When we talk about the progress of draft picks and why they do not reach their potential as players, it’s easy to overlook injuries. One of the reasons is that although fall offers us a “new beginning”, some injuries take longer than a summer to heal and sometimes the player never gets better.
After the countless trips to the dressing room for Oilers players last season, the law of averages should sway the other way in 07-08 (nice, tempt fate why don’t you?)
I’ve been looking at recent Oiler draft picks (2001-07) and it’s amazing to see the number of careers that stall/detour/elevator shaft after an injury.
This past season Ales Hemsky played in 64 of a possible 82 games, with shoulder and concussion problems being the culprits. As you know, he was not alone. Jarret Stoll, another high Oiler pick, has to be considered at least somewhat of a question mark after missing over 30 regular season games last season.
These are only the two most famous examples of recent Oiler picks who’ve made the grade and suffered setbacks due to injury. Here’s a list of some of the more prominent prospects and their injuries since being drafted:
Ales Hemsky: Was bothered by that shoulder injury pretty much the entire year, November 30, 2006 is the first report I can find. No obvious long term impact on his career.
Doug Lynch: A wrist injury that was not properly addressed and then a knee injury after being dealt to the Blues organization have derailed a promising NHL career. That wrist injury came on the heels of a very impressive AHL season. Injuries have had a major impact on his career.
Dan Baum: Was a long shot prospect who had an agitator style and fell victim to concussions. Injuries ended career.
Jesse Niinimaki: Niinimaki showed a lot of promise until a (Guy Flaming described it as a “devastating injury”) severe shoulder injury 10 games into the 2003-04 season ended his year. Possible major impact on his career.
Jarret Stoll: The concussion and the quick return are probably the number one reason he hasn’t been signed long term. Possible impact on career.
JF Dufort: Suffered a career ending concussion late in 2002-03. Injuries ended career.
Marc Pouliot: Since being drafted his development has been slowed by numerous injuries, most notably a bout with mono that kept him from being a part of the Stanley run. Possible impact on career.
Mikhail Zoukov: Suffered a “serious injury” that wiped out his 04-05 season. Unkown impact on career.
Rob Schremp: Suffered a serious knee injury at the end of this past season and required surgery. Unknown impact on career.