ForsbergJere Lehtinen
Andrei KovalenkoJosef MarhaValeri KamenskyGrant Marshall
Kent MandervilleDean McAmmondClaude LemieuxMike Modano
Jeff O'NeillChris MurrayShjon PodeinJoe Nieuwendyk
Keith PrimeauReid SimpsonJoe SakicDerek Plante
Gary RobertsAlexei ZhamnovStephane YelleJamie Wright
Detroit Red WingsEdmonton OilersFlorida PanthersLos Angeles Kings
Chris OsgoodTommy SaloSean Burkeexempt
Chris CheliosSean BrownBret HedicanAki Berg
Mathieu DandenaultRoman HamrlikFilip KubaRob Blake
Nicklas LidstromChristian LaflammePaul LausJaroslav Modry
Larry MurphyJanne NiinimaaRobert SvehlaMattias Norstrom
Aaron WardJason SmithMike WilsonSean O'Donnell
Kris DraperJosef BeranekPavel BureDonald Audette
Sergei FederovMike GrierRadek DvorakCraig Johnson
Tomas HolmstromBill GuerinRyan JohnsonIan Laperriere
Vyacheslav KozlovChad KilgerViktor KozlovGlen Murray
Martin LapointeGeorges LaraqueBill LindsayZigmund Palffy
Kirk MaltbyTodd MarchantScott MellanbyLuc Robitaille
Darren McCartyEthan MoreauRob NiedermayerBryan Smolinksi
Brendan ShanahanRyan SmythChris WellsJozef Stumpel
Steve YzermanDoug WeightRay WhitneyMarko Tuomainen
Montreal CanadiensNew Jersey DevilsNew York IslandersNew York Rangers
exemptexemptFelix Potvinexempt
Patrice BriseboisKen DaneykoEric CairnsJason Doig
Vladimir MalakhovScott NiedermayerVladimir ChebaturkinBrian Leetch
Craig RivetLyle OdeleinKenny JonssonRumun Ndur
Igor UlanovSheldon SourayRich PilonPeter Popovic
Eric WeinrichScott StevensBarry RichterMathieu Schneider
Benoit BrunetJason ArnottMariusz CzerkawskiAdam Graves
Shayne CorsonPatrik EliasSean HaggertyTodd Harvey
Saku KoivuBobby HolikBrad IsbisterMike Knuble
Trevor LindenRandy McKayOlli JokinenEric Lacroix
Martin RucinskyKrzysztof OliwaJorgen JonssonDarren Langdon
Brian SavageJay PandolfoClaude LapointeJohn MacLean
Turner StevensonDenis PedersonMark LawrencePetr Nedved
Scott ThorntonBrian RolstonMats LindgrenKevin Stevens
Dainius ZubrusPetr SykoraVladimir OrszaghNiklas Sundstrom
Ottawa SenatorsPhiladelphia FlyersPhoenix CoyotesPittsburgh Penguins
Patrick LalimeJohn VanbiesbrouckNikolai KhabibulinTom Barrasso
Igor KravchukAdam BurtKeith CarneySven Butenschon
Janne LaukkanenEric DesjardinsJyrki LummeKevin Hatcher
Lance PitlickKarl DykhuisTeppo NumminenDarius Kasparaitis
Wade ReddenDan McGillisDeron QuintJiri Slegr
Jason YorkChris TherienOleg TverdovskyBrad Werenka
Daniel AlfredssonRod Brind'amourGreg AdamsMatthew Barnaby
Radek BonkKeith JonesShane DoanJan Hrdina
Viacheslav ButsayevDaymond LangkowDallas DrakeJaromir Jagr
Andreas DackellJohn LeclairTavis HansenAlexei Kovalev
Bruce GardinerEric LindrosRobert ReichelRobert Lang
Steve MartinsSandy McCarthyJeremy RoenickKip Miller
Shawn McEachernMark RecchiKeith TkachukIan Moran
Vaclav ProspalMikael RenbergRick TocchetMartin Straka
Alexei YashinValeri ZelepukinJuha YlonenGerman Titov
St. Louis BluesSan Jose SharksTampa Bay LightningToronto Maple Leafs
Roman TurekSteve ShieldsKevin HodsonCurtis Joseph
Jeff FinleyBryan MarchmentDrew BannisterBryan Berard
Al MacInnisJeff NortonCory CrossSylvain Côté
Ricard PerssonMarcus RagnarssonSergey GusevAlexander Karpovtsev
Libor ProchazkaMike RathjePetr SvobodaChris McAllister
Chris ProngerGary Suter Dimitri Yushkevich
Jim CampbellMichal BrosColin ForbesSergei Berezin
Craig ConroyVincent DamphousseChris GrattonMike Johnson
Pavol DemitraJeff FriesenSteve KellyIgor Korolev
Mike EastwoodSteve GuollaMichael NylanderFredrik Modin
Jamal MayersStephane MatteauRobert PetrovickyYanic Perreault
Scott PellerinBrantt MyhresMike SillingerSteve Sullivan
Pascal RhéaumeOwen NolanCorey SpringMats Sundin
Pierre TurgeonMike RicciDarcy TuckerSteve Thomas
Scott YoungRon SternRob ZamunerTodd Warriner
Vancouver CanucksWashington Capitals
Kevin WeekesOlaf Kolzig
Chad AllanSergei Gonchar
Adrian AucoinCalle Johansson
Ed JovanovskiKen Klee
Bryan McCabeJoe Reekie
Jason StrudwickBrendan Witt
Todd BertuzziJames Black
Donald BrashearPeter Bondra
Darby HendricksonBenoit Gratton
Brad MaySteve Konowalchuk
Mark MessierAndrei Nikolishin
Alexander MogilnyAdam Oates
Markus NaslundChris Simon
Dave ScatchardJaroslav Svejkovsky
Harry YorkRichard Zednik

Available Players

In the days leading up to the expansion draft the existing clubs made a few trades:

  • Damian Rhodes from the Senators to the Thrashers for future considerations on June 18 (TRIVIA: Rhodes was therefore the very first Atlanta Thrasher)
  • Ted Donato and the rights to Antti-Jussi Niemi from the Senators to the Mighty Ducks for Patrick Lalime on June 18
  • Mathieu Biron, Josh Green, Olli Jokinen and a first round pick (8th overall—Taylor Pyatt) in the 1999 Entry Draft from the Kings to the Islanders for Marcel Cousineau, Zigmund Palffy, Bryan Smolinski and a fourth round pick in '99 (Daniel Johansson) on June 19
  • Roman Turek from the Stars to the Blues for a second round pick in '99 (Dan Jancevski) on June 20
  • Andrew Brunette from the Predators to the Thrashers for a conditional pick in the 2000 Entry Draft (5th round—Matt Hendricks) on June 21

Rather than try to acquire a starting goalie in the expansion draft Don Waddell made a deal with the Senators for Rhodes. Rhodes and Ron Tugnutt combined to make a very strong goaltending duo in Ottawa, but Tugnutt was coming off an excellent season and Rhodes was a pending Group II restricted free agent. Had they protected both Rhodes and Tugnutt they would have had to have offered a goalie with at least 10 games played in 1998-99; Tugnutt and Rhodes were the only two goalies the Senators played in '98-'99, so they would have had to have acquired one from another team. Being that Rhodes was a pending free agent (albeit restricted) and was expected to demand a hefty pay raise, the Senators acquired Patrick Lalime from the Ducks and traded Rhodes to the Thrashers for future considerations. Reportedly the future considerations were to not select one of the Senators' other goalies in the expansion draft, in effect making both Lalime and Tugnutt safe (officially the Senators protected Lalime). The Thrashers got themselves a bona fide starting goalie without having to draft one in the expansion draft and the Senators came through the draft pretty much scot-free.

The Blues acquired Roman Turek only hours after the Stars won the Stanley Cup. Grant Fuhr was 36 years old and about to turn 37, Jamie McLennan was a solid if unspectacular backup and former Vezina Trophy winner Jim Carey's career was over at this point. The Blues needed a new goalie and they found one in Stars' backup Turek. Turek would lead the Blues to a President's Trophy season in 1999-2000 but became known as a choke artist in the playoffs; the Blues were upset in the first round of the 2000 playoffs by the eighth-place San Jose Sharks and in 2001 they lost unceremoniously to the Avalanche in the conference finals. Turek was traded to the Flames in the summer of 2001.

The Panthers were also looking for at least one new goalie. Sean Burke was an adequate starter, filling in for the departed John Vanbiesbrouck in 1998-99, but backup Kirk McLean was an unrestricted free agent and was sure to leave for greener pastures. They didn't acquire one prior to the trade freeze but they made a deal with the Thrashers, which I write of in more detail below.

You might have noticed that the Thrashers' acquisition of Andrew Brunette was officially made on June 21, after the trade freeze went into effect. Being that the Predators weren't involved in the expansion draft the trade ban didn't apply to deals between the Predators and Thrashers.

The trade between the Islanders and Kings, "the Palffy trade", was an interesting one. The Islanders were owned by Steve Gluckstern, Howard Milstein and Edward Milstein's New York Sports Ventures at the time, and they were embroiled in a dispute with Nassau County officials to replace Nassau County Veterans Memorial Coliseum which even then, 15 years ago as of the writing of this, was in disrepair. Nassau balked at footing the bill for a new arena and in response NYSV said they'd cut the payroll of the Islanders by half in order to stem their losses (estimated to be over $20 million for the '98-'99 season). They had already traded away Bryan Berard, Scott Lachance, Ted Donato, Tommy Salo, Robert Reichel, Sergei Nemchinov and Trevor Linden. Palffy was the team's remaining highest player by far, set to make about $5 million (out of a total payroll of less than $25 million) in 1999-2000.

Leading up to the expansion draft Islanders GM Mike Milbury had been negotiating with the crosstown rival Rangers for Palffy's services; the Broadway Blueshirts could have certainly accommodated Palffy's salary. But there was an wrinkle to the negotiations with the Rangers: Cablevision, the company that owned the Rangers, owned the Islanders' local TV broadcast rights. Tentatively the Rangers offered Niklas Sundstrom, Todd Harvey, a prospect, their 11th overall '99 Entry Draft pick and $2.5 million in cash to the islanders for Palffy and defenceman Rich Pilon. The sticking point was the money. The Islanders' owners wanted more.

Negotiations between the Rangers and Islanders for Palffy went over and above GMs Milbury and Neil Smith's heads, right into the Cablevision corporate boardroom: Gluckstern and the Milsteins would give Palffy and Pilon to the Rangers for Sundstrom, Harvey, the prospect, pick and cash, and other concessions related to their television broadcast agreement (more games on TV, more money for the broadcast rights, etc.). It was also rumoured that NYSV was demanding that Cablevision financially support the construction of a new arena for the Islanders, or help lobby Nassau County officials to build one. Cablevision wouldn't have it and negotiations between the two groups fell apart.

The Kings stepped in and made the Islanders an offer: Palffy for prospects, the 8th overall pick and $2 million. It was suspected that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman himself became involved in the negotiations and would have cancelled the trade on the grounds that the Islanders' owners were deliberately debilitating the team by selling off their player assets for cash. They had already traded away Berard, Salo, Reichel, Linden, etc.; to trade away Palffy without acquiring tangible player assets in return would have crippled the team.

Eventually all parties came to amenable agreement: Palffy, Smolinski (about $1.75 million in payroll), minor league goalie Cousineau and a fourth round pick for 1996 30th overall entry draft pick Josh Green, 1997 3rd overall pick Olli Jokinen, 1998 21st overall pick Mathieu Biron and the 8th overall pick in 1999. Kings GM Dave Taylor was reportedly very hesitant to include Jokinen however Mike Milbury insisted and it was suspected the deal wouldn't have gone through the NHL's vetting without Jokinen's inclusion.

Available Players

Mighty Ducks of AnaheimBoston BruinsBuffalo SabresCalgary Flames
exemptJoakim Persson#Tom DraperIITyler MossII
 Paxton SchaferIIDwayne RolosonAndrei TrefilovII
 Robbie TallasII Ken WreggetIII
Byron BriskeIIDean ChynowethIIJason HollandIISteve BancroftVI
Scott FergusonDave EllettMike HurlbutVIEric CharronII
Jamie PushorIIGrant LedyardIIIJames PatrickIIIDavid CooperVI
Terran SandwithVIAndrei Sapozhnikov#Darryl ShannonTrevor DoyleVI
Dan TrebilYevgeny ShaldybinII Johan Finnstrom#
Pascal TrepanierDennis VaskeIII Pavel Rajnoha#
Nikolai TsulyginTerry VirtueVI Dimitri Riabykin#
 Sergei Zhukov# Steve SmithIII
   Lee SorochanII
Ted DruryKen BaumgartnerRandy CunneyworthBob BassenIII
Stu GrimsonPeter FerraroCraig FisherVIAndrew CasselsV
Peter LeboutillierChris TaylorVIJoe JuneauIIITom ChorskeIII
Eric LecompteII Paul KruseJeff Cowan
Jim McKenzie Scott NicholSteve Dubinsky
Tommi Miettinen# Domenic PittisNils Ekman#
Jeff Nielsen Rob RayJan Hlavac#
Igor NikulinVI Geoff SandersonIIMathias Johansson#
Craig ReichertVI Steffon WalbyVIAndreas Karlsson#
Tomas SandstromIII  Esa Keskinen#
Bob WrenII  Jan Labraaten#
   Jesper Mattsson
   Marty Murray
   Dave RocheII
   Ed Ward
   Sergei Zolotov#
Carolina HurricanesChicago BlackhawksColorado AvalancheDallas Stars
Mike FountainVIKirk DaubenspeckIICraig BillingtonMike Bales
Pat JablonskiIIIMark FitzpatrickIIPetr FranekIIManny FernandezII
Trevor KiddMarc LamotheVI  
Paul CoffeyFrank BialowasJeff BuchananVIPetr Buzek
Joacim Esbjörs#Radim BicanekIIMichael GaulShawn Chambers
Al IafrateIIIDave MansonAlexei GusarovIIIAlan Letang
Dave KarpaIIDoug ZmolekSami HeleniusVIDoug LidsterIII
Curtis Leschyshyn Sylvain LefebvreIIICraig LudwigIII
Mike Rucinski Eric MessierMatt Martin
  Cam RussellIIEvgeny Petrochinin#
Tom BuckleyIISylvain CloutierSerge AubinIIGuy CarbonneauIII
Kevin DineenIIIChris HerpergerVIChris DingmanKelly Fairchild
Dimitri Gorenko#Mark JanssensTomi Hirvonen#Marty FlichelII
Robert KronDavid LingDale HunterIIIAaron GaveyII
Scott LevinsIICraig MillsIIMikael Johansson#Benoit HogueIII
Paul RanheimEd OlczykIIIMartin LamarcheIITony HrkacIII
Ray SheppardIIIBob ProbertTomi Kallio#Lee JinmanII
Kevin SmythRyan VandenbusscheChristian MatteIISergei Luchinkin#
  Jeff OdgersJeff MitchellII
  Warren RycheIIIlDave ReidIII
  Rob ShearerDavid RobertsII
   Brent SeverynIII
   Brian Skrudland
   Pat VerbeekIII
Detroit Red WingsEdmonton OilersFlorida PanthersLos Angeles Kings
Norm MaracleBob EssensaIIIAaron MacDonaldexempt
 Mike MinardIITodd MacDonaldII 
 Steve PassmoreVIKirk McLeanIII 
Todd GillIIIAdam BennettTerry CarknerDave BabychIII
Sean GillamIILadislav BenysekGord MurphyDoug BodgerIII
Yan GolubovskyJason BowenIIDaniel Tjarnqvist#Philippe Boucher
Doug HoudaIIIBrett HauerJeff WareIIGarry Galley
Uwe KruppMarty McSorleyIII Jan NemecekII
Jamie MacounIIICraig Millar Martin Strbak#
Ulf SamuelssonIIIFrank Musil Mark VisheauVI
 Sami Nuutinen  
 Reijo Ruotsalainen  
 Alexander Zhurik  
 Lukas Zib#  
Pavel Agarkov#Kelly BuchbergerChad CabanaIIDan BylsmaII
Doug BrownBrad ChurchIIDino CiccarelliBrandon ConveryII
Wendel ClarkIIIJozef CiernyBrian FarrellIIRuss CourtnallIII
David Engblom#Jeff DawVICraig FergusonAndrew DaleII
Brent GilchristJim DowdIIJohan GarpenlovRay FerraroIII
Petr KlimaIIIPat FalloonIIAlex HicksMatt Johnson
Joey KocurChris FerraroVIKirk MullerNathan Lafayette
Igor LarionovJoe HulbigVIKonstantin ShafranovVISteve McKennaII
Barry PotomskiVIRalph IntranuovoHerberts VasiljevsIIIgor Melyakov#
Andrei Samokvalov#Daniel LacroixV Sandy MogerII
Anatoly UstugovRem MurrayII Jason MorganII
 Martin Reichel# Jason PodollanII
 Keijo Sailynoja# Sean ProngerII
 Alexander Selivanov Chris SchmidtII
 Jussi Tarvainen# Jukka Tiilikainen#
 Vladimir VorobievVI Vladimir TsyplakovII
   Tomas Vlasak#
   Juha Vuorivirta#
   Magnus Wernblom#
Montreal CanadiensNew Jersey DevilsNew York IslandersNew York Rangers
exemptexemptWade FlahertyIIIexempt
  Mark McArthurII 
  Steve Valiquette 
Steve CheredarykIIBrad BombardirIITed CrowleyVIJeff Beukeboom
Brett ClarkKevin DeanDavid HarlockRich BrennanVI
Miloslav GurenVIGeordie KinnearVIDaniel Johansson#Ilja Gorohov#
Marc HusseyVIVlastimil KroupaMike MaderChris O'SullivanVI
Scott LachanceIIKen SuttonDean MalkocAdam SmithII
Alain NasreddineSergei VyshedkevichIIEvgeny NamestnikovVIChris TamerII
Stephane QuintalV Dick Tarnstrom#Brent ThompsonII
Niklas Anger#Dave AndreychukIIINic BeaudoinIIDerek ArmstrongII
Sylvain BlouinVIEric BertrandVladimir Grachev#Kevin BrownVI
Martin GendronVISteve BrulePavel Gross#Christian DubéII
Jonas HoglundIISergei BrylinPeter Hogardh#Bob Errey
Eric HoudeIIBob CarpenterIIIMike HoughIIIBrent FedykIII
J.F. JompheIIScott DanielsIIRyan HuskaIIScott Fraser
Arto Kuki#Bobby HouseVIDane JacksonVIKen Gernander
Trent McClearySasha LakovicCraig JanneyIIIDaniel GoneauII
Boyd OlsonIISergei NemchinovMike KennedyIIChris Kenady
Oleg PetrovVadim SharifijanovTomas Klimt#Radoslav Kropac#
Patrick PoulinJeff WilliamsIIGino OdjickAlexander Lazarenko#
Peter Strom#Dody WoodJoe SaccoIIMike ManelukVI
Sergei ZholtokNikolai Zavarukhin#Jason StewartBrad Smyth
  Steve WebbEsa TikkanenIII
   Rudolf Vercik#
Ottawa SenatorsPhiladelphia FlyersPhoenix CoyotesPittsburgh Penguins
Frederic CassiviIIRon HextallScott LangkowIIBrian LeitzaII
Ron TugnuttNeil LittleVIMikhail Shtalenkov 
  Henrik Smangs# 
  Jimmy WaiteII 
John GrudenArtem Anisimov#‡J.J. DaigneaultJonas Andersson-Junkka#
Chris LuongoIISteve DuchesneIIIGerald DiduckIIIGreg AndrusakVI
Patrick TraverseChris JosephIIJamie HuscroftIIIStefan Bergqvist
 Jeff LankSean McCannBobby DollasIII
 Dave MacIsaacVIStanislav NeckarIIMaxim Galanov
 Luke RichardsonMichel PetitIIITuomas GronmanVI
  Brad TileyViktor IgnatjevVI
   Jeff SerowikVI
   Neil Wilkinson
Bill BergIIIMikael AnderssonMika Alatalo#Jan Alinc#
Phil CroweCraig BerubeIIIBob CorkumIIIBrian BoninVI
Nelson EmersonIIIDennis BonvieVIJim CumminsRob Brown
David Hruska#Marc BureauLouie DebruskTodd HlushkoII
Andreas JohanssonMark GreigJoe DziedzicIIMikhail Kazakevich#
David OliverIIPaul HealeyStephen LeachIIIDan KesaII
Mike ProkopecVIJody HullJocelyn LemieuxIIIJiri Kucera#
Andre RoyPatrik JuhlinFredrik Loven#Patrick LebeauVI
Yves SaraultIIDan KordicIIRob MurrayBrent PetersonVI
Andy SchneiderShawn McCoshBarry NieckarVIRyan SavoiaVI
Shaun Van AllenSteve McLarenBrian NoonanIIIMika Valila#
 Jim MontgomeryMike StapletonTyler WrightII
 Richard ParkIIMike SullivanIIIBoris Zelenko#
 Ruslan Shafikov#Andrei VasilyevVI 
 Radovan Sornik#  
 Martin Streit#  
 Roman Vopat  
 Peter White  
 Jason Zent  
St. Louis BluesSan Jose SharksTampa Bay LightningToronto Maple Leafs
Jim CareyJonas Forsberg#Daren PuppaDoug BonnerII
Grant FuhrSean GauthierCorey SchwabIIGlenn Healy
Jamie McLennanBruce RacineVIDerek WilkinsonIIJeff Reese
 Mike Vernon  
Marc BergevinPeter AllenVIJassen CullimoreKevin DahlII
Rory FitzpatrickIIAlexandre BoikovIIKjell SamuelssonIIIDallas EakinsII
Edwin Frylen#Bill HoulderMichal SykoraIIGlen FeatherstoneII
Yuri Gunko#Angel Nikolov#David WilkieIITommi Rajamaki#
Brian HeimerFredrik Oduya Greg SmythIII
Chris McAlpineIIJon RohloffII Yannick Tremblay
Rudy PoeschekBob Rouse Dmitri Yakushin
Jamie RiversII   
Brad ShawIII   
Geoff SmithII   
Jason Widmer   
Blair AtcheynumIIEric BennettVIJesse BelangerIINiklas AnderssonII
Kelly ChaseShawn BurrJason BonsignoreIILonny BohonosII
Geoff CourtnallJan CalounBrian BradleyIIIAaron BrandII
Tyson NashMike CraigIIColin CloutierIINathan Dempsey
Michel PicardIIMurray CravenAlexandre DaigleMark Deyell
Stephane RoyIIJarrett DeulingStephane RicherTie Domi
Kevin SawyerVIAnatoli Filatov#Paul YsebaertIIIMikael Hakansson#
Shayne ToporowskiTony Granato Derek King
Tony TwistIIITimo Hakanen Kris King
Terry YakeDave LowryIII Ladislav KohnII
 Mikko Markkanen# Marek Melenovsky#
 Joe MurphyIII David NemirovskyII
 Greg PankewiczVI Scott PearsonII
 Teemu Riihijarvi# Garry ValkIII
 Jarrod SkaldeII  
 Ron Sutter  
 Markus Thuresson#  
 Alexei Yegorov  
Vancouver CanucksWashington Capitals
Corey HirschIIStephane Beauregard
Garth SnowIIMartin BrochuVI
 Michael RosatiII
 Rick TabaracciII
Roger Akerstrom#Nolan Baumgartner
Murray BaronPatrick BoileauII
Karri Kivi#Enrico CicconeII
Dana MurzynIIIStewart MalgunasII
Bert RobertssonVIDmitri Mironov
Mark WottonVISteve Poapst
 Mark TinordiIII
Hakan Ahlund#Patrick AugustaVIII—pending Group II restricted free agent
Jevgeni Babariko#Brian BellowsIIIIII—pending Group III unrestricted free agent
Larry CourvilleIIMike EaglesV—pending Group V free agent
Dave GagnerMiika ElomoVI—pending Group VI free agent
Robb GordonIITrevor Halverson#—unsigned European draft choice
Roger Hansson#Mark MajorVI—Artem Vyacheslavovich Anisimov, born 1976 in Kazan, USSR
Trent KlattKelly MillerIII
Stefan Nilsson#Barrie Moore
Darren SinclairIIJeff Nelson
Steve StaiosIIMichal Pivonka
Steve WashburnIIJeff TomsII
Peter ZezelIIIStefan Ustorf

The Draft

Jamie PushorDefencemanMighty Ducks of Anaheim
Peter FerraroRight WingBoston Bruins
Darryl ShannonDefencemanBuffalo Sabres
Ed WardRight WingCalgary Flames
Trevor KiddGoaltenderCarolina Hurricanes
Sylvain CloutierCentreChicago Blackhawks
Tomi KallioRight WingColorado Avalanche
Petr BuzekDefencemanDallas Stars
Norm MaracleGoaltenderDetroit Red Wings
Kelly BuchbergerRight WingEdmonton Oilers
Johan GarpenlovLeft WingFlorida Panthers
Matt JohnsonLeft WingLos Angeles Kings
Brett ClarkDefencemanMontreal Canadiens
Kevin DeanDefencemanNew Jersey Devils
David HarlockDefencemanNew York Islanders
Chris TamerDefencemanNew York Rangers
Phil CroweRight WingOttawa Senators
Jody HullRight WingPhiladelphia Flyers
Mike StapletonCentrePhoenix Coyotes
Maxim GalanovDefencemanPittsburgh Penguins
Terry YakeCentreSt. Louis Blues
Alexei YegorovRight WingSan Jose Sharks
Corey SchwabGoaltenderTampa Bay Lightning
Yannick TremblayDefencemanToronto Maple Leafs
Steve StaiosRight WingVancouver Canucks
Mark TinordiDefencemanWashington Capitals

Like the Predators the year before, the Thrashers were limited to choosing a maximum of six free agents, whether they were restricted or unrestricted. Whereas David Poile picked three Group III unrestricted free agents he thought would sign elsewhere for big money and get him compensatory draft picks in return Don Waddell chose only one: Mark Tinordi of the Washington Capitals. Unfortunately Tinordi neither signed with the Thrashers nor anyone else. In a game in February 1999 Tinordi broke his ankle; it was believed to be relatively minor at the time but would still require a few months of healing and recuperating.

It turned out to be a little more complex and acute than they'd thought. Tinordi broke his talus, one of the tarsal bones of the ankle that has very little blood supply to it and is notorious for taking a long time to heal. The blood flow to his talus actually stopped due to the damage from the incident, and the bone itself became necrotic over the summer of '99. His career was over. He had a bone graft in October 1999, began rehabilitation in February 2000, and never played pro hockey again.

The Predators used five of their expansion draft picks in 1998 on goalies, picking two of the franchise's future starting goalies (Mike Dunham and Tomas Vokoun), a high-priced free agent (Mike Richter) who would net the Predators a high compensatory draft pick, and a couple more whom the Predators could trade for other assets (Frederic Chabot and Mikhail Shtalenkov). By contrast Waddell picked only three goalies; the minimum. He believed he had already found his starting goalie in Damian Rhodes—Rhodes signed a big contract soon after being traded to the Thrashers—so Waddell used his extra picks on defencemen instead. Norm Maracle and Corey Schwab were chosen to battle for the back-up position to Rhodes, and Trevor Kidd was chosen because of a pre-arranged deal.

Remember what I said above about the Florida Panthers needing a new goalie? The Thrashers agreed to chose Trevor Kidd from the Carolina Hurricanes and trade him to the Panthers immediately following the draft for a package of players and a draft pick. It was one of eight trades the Thrashers made on the 25th, following the draft:

  • Panthers traded Gord Murphy, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Herberts Vasiljevs and the Senators' 6th round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft (previously acquired; later traded to the Stars, who selected Justin Cox) to the Thrashers for Trevor Kidd
  • Bruins traded Randy Robitaille to the Thrashers for Peter Ferraro
  • Sabres traded Dean Sylvester to the Thrashers for future considerations
  • Flames traded Andreas Karlsson to the Thrashers for future considerations
  • Red Wings traded Ulf Samuelsson to the Thrashers for future considerations
  • Devils traded Sergei Vyshedkevich to the Thrashers for future considerations
  • Coyotes traded Scott Langkow to the Thrashers for future considerations
  • Canucks traded a 4th round pick (Rob Zepp) and 9th round pick (Ray DiLauro) in the 1999 Entry Draft to the Thrashers for future considerations

Most of the deals were compensation to the Thrashers for staying away from certain players in the expansion draft. The Red Wings for example dealt pending free agent Ulf Samuelsson to the Thrashers as compensation for not selecting Igor Larionov. Samuelsson ended up signing a two-year deal with the Flyers after the 1999-2000 started however the Thrashers didn't receive any compensation due to free agent signings of their own. The Devils parted with Sergei Vyshedkevich as compensation for the Thrashers not taking Sergei Brylin, Sergei Nemchinov, Vadim Sharifijanov or Brad Bombardir.

The Bruins were very optimistic that Peter Ferraro would become a great player. Why they elected to protect Randy Robitaille instead of Ferraro and then trade Robitaille to the Thrashers to get Ferraro back, I don't know. You'd have to ask Harry Sinden. Both were pretty evenly matched in their point production at the AHL level. Ferraro had an unspectacular year for the NHL Bruins but was the AHL Providence Bruins' leading scorer in the playoffs—21 points to Robitaille's 20. Robitaille played almost the entire year in Providence and led the team in regular season scoring with 102 points in 74 games (1.38 points per game), however Ferraro played only 16 games in the AHL regular season but amassed 25 points (1.56 points per game) doing so.

Robitaille was a restricted free agent and refused to sign with the Thrashers, so he was traded to the Predators for Denny Lambert in August 1999 anyway. Over the course of the summer of '99 Don Waddell made several trades to shore up his fledgling roster:

  • Canucks traded the Lightning's first round pick in 1999 (1st overall and previously acquired—the Thrashers selected Patrik Stefan) to the Thrashers for the Thrashers' first round pick in '99 (2nd overall—the Canucks selected Daniel Sedin) and a conditional 3rd round pick in 2000 (traded to the Devils, who selected Max Birbraer) on June 26
  • Predators traded future considerations to the Thrashers for Phil Crowe on June 26
  • Stars traded Per Svartvadet to the Thrashers for the Panthers' 6th round pick in 1999 (previously acquired—the Stars selected Justin Cox) on June 26
  • Maple Leafs traded Martin Prochazka to the Thrashers for a 6th round pick in 2001 (Maxim Kondratiev) on July 15
  • Stars traded Jason Botterill and cash to the Thrashers for Jamie Pushor on July 15
  • Predators traded Denny Lambert to the Thrashers for the rights to Randy Robitaille on August 16
  • Mighty Ducks traded an 8th round pick in 2000 (Evan Nielsen) to the Thrashers for Ladislav Kohn on September 27 (the Thrashers acquired Kohn with the first pick in the waiver draft that day)

The Thrashers also signed Nelson Emerson and Ray Ferraro as free agents (the gain of two free agents versus the loss of one—Ulf Samuelsson—in the summer of '99 meant that the Thrashers received no compensatory draft picks for losing Samuelsson), and lost Terry Yake in the 1999 Waiver Draft.

Of the 26 players chosen by the Thrashers in the '99 Expansion Draft four were traded before the team's first training camp, another eight were gone by the end of the first season, and four more were gone over the following season. By the end of the 2001-2002 season, the Thrashers' third, only four players remained from the 26 chosen in the expansion draft. Tomi Kallio was traded to the Avalanche on December 2, 2002, Norm Maracle left after the 2002-2003 season, Yannick Tremblay left after the 2003-2004 season, and Chris Tamer was the only one who finished out his career with the organization, retiring as a player in 2005.

Roster turnover like that isn't uncommon for an NHL expansion team (the Predators lost a similar number over a similar time) but unfortunately for the Thrashers their group of expansion draftees was by far the worst of the four 1998-2000 expansion clubs. The Thrashers finished their first season with a dismal 14-57-7-4 record, good for only 39 points. It was the worst expansion team since the 1992-93 Senators' 24-point squad, and the worst team since the 1993-94 Senators' 37 points. No team has been as dismal since.


© 2012-2017 Mark Parsons