The year was 1991 and the Rangers were entering the NHL Entry Draft. All the buzz was about Eric Lindros who went No. 1 to Quebec and we all know how that ended. The top 5 rounded out after Lindros as Pat Falloon, Scott Niedermayer, Scott LaChance of Bristol, CT and Aaron Ward to Winnipeg. The Rangers first pick in that years draft was a crafty Russian winger who would eventually win a cup with the team… Alexei Kovalev. Other interesting picks in that years 1st round were Peter Forsberg at no. 6, Martin LaPointe at no.10 to Detroit,Markus Naslund at 16 to Pittsburgh and Glen Murray to Boston at 18. Most of the years crop went to the NHL at one point or another, many are still in the league. Martin Rucinsky went to Edmonton at no. 20.
After Kovalev the Rangers grabbed the next Barry Beck in Darcy Werenka. Werenka never played a game in the NHL and is now playing in Germany. The Rangers 3rd pick was a defender by the name of Corey Machanic out of UVM (Vermont). Machanic managed a couple games with Peoria in the old IHL. No.4 was Swedish winger Fredic Jax of Leksand. Jax went on to play in the ECHL, AHL, and other and has been out of hockey for several years. No.5 was a defender out of Sudbury named Barry Young. He never saw a second icetime in even the lowest level minor league. No.6 was a checking forward out of UND (Notre Dame) named John Rushin who finished college and has been out of hockey ever since. No. 7 was a goalie named Corey Hirsch. Hirsch managed to see some time in New York and has been in and out of the NHL ever since. Hirsch was listed as the “future” back then. He was eventually traded at the deadline to Vancouver back in 1995. Vyacheslav Uvayev followed at no. 8, he played a bit in Italy and is not out of hockey. No. 9 was Jamie Ram, a professional minor leaguer who has spent time in Europe and on the Canadian National Travel Team. Ram is still playing in Europe. Center Vitali Chinakov was taken with the no. 10 pick. Chinakov never left Russia. Last but not least was Brian Wiseman out of Michigan. Wiseman managed three games with Toronto some years back and has been a solid AHL player ever since. He retired a season ago.
In sum, to think that any player that gets drafted has a legitimate shot to making it in the NHL is not realistic. The 1991 is good evidence of this.