The 4 Teams That Passed Up Jaromir Jagr
The 1990 NHL Entry Draft produced a simply outstanding crop of players. The draft consisted of twelve rounds and 252 prospects were selected. Of those 252, 98 went on to play at least a game in the National Hockey League. Nine first round picks have since played over 1,000 games in the NHL. 15 total players have played over 1,000 NHL games.
21 players were picked in the first round. It was one of the final NHL drafts dominated by Canadian players. 17 of the 21 players came out of the Canadian Hockey League (8 OHL, 7 WHL, 2 QMJHL). Two came from the U.S. University system, one came out of a U.S. high school program (Keith Tkaczuk) and just one came out of Europe. By just 1992, ten of the 24 first round picks came directly from Europe.
A look at the top 5 picks from 1990:
Owen Nolan – Quebec Nordiques
Nolan was selected first overall out of the Cornwall Royals in the Ontario Hockey League. In 1989-90, Owen played 58 games with Cornwall, scoring 51 goals and assisting on 60 for 111 points. He also sat out an amazing 240 minutes in penalties. In the OHL, Nolan was fourth for goals and points and third in penalty minutes.
Owen played 1,200 regular season games in the National Hockey League from 1990-91 to 2009-10 with the Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild. After Quebec was relocated to Denver, Nolan played just nine games with the Avalanche before being traded to the Sharks for Sandis Ozolinsh. Thus, he missed out on Colorado’s 1996 Stanley Cup championship. He finished up his pro career in 2010-11 with Zurich in Switzerland’s National League A.
Petr Nedved – Vancouver Canucks
Nedved was a European player but was drafted out of the WHL, where he played the 1989-90 season with the Seattle Thunderbirds. In his only year in the WHL, he scored 65 goals and assisted on 80 for 145 points in 71 games. In an offensive era in the WHL, his point total placed him just sixth in the league.
Petr played 982 regular season games in the NHL from 1990-91 to 2006-07 with the Canucks, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes and Philadelphia Flyers. He has a connection with the three of the other four top five picks in 1990. He played with Jaromir Jagr in Pittsburgh, with Mike Ricci in Phoenix and with Keith Primeau in Philadelphia.
Nedved is still active, playing in the Czech Republic’s Extraliga since 2007-08. He has been with HC Liberec since the 2008-09 season.
Keith Primeau – Detroit Red Wings
The scoring leader in the OHL for the 1989-90 season was selected third overall by the Red Wings. His 57 goals and 127 points with the Niagara Falls Thunder were both tops in the league, earning him the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy.
Primeau played 909 regular season games in the NHL between 1990-91 and 2005-06 with the Red wings, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers. Like Owen Nolan, Keith’s chance at a Stanley Cup championship was thwarted by a trade. He was sent to Hartford, along with Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey, in exchange for Brendan Shanahan and missed out on Detroit’s Stanley Cup run.
Mike Ricci – Philadelphia Flyers
In 1989-90, with the Peterborough Petes, Ricci finished third, behind Keith Primeau, in goals and points with 52 and 116. Mike played 1,099 regular season NHL games between 1990-91 and 2006-07 with the Flyers, Nordiques, Avalanche, San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes. Unlike Primeau and Nolan, Ricci was traded into a Stanley Cup champion, sent from Philadelphia to Quebec in the infamous Eric Lindros deal. He won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1995-96, their first year after relocating from Quebec.
Jaromir Jagr – Pittsburgh Penguins
The only player drafted out of Europe in the first round of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. Jagr was picked fifth overall by the Penguins from HC Kladno in the Czech Republic. His hockey career since has been nothing short of legendary, placing him among a handful of greats like Gretzky, Howe, Lemieux, Messier and Orr.
Jaromir, to date, has played 1,391 NHL regular season games since 1990-91 with the Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins. He won two Stanley Cup championships in his first two years with Pittsburgh. Jagr has been awarded the Art Ross Trophy five times as NHL scoring leader. He has won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP just once.
Jagr currently stands tenth all-time for goals scored with 681, just nine behind his mentor, Mario Lemieux. He sits nine assists behind Joe Sakic for 11th spot all-time with 1,007. There are just 12 players in NHL history to record over 1,000 assists in a career. In points, Jagr sits eighth with 1,688. Fourth and fifth spot are within reach with Marcel sitting in fifth with 1,771 points and Ron Francis in fourth with 1,798.