Mats Sundin and the 1989 draft

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Pentothal, Feb 21, 2011.

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  1. Pentothal

    Pentothal Listen with one ear

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    I was personally too young to really know anything about the NHL draft at the time, so I wonder now how it happened that the first European got selected first overall.

    I can definitely see how huge, yet speedy center with good hands and vision was a tempting prospect, but a European who was playing in the Swedish division 1 (back then the 2nd tier league)? In 1989?

    Does anybody remember this draft and the hype leading up to it? Surely a lot of people must have questioned the pick?

    In hindsight, the first round looks pretty weak, especially the top 3. Was it known as a weak draft beforehand and did that influence the Nordiques to take a chance on Sundin?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  2. McRpro

    McRpro Call the rulebook!

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    From what I remember he was guaranteed to be the #1 pick. Just like Crosby in his draft, Lemieux in his etc...
     
  3. Howe Elbows 9

    Howe Elbows 9 Registered User

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    I'd also like to hear more about this draft if anyone has any stories/information to share.

    This is what the top prospects stats looked like leading up to the draft:

     
  4. Teus

    Teus Registered User

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  5. Pentothal

    Pentothal Listen with one ear

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    That's very interesting and quite readable if you zoom in.

    What a completely different world that was. All that talk of wether the prospect would "defect" or not. Interesting to see that scout claim how Sundin-Holik-Bure were the three best players in the world. Seeing as Bure fell so far (6th round!), I guess teams had their doubts whether he'd come or not.

    As for all the talk of Sundin's contract and military obligation.. He got so hated at Djurgården for essentially going Radulov on the team and "defecting" to the NHL while he was under contract. He got banned from the Swedish national team (quite funny as there's now talk of him getting his Tre Kronor jersey retired) and I've heard that Djurgården put up pictures of him on the toilets so that they could urinate on his face. :amazed:

    It's also pretty interesting that Lidström went in the third round after putting up 5 points in 15 games that year. I think I read somewhere that he was pretty much an unknown and that Detroit were sure of getting him in the third round. And that was after he had played for the Swedish U18 team the year before. Nowadays a ton of scouts would have watched him. Hell, even Edler got found playing for "Jämtland Hockey" in the third division.
     
  6. Noldo

    Noldo Registered User

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    Bit off-topic in this thread, but Detroit could have actually picked Lidström even later, but the rules of the draft at that time allowed 18 years old to be picked only in the first three rounds of the draft. Detroit was not sure that they would have been able to keep Lidström secret for an additional year, so they had to spent the 3rd round pick, lowest possible, to get him.
     
  7. sparr0w

    sparr0w Registered User

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    I forget what it was that I read this in, probably Devellano's book, but he tells the story of Ilitch talking to him and the scouts leading up to that '89 draft. Asking flat out "who is the best 18 year-old in the world?" and all their scouts immediately answering "Sergei Fedorov." Then adding in that it would be stupid to waste a draft pick on him. Ilitch told them to draft him anyway.
     
  8. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    The main reason was that the other teams thought Bure wasn't eligible for that draft. The situation was described by Wetcoaster in this thread http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=535430&page=2

     
  9. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    i had always read that bure, as an 18 year old, was only eligible in he first three rounds, just like lidstrom (as explained above). the exception is if the player played a certain amount of pro games as a 17 year old, thus having two years of pro experience. hence, the (probably phony) game sheets that larionov "found."

    i just did a search, and you can read about it in this thread: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=135141



    back to sundin, i remember that my hockey cards at the time said he was 6'1 and something like 170 points. he certainly already seemed taller than that when i saw him play, even during his rookie year in quebec. did he just grow an awful lot in his last year in sweden, or were these numbers wrong?

    EDIT: nevermind, i remembered wrong. he was listed at 6'3 and 185. i guess he just had a lot of filling out to do.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  10. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    Detroit was the only team scouting Lidstrom. It was like sitting on a lottery ticket, they just had to pray that nobody else stumbled across him as well. I've heard they went so far as to tell their scouts and Lidstrom's coaches not to talk about him.
     
  11. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Neil Smith (then Detroit's head scout) had seen Lidstrom and knew he was worth drafting, but also thought nobody else in North America knew about him. But agent Don Meehan had also seen him play:

     
  12. connellc

    connellc Registered User

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  13. Pentothal

    Pentothal Listen with one ear

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    Interesting.. I didn't know you could only select 18 year olds in the first three rounds (back then).

    Also didn't hear that story about when Bure got drafted before, cheers for posting it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  14. Teus

    Teus Registered User

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    They talked about it in the THN issue posted above too. A funny note is that Andersson also was drafted by Quebec.
     
  15. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Looking at the top 5 you can say Sundin is head and shoulders above everyone else. It was a good draft later on (Fedorov, Bure and Lidstrom) but that top 5 left a bit to be desired.
     
  16. ehhedler

    ehhedler Registered User

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    it was a great year for european players [sundin, lidström, fedorov, bure, konstantinov, kölzig] and not so much for north american players [guerin, barnes, foote, draper] but the russian players were not trusted to come over so that's why sundin went as the easy first
     
  17. Rhiessan71

    Rhiessan71 Just a Fool

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    No surprise that Lidstrom went in the 3rd, he was/is not exactly the kind of player you could evaluate in a few games.
    Hell, most of the time Lidstrom's best games are the ones you don't even notice him.

    Sundin was pretty hyped in '89 and was clearly the best of the bunch, plus it was the Nords drafting first and they never had issue with Euro's playing for them what so ever.
     
  18. jkrx

    jkrx Registered User

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    If I remember correctly Sundin wasn't only outstanding as junior in Nacka but he also dominated in EJC. Besides div 1 in sweden isnt worse than say CHL or college so performing well there was a very good sign. Besides the other prospects was very weak in that draft with the best one after Sundin being Guerin (don't remember rankings though).
     
  19. pluppe

    pluppe Registered User

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    the funniest thing is that unless I count it wrong Lidström was eligible for the 88 draft.

    talk about a steal!
     
  20. nik jr

    nik jr Registered User

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    about 1 year ago, i was watching a game from '91, and the announcer said bobby clarke said fyodorov was the best player in the draft.
     
  21. mouser

    mouser Business of Hockey

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    Yah. The first three rounds limitation applied to both 18 and 19 year old players from 1987 to 1991. Lidstrom was 19 when the '89 draft took place.

    Later in 1995 an "opt in" clause was put in place, where 18 and 19 year old players were only available if they filed to opt into the draft. This primarily affected NCAA players who could lose their eligibility by opting in. That clause was later dropped with the most recent CBA in 2005.
     

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