Underrated 1993 draft class was full of NHL talent

When Jason Arnott officially announced his retirement after a solid 18-year career, it further dwindled one of the most underrated draft classes in NHL history.

When Jason Arnott officially announced his retirement after a solid 18-year career, it further dwindled one of the most underrated draft classes in NHL history. There are just four NHL players from the 1993 draft – Saku Koivu, Todd Bertuzzi, Hal Gill and Kimmo Timonen – still active in the NHL. Chris Pronger, the second overall choice and the best player in that draft, is still considered an active player, but Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren told recently that Pronger will never play again. Miroslav Satan, another player from the ’93 draft, is playing for Bratislava Slovan of the KHL and will perform for Slovakia in the Sochi Olympics.

There has been better top-end talent in other drafts to be sure, but few drafts compare to ’93 when it comes to sheer volume of NHL players produced. Pronger is the only Hall of Famer in the bunch and it did spawn one of the bigger No. 1 overall busts in history in Alexandre Daigle, but where the draft class is most impressive is in its overall production of NHL talent. For example, 19 of the 26 players taken in the first round that year played at least 400 career games. That’s 73.1 percent, which puts it only behind the 1978, ‘79,’83 and ’91 drafts in that department. Just as impressively, each of the first 14 players taken in the draft hit the 400-game plateau. The only draft with a better record than that was the 1979 draft, which saw each of the top 17 picks play at least 400 games. But you have to remember that 1979 was when the 18-year-old draft came into being, which basically made the crop a double cohort of the best 18- and 19-year-old players available. It will be interesting to see which of the players will be the last one standing. All four who are left are pending unrestricted free agents. Timonen has already said this will be his last season and Gill has played only two games for the Flyers this season. That leaves Koivu and Bertuzzi, who will likely both play beyond this season.
1993 DRAFT TOP 10

Pictures from THN’s ’93 Draft Preview 1. Alexandre Daigle
Games: 616. Goals: 129. Assists: 198. Points: 327.
Played for: Ottawa, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, NY Rangers, Pittsburgh, Minnesota.
Scout from 1993 Draft Preview: “He’s the best player. I can see signs of greatness in him.” 2. Chris Pronger
Games: 1167. Goals: 157. Assists: 541. Points: 698.
Played for: Hartford, St. Louis, Edmonton, Anaheim, Philadelphia.
Scout from 1993 Draft Preview: “I don’t see how any team, other than Ottawa, could possibly pass on Pronger. To get a defenseman that big, that skilled, and that smart, well, they just don’t come along very often.” 3. Chris Gratton
Games: 1092. Goals: 214. Assists: 354. Points: 568.
Played for: Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Phoenix, Colorado, Florida, Columbus.
Scout from 1993 Draft Preview: “There is an awful lot of Kirk Muller in Chris Gratton. He plays the game the way it is meant to be played.” 4. Paul Kariya
Games: 989. Goals: 402. Assists: 587. Points: 989.
Played for: Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville, St. Louis.
Scout from 1993 Draft Preview: “The small a player is, the more difficult it is to carry a team on his shoulders. So you just have to ask yourself before you draft him, ‘Do you expect him to carry your team?’” 5. Rob Niedermayer
Games: 1153. Goals: 186. Assists: 283. Points: 469.
Played for: Florida, Calgary, Anaheim, New Jersey, Buffalo.
Scout from 1993 Draft Preview: “He’ll get his share (of goals) and do far more than just score.” 6. Viktor Kozlov
Games: 897. Goals: 198. Assists: 339. Points: 537.
Played for: San Jose, Florida, New Jersey, Washington
Scout from 1993 Draft Preview: “He’s not posting good numbers at any level. His intensity is out more than it is in. But there have been shifts when he has done it all. He could still turn out to be a premier player.” 7. Jason Arnott
Games: 1244. Goals: 417. Assists: 521. Points: 938.
Played for: Edmonton, New Jersey, Dallas, Nashville, Washington, St. Louis.
Scout from 1993 Draft Preview: “He still has to learn the physical game. There is a very big upside here because of his offensive skills, but some risk, too. He’s going to have to increase his determination level by a lot.” 8. Niklas Sundstrom
Games: 750. Goals: 117. Assists: 232. Points: 349.
Played for: NY Rangers, San Jose, Montreal.
Scout from 1993 Draft Preview: “You could call him a poor man’s Peter Forsberg. He might turn out to be just as good as Forsberg.” 9. Todd Harvey
Games: 671. Goals: 91. Assists: 132. Points: 223.
Played for: Dallas, NY Rangers, San Jose, Edmonton.
Scout from 1993 Draft Preview: “He’s in the Bobby Clarke mold. He’s tough as nails, wins faceoffs, scores goals, he does it all.” 10. Jocelyn Thibault
Games: 586. SP: .904. GAA: 2.75. Wins: 238.
Played for: Quebec/Colorado, Montreal, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Buffalo.
Scout from 1993 Draft Preview: “I’ve seen his psychological profile and this kid loves pressure and the challenge of proving himself.” 1993 REVISIONIST HISTORY TOP 10 1. Chris Pronger (2) 2. Paul Kariya (4) 3. Jason Arnott (7) 4. Saku Koivu (21) 5. Pavol Demitra (227) 6. Vaclav Prospal (71) 7. Kimmo Timonen (250) 8. Miroslav Satan (111) 9. Jason Allison (17) 10. Darcy Tucker (151)

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