Claude Lemieux, who was drafted in 1983, wound up playing 1,215 NHL regular-season games and 234 more in the playoffs. Totalled 459 career goals, including playoffs. He also won four Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy as league playoff MVP.
Photograph by: Getty Images
VANCOUVER — Selecting No. 26 in the National Hockey League Entry Draft rarely yields a dominating, marquee talent, but there is always hope, right?
Cory Schneider was the Vancouver Canucks' 26th pick in 2004 and he appears on the verge of stardom, if not superstardom. If Schneider does reach this lofty status, he'll join only a small sampling of players who emerged from the 26th slot to become a somebody.
The jury is still out on Schneider, but it isn't on these players who were chosen 26th overall in their draft years:
• Claude Lemieux, RW, Montreal Canadiens, 1983: Went to the Stanley Cup final five times and won it four times. Won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1995 with the Devils. Scored numerous big OT playoff goals. Wound up playing 1,215 regular-season games and 234 more in the playoffs. Totalled 459 career goals, including playoffs.
• Ziggy Palffy, RW, New York Islanders, 1991: Slick Slovak put up some gaudy numbers during his 11 seasons with the Isles, Kings and Penguins. At 5-10 and 180 pounds, wasn't particularly big but could dangle with the best of his peer group. Had five seasons in which he had 85 points or more and hit 40-goal mark three times. Finished career with 713 points in 684 games.
• Martin Havlat, LW, Ottawa Senators, 1999: Now a San Jose Shark, remains a talented offensive threat when healthy. The 31-year-old has had some big seasons, most notably in 2008-09 with the Blackhawks when he put up 77 points. Also had 68 points with the Senators in 2003-04. A six-time 20-goal scorer, he's reached 50-point plateau on seven different occasions.
• Don Maloney, LW, New York Rangers, 1978: Steady Eddy-type forward during his 13-year career, most of it with Rangers. Put up five 20-goal seasons and six with 50 or more points. Noted as a smart player, has carried that brainpower into management as GM of the Phoenix Coyotes. Finished with 564 points in 765 games. Also had 815 PIMs.
Brent Ashton, LW, Vancouver Canucks, 1979: Journeyman who played 15 seasons for eight different teams and scored 20 or more goals seven times. Best year was 1988-89 with original Winnipeg Jets when he collected 31 goals and 68 points. Added 24 goals and 49 points in 85 playoff games. Suitcase eventually wore out in 1992-93 season with Flames. Wound up with 629 career points in 998 appearances.
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