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THE NUMBER FIVE

A look back at the last 15 players chosen fifth overall in the NHL Entry Draft

Wednesday, 04.30.2008 / 1:29 PM ET / News
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THE NUMBER FIVE
By Jason Lockhart and Adam Baruch


Bill Guerin, Jaromir Jagr, Thomas Vanek, Carey Price and Daniel Dore all have something in common: they were selected fifth overall in their respective NHL Entry Drafts. Newyorkislanders.com takes a look back at the past 15 No. 5 overall picks.


Name: KARL ALZNER
Position: Defenseman
Year Drafted: 2007 (Washington)
NHL Teams: N/A
Career Junior
Stats: Games Played (260), Goals (19), Assists (98), Points (117), PIM (94)

Analysis: Just 19 years old, defenseman Karl Alzner has shown he has the skill to be a top defenseman in the NHL. He captained Team Canada to their third consecutive World Junior Championship title in January, finishing 1-1-2, along with a +2 rating. He was named Team Canada's second star of the tournament. Alzner's Calgary Hitmen lost in the Conference Finals of the WHL playoffs this season. On Wednesday, he was announced as the WHL's top defenseman and league MVP. As one of Washington's top prospects in the system, he'll fit in well in the near future with an already young and talented team led by Alex Ovechkin.


Name: PHIL KESSEL
Position: Center
Year Drafted: 2006 (Boston)
NHL Teams: Boston
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (152), Goals (30), Assists (36), Points (66), PIM (40)

Analysis: As the consensus number 1 pick for a long time, Phil Kessel dropped to the fifth spot following his first and only season with the University of Minnesota. Kessel jumped straight from the draft into the NHL after two AHL games. He has had to overcome cancer and is slowly developing into the explosive player that scouts were anticipating he would turn into. He increased his goal total from 11 to 19 between his first and second years in the NHL. Kessel was a healthy scratch for Game 2-4 in Boston’s ECQF matchup against Montreal this season. He returned for the final three games of the series, recording three goals, including two in Game 6, but it was not enough as the Bruins fell via a shutout in Game 7.


Name: CAREY PRICE
Position: Goaltender
Year Drafted: 2005 (Montreal)
NHL Teams: Montreal
Career NHL Stats:
Record (24-12-3), GAA (2.56), SV% (.920)

Analysis: Goaltenders tend to take longer to develop, but that has not been the case for Carey Price, who twice – in two straight seasons – has been thrust into roles that may appear to be over his head. In 2006-07, Price joined the Hamilton Bulldogs following the end of his Junior career. He played two regular season games and then backstopped Hamilton to a Calder Cup title. This season, after Montreal traded away starting netminder Cristobal Huet, Price grabbed the reigns for the Canadiens, led them to the best record in the Eastern Conference and now into the Conference Semifinals against Philadelphia.


Name: BLAKE WHEELER
Position: Right Wing
Year Drafted: 2004 (Phoenix)
NHL Teams: N/A
Career College Stats:
Games Played (127), Goals (42), Assists (54), Points (96), PIM (155)

Analysis: The shifty winger recently completed his third season with powerhouse Minnesota of the WCHA. During that span, Minnesota has done exceptionally well during the regular season and WCHA Playoffs, capturing one title and finishing as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in 2006-07. Wheeler has been a key catalyst up front, finishing in the top five in scoring on Minnesota the past two years, including first in 2007-08. No word yet on whether Phoenix will sign Wheeler to a pro contract next season.


Name: THOMAS VANEK
Position: Left Wing
Year Drafted: 2003 (Buffalo)
NHL Teams: Buffalo
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (245), Goals (104), Assists (92), Points (196), PIM (176)

Analysis: Following two outstanding seasons with Minnesota, including a National Title in 2003, the Austrian-born Vanek made the transition to pro hockey look easy. After ranking tied for second in points on Rochester of the AHL during the lockout, Vanek scored 25 goals in his rookie season with Buffalo. His 84 points the next season earned him a huge contract and the role of franchise player following the departure of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. The added pressure was surely felt as Vanek finished the 2007-08 season with 64 points and the Sabres out of the playoffs.


Name: RYAN WHITNEY
Position: Defenseman
Year Drafted: 2002 (Pittsburgh)
NHL Teams: Pittsburgh
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (225), Goals (32), Assists (105), Points (137), PIM (207)

Analysis: A three-year standout at Boston University, Ryan Whitney has developed into the high-end two-way defenseman the Penguins were hoping for when they drafted him fifth overall in 2002. Each of the past three seasons he has ranked only behind Sergei Gonchar in points by a defenseman on the Penguins.


Name: STANISLAV CHISTOV
Position: Left Wing
Year Drafted: 2001 (Anaheim)
NHL Teams: Anaheim, Boston
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (196), Goals (19), Assists (42), Points (61), PIM (116)

Analysis: Stanislav Chistov has to be considered the most recent bust at the No. 5 overall position. The Russian-native spent two seasons with Anaheim before being demoted to the AHL the next season and staying there during the lockout. After a year playing in Russia, the Boston Bruins took a chance on him before he returned to Russia in 2007-08.


Name: RAFFI TORRES
Position: Left Wing
Year Drafted: 2000 (Islanders)
NHL Teams: Islanders, Edmonton
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (307), Goals (67), Assists (59), Points (126), PIM (255)

Analysis: The Islanders traded the hard-hitting Torres along with Brad Isbister to Edmonton for Janne Niinimaa and a draft pick in 2003. Since then, Torres has found his niche with the Oilers as an effective role player, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.


Name: TIM CONNOLLY
Position: Center
Year Drafted: 1999 (Islanders)
NHL Teams: Islanders, Buffalo
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (438), Goals (70), Assists (171), Points (241), PIM (190)

Analysis: Connolly showed talent from the start with the Islanders. In his rookie season he tallied 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points, following it up with a 41-point year in his second season on Long Island. The Islanders sent Connolly to the Buffalo Sabres in a deal to bring captain Michael Peca to New York. Connolly has been marred by injuries throughout his career, missing the 2003-04 season with post-concussion syndrome and 80 games in 2006-07 for the same reason. His career high in goals and points came during the 2005-06 season when he tallied 16 goals and 55 points.


Name: VITALY VISHNEVSKY
Position: Defenseman
Year Drafted: 1998 (Anaheim)
NHL Teams: Anaheim, Atlanta, Nashville, New Jersey
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (552), Goals (16), Assists (52), Points (68), PIM (494)

Analysis: A defensive defenseman out of Russia, Vitaly Vishnevsky has bounced around the NHL after six successful seasons in Anaheim. In 2007-08, Vishnevsky played in 69 games with New Jersey – fourth most by a Devils defenseman – but was a healthy scratch in the first two games on the ECQF against the Rangers before playing in the final three games.


Name: ERIC BREWER
Position: Defenseman
Year Drafted: 1997 (Islanders)
NHL Teams: Islanders, St. Louis, Edmonton,
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (595), Goals (47), Assists (126), Points (173), PIM (467)

Analysis: While Brewer didn’t shine early on in his career with the Islanders, the former fifth overall pick has found a home in St. Louis after a four-year stint with the Edmonton Oilers. The Islanders had hoped they secured a future All-Star for years to come when they picked Brewer in 1997, but eventually traded him to Edmonton at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. In his four seasons with the Oilers, Brewer represented the Western Conference in his first and only All-Star Game in 2002-03. Eventually Brewer would be traded once again, this time to the St. Louis Blues as part of a package for Chris Pronger in 2005 following the lockout. He has since been a solid defenseman for the Blues and was given the honor of being named captain in February of 2008.


Name: RICHARD JACKMAN
Position: Defenseman
Year Drafted: 1996 (Dallas)
NHL Teams: Dallas, Boston, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Florida, Anaheim
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (231), Goals (19), Assists (58), Points (77), PIM (166)

Analysis: Right up there among the most disappointing No. 5 selections over the past 15 years is defenseman Richard Jackman, who traveled amongst six NHL teams up until the end of the 2006-07 season. After being drafted by the Dallas Stars, Jackman spent the following four years playing in the AHL, IHL and NHL at different times. His career-high for NHL games played came during the 2005-06 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, when he skated in 49. Jackman tallied six and seven goals respectively during the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons with Pittsburgh.


Name: DAYMOND LANGKOW
Position: Center
Year Drafted: 1995 (Tampa Bay)
NHL Teams: Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Calgary
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (868), Goals (224), Assists (331), Points (555), PIM (483)

Analysis: A seasoned NHL veteran, Daymond Langkow just finished his 12th year in the NHL and third with the Calgary Flames. Originally selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning with the fifth overall pick in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, Langkow led the WHL in points that year with 140. Langkow spent most of his rookie season in the minors before coming on the scene in 1996-97. That season, he netted 15 goals and 13 assists in 79 games for the Lightning. Known as a aggressive, fast power forward, Langkow has recorded 50-or-more points in each of the last eight seasons, including a career-high 77 in 2006-07.


Name: JEFF O’NEILL
Position: Right Wing
Year Drafted: 1994 (Hartford)
NHL Teams: Carolina/Hartford, Toronto Maple Leafs
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (821), Goals (237), Assists (259), Points (496), PIM (670)

Analysis: Jeff O’Neill played 11 seasons in the NHL after being selected by the Hartford Whalers and eventually stayed with the club when they moved to Carolina. O’Neill scored 30-or-more goals three times in his career, including a career-high 41 in 2000-01 with the Hurricanes. He helped the Hurricanes reach the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals. During that playoff run, O’Neill tallied eight goals and five assists in 22 games. Even at the end of his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, O’Neill was still a threat to score. He scored 19 and 20 goals respectively in his final two seasons before retiring at the end of the 2006-07 season.


Name: ROB NIEDERMAYER
Position: Left Wing
Year Drafted: 1993 (Florida)
NHL Teams: Florida, Calgary, Anaheim
Career NHL Stats:
Games Played (932), Goals (157), Assists (250), Points (407), PIM (795)

Analysis: Rob Neidermayer started his NHL career right away without playing in the minors. He helped the Florida Panthers reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996 before falling to the Colorado Avalanche in four games. Concussions limited Niedermayer’s talent for a few seasons and he eventually made a stop in Calgary before his current six-year stint with Anaheim. In his six seasons with the Ducks, Niedermayer has been a focal point of two Stanley Cup runs, including a championship in 2007.



ISLANDERS ENTRY DRAFT PARTY
Save The Date – June 20!


The Islanders will host an NHL Entry Draft Party at the Coliseum when the team selects fifth overall in the first round on Friday night, June 20. Save the date and stay tuned to newyorkislanders.com for more details on the return of the Draft Party!


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