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Number To Know: Picked But Never Played

Only two players selected in the top-10 since 2000 never played a professional game for the team that drafted them. One was picked by the Hurricanes and finds himself in the news today.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Number To Know

2 — Players selected in the top-10 of the NHL Draft from 2000 to 2013 that never played a professional game (NHL or minors) for the team that selected them:

  • 2004 fifth overall pick Blake Wheeler, who refused to sign with Phoenix and, via a loophole, became an unrestricted free agent. He signed with Boston (the Coyotes received a second-round compensatory pick) but was later traded to Atlanta with Mark Stuart for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik. He still plays for that franchise, now in Winnipeg.
  • 2005 third-overall pick Jack Johnson, who balked at signing with Carolina and joining them for their eventual Stanley Cup run in 2006. Then-GM Jim Rutherford shipped Johnson to Los Angeles — Carolina’s opponent Thursday night — along with cap burden Oleg Tverdovsky in exchange for Tim Gleason and Eric Belanger. Johnson missed his shot at a Cup again when Los Angeles traded him at the 2012 trade deadline to Columbus (along with two draft picks) for Jeff Carter just a year after signing Johnson to a seven-year contract extension. The Kings went on to win the Cup that year, and won again last season.

Johnson has been in the news Thursday after the Columbus Post-Dispatch reported that he was filing for bankruptcy. The article blamed his now-estranged parents for putting him in severe debt.