This is the debut of a new series here at PensBurgh looking back at previous drafts to see how the Penguins fared and to try to track down whatever happened to some of those players. I meant to have some of these done for the actual draft this year, but life (as in, moving house) intervened and prevented it.
After the jump, we'll take a look at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
Brooks Orpik was taken in the first round that year, 18th overall from Boston College, where he was a communications major. I could go on and on about him, but let's face it: anyone who follows this site already knows the story about the California kid named after Herb Brooks who turned into one of the most punishing defensemen in today's game. So, let's move on.
The second round saw the Penguins choose Shane Endicott with the 52nd pick in the draft from the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. He was one of the rare players to make his NHL debut without playing a game in the minors, but that debut lasted only 4 games before he ended up in Wilkes-Barre. He didn't last long as a Penguin, never seeming to recreate whatever the Penguins saw in him, but that shouldn't have been a surprise as he wasn't a point-per-game player in Juniors until after he was drafted. Endicott bounced around the AHL for a number of seasons before making stops in the Asia League with the Oji Eagles and the German 2nd Bundesliga with the EVR Tower Stars (warning: link in German). This upcoming season, he is set to play for Sport Ghiacchio Pontebba of the Italian Serie A league.
In the third round, 84th overall from HC Skalica in the Czech Republic, the Penguins chose goaltender Peter Hamerlik. Hamerlik never signed with the Penguins. He was drafted again by Boston in the 5th round of the 2002 draft, this time from the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, and played 7 games in the AHL and 36 in the ECHL spread over three seasons before heading back to Europe. Basically, two teams completely whiffed on this kid. He spent last season with the HC Oceláři Třinec
At this point, there were some picks that changed hands at some point. The Penguins had the 114th pick in the 4th round. They elected to trade that pick to Montreal for #124 and #146 (5th round). For record keeping purposes, that 114th pick was Christian Larrivee, who played a whole 11 games in the AHL and 120 in the ECHL before going to Europe and spending time in the Norwegian GET-Ligaen and the AL-Bank Ligaen in Denmark. He spent last season with Västerås IK in the HockeyAllsvenskan league, which is the second highest league in Sweden.
Everyone here has fond memories, I'm sure, of Michel Ouellet, the Penguins' 4th round pick that year, 124th overall from Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL. Ouellet spent some time post-lockout with the Penguins before heading to Tampa Bay for a season, and then to Vancouver where he played 3 games at the NHL level. For the 2009-2010 season, he spent time with HC Fribourg-Gottéron in the Swiss National League A and with the Hamburg Freezers of the DEL, where the head coach is none other than
former Penguin the "other" Stéphane Richer.
With the other pick they got from Montreal, 146th overall in the 5th round, the Penguins selected David Koci, a man everyone loves to hate, from Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga. Colorado recently re-signed him to a one-year contract. That a guy like Ouellet can't make it in the NHL, but a thug like Koci can is a crime, frankly.
Pittsburgh then traded away their own 5th round pick (ended up being Bill Cass, who washed out of the ECHL after the 2003-2004 season) to Anaheim for Dan Trebil, who spent 19 games in a Pens uniform, scoring 1 point. He had a -0.2 career GVT, but it seems the Penguins still got the better of that trade.
We've then got a run of guys who never sniffed the NHL. 6th round pick Patrick Foley from the University of New Hampshire spent 10 games in the ECHL in 2004-2005 and that was it. 7th round pick Jim Abbott (not the one-armed pitcher), also from the University of New Hampshire, spent two seasons in the ECHL and was finished. Interesting, though: he's a local guy from Mars, PA.
Eighth round pick Steve Crampton from the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL also never made the NHL. He spent a lot of time in the ECHL with a couple cups of coffee in the AHL before deciding to head to Europe, where he's fashioned himself a decent career in Germany and Denmark. He's now with Fassa HC in the Italian Serie A.
The Penguins traded Kip Miller to the Ducks for the 273rd overall pick, with which they chose Roman Simicek from HPK Hämeenlinna of the Finnish SM-liiga. The Penguins ended up trading Simicek to Minnesota for Steve McKenna after 29 games in a Penguins uniform. Simicek spent a couple seasons with Minnesota before heading back to Europe, becoming one of Vitkovice HC's regulars throughout the last decade. If I'm reading this right, currently he is a member of the HC Dukla Trenčín, also of the Czech Extraliga.
The last pick for the Penguins in this draft ended up being goaltender Nick Boucher from Dartmouth College. The closest he got to the NHL was a six-game stint in Wilkes-Barre in 2003-2004. After washing out of the ECHL, Boucher spent some time in the United Hockey League, a defunct pro league one step lower than the ECHL, which was renamed the International Hockey League in 2007. Of course, that IHL had nothing to do with the IHL that used to be at the same level as the AHL. The league merged this summer with the Central Hockey League, an interesting league where the league owns the teams instead of their being separate franchises. Boucher spent last season as the starting goalie on the championship-winning Fort Wayne Komets, a team with an astounding amount of history behind it.
I hope this look back at a previous draft was interesting. If it was, make some comments and there will be more where this came from.