The 1999 NHL Draft was one of the worst classes to ever come into the league. That much is a fact. Aside from the Sedin twins, Ryan Miller, and then Henrik Zetterberg in the 7th round, there's really nobody from this draft that you should remember for their play on the ice. The entire draft class was a bust. But it started all the way at the top with Patrik Stefan being the first draft pick in Atlanta Thrashers history with the 1st overall pick in '99.
It's always tough to decide who is the bigger bust between Patrik Stefan and Alexandre Daigle. The difference with Daigle is that Chris Pronger was drafted immediately after him. Paul Kariya went #4. Saku Koivu was a 1st round pick that year. So I'd say Ottawa missing out on Chris Pronger is worse than the Atlanta Thrashers only being able to select one of the Sedin twins. From that perspective, Daigle is the bigger bust.
But when you look at Patrik Stefan's numbers......SHEESH. Less than 500 games. Never hit 15 goals in a season. Only hit 40 points once and it was exactly 40. 6 disappointing years in Atlanta and then he got shipped off to Dallas for the final season in his NHL career. And it was there that he finally had his career defining moment.
"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. Patrik Stefan, you should be embarrassed for what you just did. That does not belong in the National Hockey League".
But you know what? I think it's time to change the narrative around Patrik Stefan. I think it's finally time to start embracing the suck. I mean who else in the history of the league has ever been more relatable? From a looks standpoint, maybe Phil Kessel. But even then, he's an All-Star so that's tough to relate to. But a guy like Patrik Stefan who just constantly disappoints and can't even accomplish the easiest task in the game? If that man can get selected with the 1st overall pick in the NHL Draft, then he should inspire hope in all of us. Patrik Stefan is the common man's hockey player. And in the grand scheme of things, his team got the win in a shootout so who really cares anyway?
Unless, of course, you look at the final standings from that season and see that the Edmonton Oilers ended with the exact same amount of points as the Chicago Blackhawks. If Patrik Stefan just tucks away that empty netter like an actual human being, Edmonton doesn't get that extra point. And then there's a case to be made that Chicago doesn't win the draft lottery that year and they don't end up drafting Patrick Kane. So did Patrik Stefan create the Chicago Blackhawks dynasty? Did Patrik Stefan's missed empty net on January 4, 2007 result in my Philadelphia Flyers losing the Stanley Cup in 2010? I think over the course of this blog I've gone from not really caring about Patrik Stefan to loving him to hating him forever. What a rollercoaster.