With the NHL draft just a day away, all the focus is on Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett as well as all the rumors of which teams are interested in moving up in the draft on Day 1. But what about Day 2? Some good NHLers can be had in Rounds 2 through 7, though you won't know it when their names are called.
In fact there are 27 current full-time NHLers who were taken in the very last round of their draft year. to qualify for this list, you have to have played the full season in 2013-14. So, for instance, Minnesota's speedy Erik Haula doesn't make it because he played 46 games with the Wild and 31 with AHL Iowa. Make up this list next year and Haula's name will likely appear.
The following payers were taken in what's supposed to be the most meaningless round in the NHL draft. But some of these guys had solid carers, while others are just beginning to have influence.
Craig Adams, Round 9 - 223rd overall
This was the second-last draft pick the Hartford Whalers franchise would ever make (Latvia's Askhat Rakhmatulin). The Penguins' leader in shorthanded minutes this season has one year remaining on his contract at a $700,000 cap hit. At 37 years old, his career is winding down, but Adams has been a defensive presence on two Cup-winning teams.
Sami Salo, Round 9 - 239th overall
The Senators got Salo with the third-to-last pick in the '96 draft and he's still around today. Salo, who will be 40 at the start of next season, scored 17 points in 71 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He doesn't have great speed anymore, but he's still a capable puck-mover. Will someone sign the veteran for another go around the NHL?
P-A Parenteau, Round 9 - 264th overall
It took Parenteau six years after he was drafted to make the NHL, playing five games for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2006-07. But after that season, Parenteau wouldn't return to the NHL until 2009-10 as a member of the New York Rangers. He came onto the radar with the Islanders, scoring 20 goals in 2010-11 and 67 points in 2011-12, which he parlayed into four-year, $16 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche. Now it looks like the Avs are trying to trade the 31-year-old. Parenteau has more career NHL points than the combined totals of the No. 3 and 5 picks in his draft year (Alexander Svitov, Stanislav Chistov).
Adam Burish, Round 9 - 282nd overall
He won a Cup with Chicago, played two years in Dallas and signed a four-year contract with San Jose. Burish, who will turn 32 next season, has 26 career goals, which may not seem like much, but it's more than nine of the first round picks from his draft year scored.
Jonathan Ericsson, Round 9 - 291st overall
He is one of two players on this list to be taken with the very last pick in the draft. Yet Ericsson has become a key piece of Detroit's defense. He averaged 21:14 of ice time this season and is signed through the next six seasons at a $4.25 million cap hit. Another Swedish defenseman, Staffan Kronwall, was taken by Toronto just six picks before Ericsson.
Matt Moulson, Round 9 - 263rd overall
The Pittsburgh Penguins nabbed Moulson here (even though they've had a real hard time drafting forwards lately), but they never signed him so he joined the Kings franchise as a free agent in 2006 after attending Cornell for four years. They too let him go and when Moulson joined the New York Islanders, his career took a sudden turn for the better. Moulson scored 30 goals in his first season on Long Island and reached that benchmark twice more. He ale played for Buffalo and Minnesota this season after bouncing around in trades and is scheduled to become a UFA on July 1.
Tanner Glass, Round 9 - 265th overall
The Penguins may not have Moulson anymore, but they had Glass to grind it out on the depth lines this year (yay!). The Florida Panthers were the ones who drafted Glass, who has also played in Vancouver and Winnipeg in his career. He'll be a UFA in a few days, too.
Jaroslav Halak, Round 9 - 271st overall
Montreal's last pick in 2003 ended up being their best one, but they eventually had to trade Halak after a miraculous playoff run to keep room for Carey Price. Halak had shown signs of strength in a backup role, but announced himself on the NHL scene in a 2010 run to the East final. The Habs shipped him off to the Blues that summer for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz, and Halak won the William Jennings Trophy in 2012. Now he's with the Islanders, who signed him to a four-year deal with a $4.5 million cap hit earlier this month.
David Jones, Round 9 - 288th overall
Eight years after he was drafted, Jones scored 27 goals for the team that drafted him. But the Colorado Avalanche couldn't afford to keep his $4 million cap hit on the books after two years of decline, so they shipped him off to Calgary for Cory Sarich and Alex Tanguay. This year, Jones scored nine goals in 48 games with the Flames. Here's betting the soon-to-be 30-year-old won't hit 27 goals again.
Brian Elliott, Round 9 - 291st overall
Only Bondarev, Arseny Bondarev, was picked after Elliott in 2003. After a couple up and down years with the Senators, they shipped him to Colorado for Craig Anderson, who has worked out pretty well there. Elliott, however, did not work out in Colorado. He posted an .891 save percentage in 12 games and was released to free agency, where the St. Louis Blues nabbed him. He made a pretty good tandem pair with Jaroslav Halak and will now work with the Blues' goalie of the future, Jake Allen.
Mark Streit, Round 9 - 262nd overall
The Montreal Canadiens drafted Streit when he was 26 years old and, right after the lockout, he joined the Canadiens for 48 games. He played there for three seasons before becoming a UFA and signing a five-year deal with the New York Islanders, where he was never able to equal the 62-point season he posted with Montreal. Streit was still a strong, productive puck-mover for the Islanders, though his point totals have fallen every year since 2009. That didn't stop the Flyers from signing him to a four-year deal with a $5.25 million cap hit last summer - but then again, few things stop the Flyers from spending like drunken sailors.
Daniel Winnik, Round 9 - 265th overall
The Phoenix Coyotes tabbed Winnik late in 2004 and he made the NHL as a full-timer in 2007-08, scoring 26 points. As a free agent in 2010, he signed a two-year deal with the Avalanche and after they traded him at the tail end of that deal to San Jose, Winnik became a free agent again and signed with Anaheim where he's been the past two years. Just this season, Winnik scored a career-high 30 points and logged the most shorthanded minutes of all Ducks forwards.
Grant Clitsome, Round 9 - 271st overall
Clitsome was just starting out at Clarkson University when the Columbus Blue Jackets picked him in the final round and he wouldn't make his NHL debut for six more years. But in 2011-12, Clitsome struggled with the Blue Jackets and was claimed off waivers by the Winnipeg Jets, where he's been ever since. He averaged 19:47 of ice time in 32 games this season and still has two years, at a $2 million cap hit, left on his contract.
Jannik Hansen, Round 9 - 287th overall
A forward who had a rising stock with Vancouver until, like everything else in Canuck Land this year, it came to a crashing halt under John Tortorella. The 28-year-old is one to keep an eye on for a bounce back year in 2014-15. He'll be starting a brand new four-year extension with a $2.5 million cap hit which, if he gets back on track, will turn out to be a bargain by the end of it.
Joe Vitale, Round 7 - 195th overall
Gone are the days of Rounds 8 and 9. The Penguins started the 2005 draft by picking up Sidney Crosby and ended it by selecting Vitale (they got Kris Letang in between). A small energy player who is one of the lesser-known fan favorites in Pittsburgh, Vitale barely averaged more than 10 minutes a game in 2013-14. He scored one goal this season, which equalled the career goal totals of Ryan O'Marra, Ryan Parent, Kenndal McArdle, Matt Lashoff and Matt Pelech, who were all first-rounders in 2005.
Colin Greening, Round 7 - 204th overall
A depth player who has 14 goals over his past 123 NHL games, Greening earned a raise from $816,667 to $2.65 million on a three year deal that starts next season. The St. John's, Nfld., native spent four years at Cornell and only one in the American League before graduating to the Senators, which has been his NHL home ever since.
Anton Stralman, Round 7 - 216th overall
Obviously, Stralman was an afterthought when the Toronto Maple Leafs picked him in the last round in 2005, but he never really got much attention for the two years he was in Columbus either. In fact, he's been with the New York Rangers for the past three years, but didn't really hit the radar screen until this year, when he garnered a lot of praise for his playoff contribution en route to the Cup final. Now he's a free agent seeking some term and stability. Will he get it from the Rangers? Should he get it from anyone?
Patric Hornqvist, Round 7 - 230th overall
No one was picked after Hornqvist this year. the very last pick in this draft took only three years to arrive in the NHL with the Nashville Predators, where he's developed into one of the better and most productive players on the team. This year, he was the Predators' top-scoring forward, notching 22 goals and 53 points. He has four years with a $4.25 million cap hit left on his deal, which also has a modified no-trade clause. Nashville's first pick in 2005? Ryan Parent.
Derek Dorsett, Round 7 - 189th overall
The Columbus Blue Jackets took Dorsett after he scored 25 goals and logged 279 penalty minutes for the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers in 2005-06. His career-best in the NHL is 12 goals and 235 penalty minutes, which he accomplished in 2011-12. This year, he played 23 games in the New York Rangers' Stanley Cup final run, scoring one assist along the way.
Erik Condra, Round 7 - 211th overall
The Senators got Condra with the third-last pick in 2006 after his freshman season with Notre Dame. He'd play three more years with the Irish before moving on to the American League. Now, Condra makes $1.25 million against the cap as a penalty-killer and scored 16 points in 76 games this season. He'll turn 28 this summer.
Carl Gunnarsson, Round 7 - 194th overall
Hey, the Toronto Maple Leafs did something right! The Swedish defender may be a source of debate among Leafs fans and a constant presence in the rumour mill, but he's developed into a pretty good second-pair NHL defenseman who averages nearly 20 minutes of ice time per night. He has two years left on his contract with a $3.15 million cap hit and scored 17 points this season. Like him or not, Leafs fans, he's one of the better blueliners you have right now.
Justin Braun, Round 7 - 201st overall
Braun isn't a big point-getter, but he's one of those younger (he's 27) guys the San Jose Sharks are starting to lean on more. As Dan Boyle's ice time fell, Braun's grew and he averaged 20:59 of ice this season - slightly more than Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Braun's four goals and 17 points this season set a career-high.
Jason Demers, Round 7 - 186th overall
Speaing of the Sharks' new core, Demers is another key part of that blueline. He was fourth among Sharks 'D' with 19:29 of ice time and he can bring it on the score sheet better than Braun. Demers notched five goals and a career-high 34 points this season. Demers is an RFA right now, coming off a deal that paid him $1.5 million against the cap.
Matt Bartkowski, Round 7 - 190th overall
The Florida Panthers drafted Bartkowski, but he never played for them or an affiliate. Bartkowski was part of the trade that sent Dennis Seidenberg to Boston and the 26-year-old just finished his first full NHL season. Bartkowski didn't score in his 64 games this season, but he did get 18 assists and averaged 19:32 of ice time. Bartkowski will earn a nice new contract as an RFA this summer.
Anders Lindback, Round 7 - 207th overall
Lindback was the last goalie picked in his draft year, but he's certainly panned out better than the first goalie picked - Chet Pickard. Both of them were picked by Nashville and by the time the PReds traded Lindback to the Tampa Bay Lightning, he seemed ready to assume a starter's role in the NHL. That didn't work out as planned. Lindback posted an uninspiring .902 SP in 2012-13, which forced GM Steve Yzerman to pick up Ben Bishop near the end of the season. Bishop was the guy for Tampa Bay this year, finishing as a Vezina finalist, while Lindback struggled in the backup role and lost four straight in the playoffs.
Jordan Nolan, Round 7 - 186th overall
The son of NHL and Latvian coach Ted, Jordan is an energy player on the champion Los Angeles Kings roster. He's scored 20 points in 134 career regular season games and already has two Cup rings. Right now, Minnesota's Haula is the other one to watch from this draft's final round.
Ondrej Palat, Round 7 - 208th overall
Before him, Washington picked Garrett Haar. After him, Pittsburgh claimed Scott Wilson. But at 208, the Tampa Bay Lightning landed Calder Trophy finalist Ondrej Palat. The 23-year-old Czech finished second to Nathan MacKinnon in the rookie scoring race this season, notching 23 goals and 59 points in 81 games. Most of his scoring came in the second half of the season, as he finished the year with 44 points in his last 42 games.