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Mats Sundin and the 1989 draft

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02-21-2011, 03:59 AM
  #1
Pentothal
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Mats Sundin and the 1989 draft

I was personally too young to really know anything about the NHL draft at the time, so I wonder now how it happened that the first European got selected first overall.

I can definitely see how huge, yet speedy center with good hands and vision was a tempting prospect, but a European who was playing in the Swedish division 1 (back then the 2nd tier league)? In 1989?

Does anybody remember this draft and the hype leading up to it? Surely a lot of people must have questioned the pick?

In hindsight, the first round looks pretty weak, especially the top 3. Was it known as a weak draft beforehand and did that influence the Nordiques to take a chance on Sundin?


Last edited by Pentothal: 02-21-2011 at 04:30 AM.
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02-21-2011, 04:23 AM
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Rpro
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Originally Posted by Pentothal View Post
I was personally too young to really know anything about the NHL draft at the time, so I wonder now how it happened that the first European got selected first overall.

I can definitely see how huge, yet speedy center with good hands and vision was a tempting prospect, but a European who was playing in the Swedish first division (back then the 2nd tier league)? In 1989?

Does anybody remember this draft and the hype leading up to it? Surely a lot of people must have questioned the pick?

In hindsight, the first round looks pretty weak, especially the top 3. Was it known as a weak draft beforehand and did that influence the Nordiques to take a chance on Sundin?
From what I remember he was guaranteed to be the #1 pick. Just like Crosby in his draft, Lemieux in his etc...

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02-21-2011, 04:24 AM
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Howe Elbows 9
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I'd also like to hear more about this draft if anyone has any stories/information to share.

This is what the top prospects stats looked like leading up to the draft:

# Team Player Pos. Team (League) GP G A TP PIM
1 Quebec Mats Sundin C Nacka (Allsvenskan) 25 10 8 18 18
2 NY Islanders Dave Chyzowski LW Kamloops (WHL) 68 56 48 104 139
3 Toronto Scott Thornton LW Belleville (OHL) 59 28 34 62 103
4 Winnipeg Stu Barnes C Tri-City (WHL) 70 59 82 141 117
5 New Jersey Bill Guerin RW Springfield (NEJHL) 31 32 35 67 90

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02-21-2011, 05:47 AM
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Teus
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Here is THN's draft preview from that year:




Full credit to Habsfan18 for the scans: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=516093

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02-21-2011, 06:31 AM
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Pentothal
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That's very interesting and quite readable if you zoom in.

What a completely different world that was. All that talk of wether the prospect would "defect" or not. Interesting to see that scout claim how Sundin-Holik-Bure were the three best players in the world. Seeing as Bure fell so far (6th round!), I guess teams had their doubts whether he'd come or not.

As for all the talk of Sundin's contract and military obligation.. He got so hated at Djurgården for essentially going Radulov on the team and "defecting" to the NHL while he was under contract. He got banned from the Swedish national team (quite funny as there's now talk of him getting his Tre Kronor jersey retired) and I've heard that Djurgården put up pictures of him on the toilets so that they could urinate on his face.

It's also pretty interesting that Lidström went in the third round after putting up 5 points in 15 games that year. I think I read somewhere that he was pretty much an unknown and that Detroit were sure of getting him in the third round. And that was after he had played for the Swedish U18 team the year before. Nowadays a ton of scouts would have watched him. Hell, even Edler got found playing for "Jämtland Hockey" in the third division.

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02-21-2011, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Pentothal View Post
It's also pretty interesting that Lidström went in the third round after putting up 5 points in 15 games that year. I think I read somewhere that he was pretty much an unknown and that Detroit were sure of getting him in the third round. And that was after he had played for the Swedish U18 team the year before. Nowadays a ton of scouts would have watched him. Hell, even Edler got found playing for "Jämtland Hockey" in the third division.
Bit off-topic in this thread, but Detroit could have actually picked Lidström even later, but the rules of the draft at that time allowed 18 years old to be picked only in the first three rounds of the draft. Detroit was not sure that they would have been able to keep Lidström secret for an additional year, so they had to spent the 3rd round pick, lowest possible, to get him.

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02-21-2011, 07:01 AM
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I forget what it was that I read this in, probably Devellano's book, but he tells the story of Ilitch talking to him and the scouts leading up to that '89 draft. Asking flat out "who is the best 18 year-old in the world?" and all their scouts immediately answering "Sergei Fedorov." Then adding in that it would be stupid to waste a draft pick on him. Ilitch told them to draft him anyway.

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02-21-2011, 09:44 AM
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reckoning
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Seeing as Bure fell so far (6th round!), I guess teams had their doubts whether he'd come or not.
The main reason was that the other teams thought Bure wasn't eligible for that draft. The situation was described by Wetcoaster in this thread http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=535430&page=2

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Originally Posted by Wetcoaster
Bure went late because he was considered not to be eligible for the draft that year according to the NHL. In those days it was a requirement that a younger player have played so many games with the national team (not junior nats) and/or so many games in the Russian pro league. Bure was short a couple of games so was considered ineligible according to the NHL list.

The NHL initially ruled the Canucks pick void and the Canucks appealed.

After a number of hearings the Canucks produced some extra game sheets showing Bure on the roster of a Russian elite league team for several games. Oddly enough his name was on the bottom of the roster list on each of the extra game sheets. Also no goals, no assists, no PIM's.

No decision was made for months on the appeal and then suddenly.....

Late on the night before the next year's draft Zeigler reverses his decision and awarded Bure to the Canucks not leaving sufficient time for an appeal by other NHL clubs.

In another odd coincidence the Canucks and new GM Pat Quinn then immediately discontinued their appeal lawsuit against Zeigler over his banning of Quinn and fines imposed due to the "Quinngate" affair.

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02-21-2011, 09:57 AM
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vadim sharifijanov
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The main reason was that the other teams thought Bure wasn't eligible for that draft. The situation was described by Wetcoaster in this thread http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=535430&page=2
i had always read that bure, as an 18 year old, was only eligible in he first three rounds, just like lidstrom (as explained above). the exception is if the player played a certain amount of pro games as a 17 year old, thus having two years of pro experience. hence, the (probably phony) game sheets that larionov "found."

i just did a search, and you can read about it in this thread: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=135141



back to sundin, i remember that my hockey cards at the time said he was 6'1 and something like 170 points. he certainly already seemed taller than that when i saw him play, even during his rookie year in quebec. did he just grow an awful lot in his last year in sweden, or were these numbers wrong?

EDIT: nevermind, i remembered wrong. he was listed at 6'3 and 185. i guess he just had a lot of filling out to do.



Last edited by vadim sharifijanov: 02-21-2011 at 10:02 AM.
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02-21-2011, 10:25 AM
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tarheelhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pentothal View Post
It's also pretty interesting that Lidström went in the third round after putting up 5 points in 15 games that year. I think I read somewhere that he was pretty much an unknown and that Detroit were sure of getting him in the third round. And that was after he had played for the Swedish U18 team the year before. Nowadays a ton of scouts would have watched him. Hell, even Edler got found playing for "Jämtland Hockey" in the third division.
Detroit was the only team scouting Lidstrom. It was like sitting on a lottery ticket, they just had to pray that nobody else stumbled across him as well. I've heard they went so far as to tell their scouts and Lidstrom's coaches not to talk about him.

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02-21-2011, 11:10 AM
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reckoning
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Detroit was the only team scouting Lidstrom. It was like sitting on a lottery ticket, they just had to pray that nobody else stumbled across him as well. I've heard they went so far as to tell their scouts and Lidstrom's coaches not to talk about him.
Neil Smith (then Detroit's head scout) had seen Lidstrom and knew he was worth drafting, but also thought nobody else in North America knew about him. But agent Don Meehan had also seen him play:

Quote:
When Meehan returned to Toronto, he phoned Smith, also a friend. "What do you think about Lidstrom?" Meehan asked.

"Lidster?" Smith replied. Doug Lidster was a veteran defenseman with the Canucks.

"Lidstrom."

"Don't know the guy."

"F--- off, you know him."

"No. You sure it's Lid . . . Lid-what?"

"Well, he just retained me."

The line went dead for 10 seconds. "Dammit, you can't mention him," Smith finally said. "We're going to take him, but don't tell anybody. And you can't bring him to the draft."

http://www.wingingitinmotown.com/200...ngs-1989-draft

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02-21-2011, 11:16 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUOjY31wzMI

Interesting comments on who Swedes thought the best 18 year old was.

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02-21-2011, 12:08 PM
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Pentothal
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Interesting.. I didn't know you could only select 18 year olds in the first three rounds (back then).

Also didn't hear that story about when Bure got drafted before, cheers for posting it.


Last edited by Pentothal: 02-21-2011 at 12:15 PM.
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02-21-2011, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by connellc View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUOjY31wzMI

Interesting comments on who Swedes thought the best 18 year old was.
They talked about it in the THN issue posted above too. A funny note is that Andersson also was drafted by Quebec.

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02-21-2011, 02:25 PM
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Looking at the top 5 you can say Sundin is head and shoulders above everyone else. It was a good draft later on (Fedorov, Bure and Lidstrom) but that top 5 left a bit to be desired.

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02-22-2011, 12:12 AM
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it was a great year for european players [sundin, lidström, fedorov, bure, konstantinov, kölzig] and not so much for north american players [guerin, barnes, foote, draper] but the russian players were not trusted to come over so that's why sundin went as the easy first

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02-22-2011, 12:45 AM
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No surprise that Lidstrom went in the 3rd, he was/is not exactly the kind of player you could evaluate in a few games.
Hell, most of the time Lidstrom's best games are the ones you don't even notice him.

Sundin was pretty hyped in '89 and was clearly the best of the bunch, plus it was the Nords drafting first and they never had issue with Euro's playing for them what so ever.

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02-22-2011, 03:24 AM
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If I remember correctly Sundin wasn't only outstanding as junior in Nacka but he also dominated in EJC. Besides div 1 in sweden isnt worse than say CHL or college so performing well there was a very good sign. Besides the other prospects was very weak in that draft with the best one after Sundin being Guerin (don't remember rankings though).

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02-22-2011, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
Neil Smith (then Detroit's head scout) had seen Lidstrom and knew he was worth drafting, but also thought nobody else in North America knew about him. But agent Don Meehan had also seen him play:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noldo View Post
Bit off-topic in this thread, but Detroit could have actually picked Lidström even later, but the rules of the draft at that time allowed 18 years old to be picked only in the first three rounds of the draft. Detroit was not sure that they would have been able to keep Lidström secret for an additional year, so they had to spent the 3rd round pick, lowest possible, to get him.
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
No surprise that Lidstrom went in the 3rd, he was/is not exactly the kind of player you could evaluate in a few games.
Hell, most of the time Lidstrom's best games are the ones you don't even notice him.

Sundin was pretty hyped in '89 and was clearly the best of the bunch, plus it was the Nords drafting first and they never had issue with Euro's playing for them what so ever.
the funniest thing is that unless I count it wrong Lidström was eligible for the 88 draft.

talk about a steal!

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02-23-2011, 12:51 AM
  #20
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Originally Posted by norrisnick View Post
I forget what it was that I read this in, probably Devellano's book, but he tells the story of Ilitch talking to him and the scouts leading up to that '89 draft. Asking flat out "who is the best 18 year-old in the world?" and all their scouts immediately answering "Sergei Fedorov." Then adding in that it would be stupid to waste a draft pick on him. Ilitch told them to draft him anyway.
about 1 year ago, i was watching a game from '91, and the announcer said bobby clarke said fyodorov was the best player in the draft.

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02-25-2011, 12:21 PM
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mouser
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Originally Posted by Noldo View Post
Bit off-topic in this thread, but Detroit could have actually picked Lidström even later, but the rules of the draft at that time allowed 18 years old to be picked only in the first three rounds of the draft. Detroit was not sure that they would have been able to keep Lidström secret for an additional year, so they had to spent the 3rd round pick, lowest possible, to get him.
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the funniest thing is that unless I count it wrong Lidström was eligible for the 88 draft.

talk about a steal!
Yah. The first three rounds limitation applied to both 18 and 19 year old players from 1987 to 1991. Lidstrom was 19 when the '89 draft took place.

Later in 1995 an "opt in" clause was put in place, where 18 and 19 year old players were only available if they filed to opt into the draft. This primarily affected NCAA players who could lose their eligibility by opting in. That clause was later dropped with the most recent CBA in 2005.

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