Why Did the Nordiques Pick Wade Belak in the First Round of the 1994 Draft?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by ilovetheflyers8, Aug 25, 2011.

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  1. ilovetheflyers8

    ilovetheflyers8 Registered User

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    Obviously in hind sight you can look at stats and see that Ethan Moreau or Mattias Ohlund who were picked right after Belak might have been better choices, but at the time it's hard to say how players will turn out. However, a forward who put up very few points in juniors and was clearly more of a tough guy based on his junior penalty minutes doesn't seem like the best choice to me. If I'm correct this was the season that the instigator rule was introduced (and even afterward you can argue for their necessity), so regardless of your view on fighting in hockey drafting an enforcer makes sense, but why in the first round? Why not aim for a more skilled player? Does anyone know in what round he was projected to go in? How did people react to this move, and were there reports that other teams had considered taking him in the first round?


    edit- Am I wrong in calling him an enforcer? I just realized I might be, and I didn't realize he was a defenseman.:facepalm:
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  2. RabbinsDuck

    RabbinsDuck Registered User

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    Belak was definitely an enforcer - do not know much of the draft details, however.
     
  3. Booom

    Booom Registered User

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    big strong shutdown Dman
     
  4. tp71

    tp71 Enjoy every sandwich

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    He was drafted as a defenseman, so I'd imagine that had something to do with it. It is surprising how high he went though considering he turned into an enforcer. I think Toronto was the team that changed him from a dman to a forward. He was fun to watch though.
     
  5. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    I think Quebec drafted him to give them some grit on the back end. As we know now the guy was a bust but at that time he was seen as a legit top defensive defenseman.
     
  6. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    i recall comparisons to garth butcher, which is exactly what the nords needed at the time. in fact, that same year they also traded steve duchesne (coming off an 80 point season) to get the real garth butcher, who was fast approaching the wheels-fall-off stage that every physical stay-at-home d-man eventually hits. they finally got their man in '95, when they traded butcher to the leafs for sylvain lefebvre.*



    * i believe two other guys were involved in that deal... mats something and i think the other guy's name was wendel?
     
  7. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    also, just looking at the rest of that '94 first round, there weren't a lot of other guys you would have necessarily picked over belak at #12, even in hindsight.

    other than ohlund, the other guys who made a dent in the league also ended up becoming role players. oh, and the immortal dan cloutier, about whom the less is said the better.

    with ohlund, it was like the pavel bure situation. nobody except that rascal pat quinn knew/could prove he was eligible to be drafted. ohlund was projected to be a top three pick the following year.

    with moreau, he was slated to go as high as #6 to the oilers, but if he didn't #6, he was going to fall to mid-first-round. the reason is he was thought to be a product of his junior linemate jason bonsignore, who the oilers took #4. it's not like moreau was chopped liver before, but he also didn't make the canada WJC team in his draft year. he exploded as a goal scorer when bonsignore (dubbed by some as "the american lemieux") was traded to niagara falls mid-way through their draft season. think: cheechoo and thornton.

    after those two, you have complete busts, and then you have guys like wayne primeau, chris dingman, brad brown, dime-a-dozen guys that aren't too far off from belak. you could argue that moreau was in that class of player for 80% of his career too.
     
  8. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    Probably the same reason the Rangers picked Dylan McIlrath at #10 last year.
     
  9. cynicism

    cynicism Registered User

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    How could a guy who scored 40 goals, 45 assists and 120 points in a single season be considered a bust?
     
  10. ForsbergForever

    ForsbergForever Red Rocket

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    Never gets old does it...
     
  11. jkrx

    jkrx Registered User

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    Where did he write that he was a bust?
     
  12. begbeee

    begbeee Registered User

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    Holy **** !!! :eek:
    Wade scored only 8 during more than half thousend games :laugh:

    From top of my head I can think about few guys who were terrible at scoring but even such players like Rado Suchy or Daneyko scored more in similar time span...
     
  13. beowulf

    beowulf Not a nice guy.

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    Same reason the Habs drafted Brad Brown? Mainly size, as this was during a time the NHL was in the "bigger is better" phase.
     
  14. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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  15. jumptheshark

    jumptheshark Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    take a look at the top 26 drafted that year

    Ed Jovanovski
    Oleg Tverdovsky
    Radek Bonk
    Jason Bonsignore(4th overall belak out scored him
    Jeff O'Neill
    Ryan Smyth
    Jamie Storr
    Jason Wiemer
    Brett Lindros
    Nolan Baumgartner(would you take Belak and his take no crap attitude or this guy who is more of an AHL d-man)
    Jeff Friesen
    Wade Belak
    Mattias Ohlund
    Ethan Moreau
    Alexander Kharlamov--no games played in the NHL
    Eric Fichaud
    Wayne Primeau
    Brad Brown
    Chris Dingman
    Jason Botterill
    Evgeni Ryabchikov--no games in the nhl
    Jeff Kealty---no games in the nhl out of hockey two years later
    Yan Golubovsky
    Chris Wells
    Vadim Sharifijanov
    Dan Cloutier


    If we did a redraft of just the first round--Belak stilll goes in the top 15
     
  16. jumptheshark

    jumptheshark Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    of the 12 guys taken a head of Belak--here are the guys I think should be questioned more then Wade for being a first rounder

    Bonsignore
    Storr
    Lindros(yes I know the injury killed his career--but he had had head knocks in junior)
    Baumgartner
     
  17. Lafleurs Guy

    Lafleurs Guy RIP Fugu

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    It was on a dare.
     
  18. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    There wasn't a lot of good things that came out of that 1994 first round, another indication of its weakness is the fact that 4 goalies were taken. Also, at the time, the Nords had too much talent, if that's ever a problem, and were busy stocking up on Clark, Lefebvre, Krupp at the pro level to add muscle, grit and size and defense. When teams have too much skill they often go for some intangibles and draft for need. The Avs in 1998 also picked Regehr and Scott Parker with 2 of their 4 first rounders, which was a similar move to the Belak pick.
     
  19. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    ^ true. the strategy makes sense when you consider the talent left in what was a weaker draft. depending on how you look at the aftermath, it paid off too.

    they ended up trading belak for a more NHL-ready goon from the same first round, chris dingman. and dingman ended up playing in most of their '01 stanley cup run.

    now, on the other hand, you have an indefensible situation like vancouver in 1990, who had very little discernible high end skill on their roster, taking shawn antoski in the first round of an excellent draft. (canucks fans know the players directly after big anton were keith tkachuk and martin brodeur.) or blowing a top ten pick the following year on alek stojanov, almost solely on footage of him holding his own against eric lindros in a fight. (of course, they ended up flipping stojanov for a pretty decent player from later in that first round, so that one worked out.) pat quinn in the early 90s-- WTF? give him credit for scheming/cheating to get bure and ohlund, but those just even out the legitimately good draft picks that he wasted on goons that didn't even have power forward upside like brad may did. sorry for the derail.
     
  20. Lafleurs Guy

    Lafleurs Guy RIP Fugu

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    Geez, bad timing on this joke.

    Very sorry to hear the bad news.
     
  21. Hammer Time

    Hammer Time Registered User

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    R.I.P. Wade Belak
     
  22. KingJet*

    KingJet* Guest

    I remember Baumgartner got lots of Hype cause of WJC, Memorial Cups and such. People thought he was going to be like a 1-2 defenseman, I think he'll be a good Coach someday though, I remember I went to a camp he ran and I kinda though he was a bit of a tool but I garuntee he will be a good coach someday though.

    On to Belak, I remember when I first saw that I was like HTH did that happen, but He was a strong guy and a good shutdown role, people would say he was what Erik Gudbranson is today but no offense at all. But he is the perfect 3/4th liner.
     
  23. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Baumgartner got a lot of hype when he was drafted and was very hot property for a few years after, though he never quite cracked the Capitals blueline. The NHL guide at the time referred to him as a "Nicklas Lidstrom clone." Of course it was around 1994, so Lidstrom wasn't Lidstrom. Think Brendan Smith, I guesss.
     
  24. Ferjo

    Ferjo Registered User

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    I remember Baumgartner was the key piece in the heavily rumoured Teemu Selanne-to-Washington trade in the mid-90's that obviously never ended up happening. Hearing his name popping up constantly in a trade for a legitimate star, plus seeing him in the Memorial Cup and World Juniors for a few years, it was hard to not believe he would be a very high end nhl defenceman.
     

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