Well, that yearbook has Daigle projected to be the leading scorer among rookies. Daigle, Niedermayer and Pronger are the only 3 listed as realistic possibilities for the Calder from the '93 draft. They praise Randy Sexton for resisiting trade offers for Daigle.
The Sporting News yearbook confirms my previous statements about Kozlov and Bonk being potential #1's.
And nobody has a word to say about Arnott until he puts up 68 points in his rookie season.
Oh man, this brings me back. I remember Kozlov was pegged as another Mario Lemieux. Very big center with all the skill in the world. Niedermayer was really highly rated, as was Chris Gratton. Radek Bonk was a huge prospect for 1994, I remember he put up very impressive numbers as an 18 year old in the IHL. Jason Arnott was hurt for a lot of his draft year so his stock fell. He was neck and neck with Brodeur for ROY though in 1994.
Daigle was drafted #1 because he was easily the best player his age out there at the time. The fact that he didn't try very hard later, and that others got better later, had nothing to do with it. Jason Arnott may end up with a better career, but he doesn't have the SKILL that Daigle has. But he does have more heart. Which is the same reason Wayne Gretzky will always be at least TWICE the player Mario Lemieux was. HEART!
I thought Daigle was drafted not solely on his hockey goods, but also for his bilingualism, which the team thought they'd use to attract more fans in the National Capital Region area
Air - you are right. Ottowa was an expansion team at the time and their future was dependant on a new arena. There were some real estate issues that I am not 100% sure of. I think that their financing was on the verge of a collapse. At times, I have read and heard that Ottowa wanted to draft the most marketable player at the time, not necessarily the best player.
Maybe I finish this off...
Daigle crashed in his 3rd season because he tried to change his game to score 50 goals. He spent more time trying to get open for a shot, setting up around the hash marks and really not playing with his set of skills.
Jacques Martin came in and saw a really selfish player who was unsuccessful. He changed Daigle's game again. Jacques told him to head to/crash the net for tip ins and garbage goals. He did it for a few games and gun run into the net by a Leaf D-man (Rouse I think). Daigle broke his arm and missed the rest of the season.
Heart - I'm a big believer in "actions speak louder than words". I honestly don't think that a lack of heart played a big role in his downfall.
He came back the nest season, bigger and stronger than ever (relatively massive actively). He kept going to the net (despite breaking his arm the year before) and had a successful year. But it was also the start of Daigle scoring more goals than assists. He showed both offseason dedication and in-game heart and toughness.
The article about his dad. I basically write off as a player trying to justify his poor career (without the benefit of an objective view). Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm way off here. But on ice and in our papers... that's what I saw at that time.
I just keep thinking about what would have happened if Gretzky decided to be a goon two years into his career or if Norstrom had decided that he was going to be Bobby Orr.
Good post. I'd also add that Daigle was never given much of an opportunity to develop a more multi-dimensional game ( for lack of a better word ) IMO because of the tremendous pressure to produce he experienced right from the start. 'Heart' may never have been an issue had the franchise taken their time with him. Instead, they rushed him to the NHL with the weight of a franchise, a city, and expectations to immediately produce at a level with the game's elite. He was destined to fail from the start. A defeatest attitude doesn't take long to develop under those circumstances, and despite some positive steps forward later in his game - the media and the fans never gave him another chance. He was booed out of Ottawa to Philly, and from there began a short-lived career as a journeyman. His desire to play came to an end in New York in 2000 - until Pitt. gave him a try-out in 2002.
Jacques and Ottawa learned some lessons from the Daigle experience IMO - and like it or not - the way Spezza has been handled is a direct result. Some players can jump right in. Some can't. A good organization should be able to tell who's ready and who isn't and should make rational decisions based on that - history indicates that Ottawa was not one of those when Daigle was drafted.
I remember being in the Montreal Forum in '93 for the CHL All-Star Game. After that night, those that were perhaps not convinced of Daigle's talent came out of there totally believing in him as the consensus best prospect available. The kid had it all: Surreal speed (faster than Kariya, in my opinion), unbelievable hand/eye coordination, eyes behind his head and the most natural instincts you could ever imagine. He could do whatever he wanted with the puck. His game was scary good. Yeah, he took many a night off, but that game showed me he wanted to be the best of the best--at least for one night.
Throw in the fact he was good-looking and extremely marketable for the new Ottawa market and it was a complete no-brainer for the Sens. It totally backfired but I don't think it was the wrong choice at that time. Pronger had weight and consistency issues, Kozlov was a major wild card out of Russia, Arnott was not even on the same radar at that time, Kariya was considered way too small by NHL standards, Gratton and Niedermayer couldn't hold a candle to Daigle, at least in terms of overall skill level, etc.
The guy told the world in an interview in french last year that he didn't want to play hockey anymore when he was just 16! Basically, he was living his father's dreams, not his. That says a lot about his mindset at that time. But his skill level is undeniable. Now that he appears to be motivated again in Minnesota, he could have a real strong second half to his career.
I thought Daigle was drafted not solely on his hockey goods, but also for his bilingualism, which the team thought they'd use to attract more fans in the National Capital Region area (Gatineau) ... Whatever charisma the guy had, though, all went out the window when he posed as a nurse. Does anybody have a pic of that card, by the way?
I have the pic on my computer, no where to host it though. Maybe some are interested in hosting it.
I remember that draft vividly,because living in Ottawa,it was all we ever heard about.Was Daigle a bad choice?Maybe,but a lot of people had Daigle highly ranked,the only other guys being suggested as possible #1s were Pronger and Kozlov,but the majority picked Daigle as the top prospect.Even John Ferguson,the only competent person in the Sens front office at the time, was solidly behind Daigle.In fact,that last year,Daigle was briefly suspended because of an on-ice incident in the QMJHL,which only endeared him to Fergie even more.
The blame for how his career turned out belongs with the Senators.He was thrown to the wolves without any direction,and had to deal with the stress of teammates rightfully bitter that he was getting all the PP time(not to mention his salary),and fans who were disappointed after the team had hyped him so much.A year in the AHL to adapt to the NHL style and pick up a good work ethic would`ve done wonders for his career.Who knows,if another team drafted him,things might have turned out differently.
I credit Jacques Lemaire with his turnaround,he`s done it with several players.A few years ago,everyone else in the league thought Wes Walz was a lost cause.
i remember talk of kozlov at the time - which i find interesting since imo, he hasnt been much better than daigle. he dropped to 6th as it is. i wonder who outside of pronger people think ottawa should have picked? gratton and neids wouldnt have been better choices at no 1, now or then (no offense to neids, who has been a pretty solid player). kariya wasnt even an option at the time. a lot of people predicted paul to be a complete bust due to being a small ncaa player. aside from pronger, there isnt one guy in the top 6 you can say deserved to go over daigle, and pronger was a huge question mark at the time as well.