The 1993 NHL Draft will always be a fond one for Montreal Canadiens fans. First of all, it was the last draft after the team had won a Stanley Cup and second of all, it netted future Habs star Saku Koivu.
The 1993 Draft is also remembered for Alexandre Daigle as well as Chris Pronger and Paul Kariya.
I have a copy of the media guide for that draft, and it includes some scouting reports of some of the players that were drafted. Let’s take a look at some of the more memorable ones.
Alexandre Daigle: Daigle’s personal profile reads more like a scouting report: "A speedy player, Alexandre enjoys fast skating, scoring goals and playing an offensive game" before finishing off with his love of television and billiards. No word on long walks on the beach.
Paul Kariya had a prescient tidbit in his Central Scouting scouting report: "... will bounce back from a hit..."
Now, we know that a lot of defenceman are the ‘next Chris Pronger’ but what was Chris Pronger as a draft prospect?
The answer? Not the next Chris Pronger. His favourite current NHLer was Ray Bourque because he is a "consummate defenceman who plays both ends of the rink hard" and his career ambition included a management position in hockey. I bet he never thought he’d be on an NHL roster while doing that though.
Pronger’s hobbies included "beach volleyball, golf, weight training, movies and card collecting" or in other words, "what any teenage athlete likes."
Bryan McCabe turned out to be a very serviceable NHL defenceman. But his coaches pointed out his struggles and they were right.
"Bryan had a very tough time for the first couple of months but is really starting to improve. Nice kid. Starting to understand both ends of the ice."
Yeah, about that.
Former Habs defenceman Janne Niinimaa was also in the guide, and they said he "stands up well and reacts to all situations". He definitely does.
Todd Bertuzzi: "Always finishes his checks… Angles the man out of the play… utilizes his size and strength in all facets of the game…"
Finally, we finish with Saku Koivu. Koivu was relatively unknown and undersized when the Habs took him late in the first round.
His scouting report nailed it. "Plays with desire and intensity, never gives up... an excellent attitude." They also talk about his offensive skill which was also very good, especially before his knee injuries but even after.
Also, it’s good to know that by 1993, hockey nicknames were already dead. They included "Olly" (Krzysztof Oliwa), "Nieds" (Rob Niedermayer), "Big" (Eric Daze), "Alli" (Jamie Allison) and "Ali" (Jason Allison).
Other quick tidbits:
- Jocelyn Thibault wasn’t listed as the ‘next Patrick Roy’. I have no idea where that comparison started. He also listed Mats Naslund as his favourite player.
- Among players Rob Niedermayer looked up to was his brother Scott.
- Petri Varis wins the award for player most likely to have a Game of Thrones character named after him.