1996 was during that time when Quebec Goaltenders were the hottest thing going. Everyone was looking for the next Roy. Unfortunately in the 96 draft they pretty much got everything but Roy. How bad was it? After talking with Keith, we both considered Steve Valliquette the second best goalie taken in the draft. So who were the goalies taken and what did they do? Let’s take a look.
Round 1, 23rd Overall
He played a total of 47 games across 2 seasons in the AHL, with a save percentage of .871. Went on to play for 4 different ECHL teams during which time he posted an even worse SV%. Played in the UHL and CHL in 03-04 before leaving hockey.
Round 2, 44th Overall
Well I mentioned Big Valley was the 2nd best goalie taken in the draft. Garon is easily the best goalie taken, considering he has 323 NHL games played . It took almost 10 years for him to make the NHL, but he has mostly been a backup or splitting starts with someone since then. He also got a Cup Ring playing with the Penguins.
Round 2, 50th Overall
After finishing his career in the QMJHL, he played 47 games across 3 seasons in the AHL, mostly posting a sub .900 SV%. Played another 50 games in the ECHL across 2 seasons before ending his career after the 00-01 season.
Round 2, 52nd Overall
After leaving the OHL, Miller proceeded to play 60ish games for the AHL, ECHL and IHL across 3 seasons. His one game in the IHL was promising, but otherwise he continued with a sub .900 SV% like he had during his time in the OHL. Called it quits after 2 seasons in the CHL.
Round 3, 55th Overall
Played a total of 8 AHL games, largely bouncing around the WCHL, ECHL, SPHL and UHL. Although he had a .909 SV% during his final 7 game AHL stint, he regressed the following year in the WCHL with an .879 SV%. In 04 and 05 he improved to an above 900 SV% in each season before leaving hockey. Interesting Footnote, he was drafted one pick before Zdeno Chara.
Round 3, 74th Overall
After graduating from college, Weninger played with Hillier at Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton the Penguins affiliate. He played 25 games with a .879 SV%. He also played 6 ECHL games that year, before leaving hockey. He was goalie coach for a season at St Cloud State in 04-05.
Round 4, 83rd Overall
He played 3 NHL games for the Flames as an emergency callup from his OHL team. He was sent back to the AHL the following season, played 19 games with an .874 SV%. He bounced around a few ECHL teams, played one more AHL game before going to Europe for a year, and then 2 years in the SPHL.
Round 4, 107th Overall
Played 1 AHL game after Jrs in 98-99. Proceeded to bounce around the ECHL and IHL between 98-99 and 01-02. Finally got a chance in 02-03 playing 30 AHL games and a .917 SV%, but never got back up to those heights and finished his career in the ECHL.
Round 5, 124th Overall
Never came to North America. Played 30 games in his draft year and then played a total of 34 games over the next 3 years.
Round 5, 135th Overall
Played 3 years in Jrs. Played in the UHL and CHL for 3 seasons before returning to Europe and playing there for 2 seasons in the Czech league.
Round 6, 137th Overall
Another player who ended up playing on the WB/S Penguins with Wenninger and Hillier. He made the NHL the following season as a member of the Blackhawks and most likely an emergency callup as he played 3 games with an .847 SV%. Played 35 games the following season in the AHL before retiring.
Round 6, 139th Overall
Okay, when I originally looked over the draft I must have missed Esche, who actually won the William Jennings trophy along with Roman Chechmanek in 02-03. In 8 seasons he played a total of 186 NHL games though. I apologize to Esche who obviously had a better career then Valiquette.
Round 6, 143rd Overall
After finishing his Jrs career, he went back to school. Never played Pro hockey.
Round 6, 147th Overall
Was drafted after playing 2 games in college. Left college to go to Juniors. Barely played in Jrs. Bounced around the lower leagues (ECHL) before finding a long term home in the German Leagues. Last played in the DEL in 08-09 for 3 games.
Round 6, 149th Overall
After Jrs he played for 3 ECHL teams in a season, along with 20 games in the AHL. He got one more 2 game stint in the AHL before mostly being relegated to the ECHL, CHL and SEHL. His career mostly consists of sub .900 SV%.
Round 6, 159th Overall
After graduating from the University of Denver, he largely spent his career in the CHL playing 53 games before retiring. Never had a sv% above .900.
Round 6, 160th Overall
European who never came over to North America.
Round 7, 165th Overall
After graduating from Harvard, never played above the ECHL level. Out of hockey after 01-02.
Round 7, 166th Overall
After Jrs he bounced around the minor minor leagues till 05-06. Never even reached the ECHL level.
Round 8, 190th Overall
Got a taste of the NHL level with a .949 SV% after graduating JRs and playing a year in the ECHL. He wouldn’t become an NHL backup until another decade later, during a 4 year stint with the Rangers backing up the Queen.
Round 8, 209th Overall
In 98-99 he played 30 games in the UHL with an .890 SV%. Returned to Russia after that.
Round 9, 221st Overall
After leaving Jrs, played 2 ECHL games and mostly played in the CHL. Out of hockey after 99-00.
Round 9, 222nd Overall
After leaving Jrs, played 28 pro games in the ECHL and CHL, out of hockey after 99-00.
So that’s 23 goalies drafted, 6 played in the NHL. Two of them basically had emergency callup stints (Garner, Larocque) and only 2 of them could be considered starters at some point in their career (Esche and Garon). Of course this goalie close does have a Jennings trophy winner and a Stanley Cup Ring. But this easily has to be one of the worst draft classes ever.