The 1986 NHL Draft: A Look Back

The 1986 NHL Draft is considered one of the best drafts in league history, with several Hall of Famers being selected. Let’s take a look back at that draft and see how it has impacted the league today.

Introduction

The 1986 NHL Draft will forever be remembered as the draft that produced many of the game’s all-time greats. It has been referred to as the “greatest Draft Class in NHL history” and it is not hard to see why. A total of 210 players were drafted in 1986 and many of them went on to have Hall of Fame caliber careers. In fact, 14 players from the 1986 draft have already been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame Not bad for a single draft class!

In this article, we will take a look back at the 1986 NHL Draft and see how it has affected the game of hockey today. We will also take a look at some of the biggest names that were drafted that year and see where they are now.

The 1986 NHL Draft

The 1986 NHL Entry Draft was held at the Montreal Forum in Montreal, Quebec.

It is widely considered to be one of the best drafts in NHL history with six of the first seven picks later becoming inductees to the Hockey Hall of Fame

The top two picks were goaltender Mario Lemieux and defenceman Brian Leetch. Lemieux went on to have a legendary career with the Pittsburgh Penguins while Leetch enjoyed a successful 18-year career with the New York Rangers

Other notables from the 1986 draft include centre Joe Nieuwendyk (third overall), defenceman Chris Chelios (40th overall), and goaltender Patrick Roy (51st overall).

The First Round

In 1986, the NHL Draft was a much different event than it is today. There were no televised Draft Lottery drawings and no trading of picks. The first round of the draft consisted of 21 picks, with each of the then 21 NHL Teams making one selection.

The top pick in the 1986 NHL Draft was center Joe Murphy, who was selected by the Detroit Red Wings Murphy would go on to have a long and successful NHL career playing for six different teams over 16 seasons. He was a member of the 1995 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and also represented Canada at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Other notable players drafted in the first round of the 1986 NHL Draft include:
Brendan Shanahan (2nd overall, New Jersey Devils),
Rod Brind’Amour (9th overall, St. Louis Blues),
Gary Roberts (12th overall, Calgary Flames),
Jeremy Roenick (8th overall, Chicago Blackhawks).

The Second Round

In the 1986 NHL Draft 86 young men were selected to continue their hockey careers at the professional level. Of those 86 players, 21 have had their names engraved on the Stanley Cup This is an incredible number, considering that less than 25% of the players drafted in the second round have had successful NHL careers. In fact, many of the players drafted in the second round of the 1986 NHL Draft have already been forgotten. In this article, we will take a look back at the second round of the 1986 NHL Draft and try to answer the question: where are they now?

The Third Round

It’s been 30 years since the 1986 NHL draft and it’s time to take a look back at one of the most important drafts in history. The third round of the draft is often considered to be the most important, as it’s where many future NHL stars are found. In this round, teams often have to choose between potential and need, and it’s always a tough decision.

In 1986, the third round began with the Quebec Nordiques selecting Mats Sundin with the 49th overall pick. Sundin would go on to have a Hall of Fame career, becoming one of the best Swedish players ever to play in the NHL. He scored 1,349 points in 1,346 games, and was an integral part of the Colorado Avalanche’s Stanley Cup winning team in 1996.

With the 50th overall pick, the Detroit Red Wings selected Vladimir Konstantinov, who would also have a Hall of Fame career. Konstantinov was a key part of the Red Wings’ dynasty in the late 1990s, winning three Stanley Cups with the team. He was tragically injured in a car accident just days after winning the 1997 Stanley Cup and he was never able to play again.

The New York Rangers selected Sergei Zubov with the 51st overall pick. Zubov went on to have a very successful NHL career scoring 1,032 points in 1,068 games. He was a key member of the Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup winning team, and he also won a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999.

With the 52nd overall pick, The Pittsburgh Penguins selected Mario Lemieux. Lemieux is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in NHL history and he is certainly one of the greatest draft picks of all time. Lemieux scored 1,723 points in 915 games, and he won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins. He is also one of only three players in NHL history to score 200 points or more in a season (1985-86).

The Fourth Round

The 1986 NHL Entry Draft was held at the Montreal Forum in Montreal, Quebec, on June 21, 1986.

One of the more interesting draft facts is that St. Louis Blues’ GM Emile Francis passed on future Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens with the fourth overall pick in order to take goaltender Curtis Joseph 13th overall. As it turns out, Francis’s decision worked out quite well for the Blues as “Cujo” went on to have a stellar NHL career while Stevens was selected by the Washington Capitals with the next pick and was traded to the New Jersey Devils in 1991.

In addition to Joseph and Stevens, several other future NHL stars were drafted in the fourth round of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft including:
-Joe Nieuwendyk (27th overall by Calgary Flames) – A two-time Stanley Cup champion and Calder Trophy winner, Nieuwendyk was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
-Gary Suter (180th overall by Calgary Flames) – A member of the “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic team, Suter won a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989 and is a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame
-Ray Whitney (116th overall by Detroit Red Wings) – Still playing at age 42, Whitney has played over 1,300 NHL games and has represented Canada at two World Championships

The Fifth Round

In the 1986 NHL Draft 204 players were selected over 10 rounds. There were 58 players chosen in the fifth round. Of those 58 players only Nine have played in at least 500 NHL regular season games. None of the nine have reached 1000 career NHL Games played. Steve Leach is the only one with more than 700 points.

The following is a list of the nine player’s drafted in the fifth round of the 1986 draft that have played in at least 500 NHL regular season games:
-Steve Leach (716)
-Dan Quinn (573)
-Mosiello Housley (553)
-Joe Reekie (514)
-Gary Leeman (511)
-Craig Simpson (503)

The Sixth Round

The 1986 NHL Draft was held on June 21, 1986, at the Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. A total of 210 players were drafted. In the sixth round teams took a chance on some players who would go on to have successful NHL careers.

Players drafted in the sixth round included future All-Stars Sergei Zubov and Mike Vernon. Vernon would go on to win the Stanley Cup twice, with the Calgary Flames in 1989 and the Detroit Red Wings in 1997. Zubov would play 1,068 games in the NHL, recording 888 points. He was a member of the 1994 Stanley Cup winning New York Rangers team.

Other notable sixth-round picks include Stu Grimson, who played 1,162 games in the NHL; Bob Probert who played 935 games; Gary Roberts, who played 1,224 games; and Geoff Sanderson, who played 1,056 games.

The Seventh Round

Of the 210 players drafted in 1986, only 18 of them – less than 9 percent – played more than 500 NHL Games Just four players drafted in the seventh round or later went on to play more than 1,000 games. In comparison, 21 percent of the players drafted in the first round played more than 500 NHL Games and nearly half of them (48 percent) topped 1,000 games.

The Eighth Round

By the eighth round of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft most of the NHL teams had already filled out their rosters with what they hoped would be the next wave of superstars. But for a few late-round draftees, including Future Hall of Famer Scott Stevens, the dream of playing in the NHL was just beginning.

The eighth round featured a total of 21 picks, with each team making at least one selection. As is often the case with late-Round Draft picks, many of them never made it to the NHL level. But there were a few diamonds in the rough, including Stevens, who was drafted by the Washington Capitals with the No. 135 overall pick.

Stevens would go on to play 22 seasons in the NHL, winning three Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils and becoming one of the greatest defensemen of his generation. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007 and his No. 4 jersey has been retired by both the Devils and his hometown St. Louis Blues

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