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Six Is A Magic Number

Wednesday, 06.21.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Six Is A Magic Number
The history of the No. 6 pick in the NHL Draft is rich, from the most recent pick in 2005 - the Blue Jackets' Gilbert Brule - to Hall of Famer Paul Coffey (1980), and many others in between. For the second year in a row CBJ will choose sixth, which could be a good spot considering the history of the pick.

The best active No. 6 pick is Peter Forsberg of the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers took Forsberg in the 1991 draft, but let him get away to the Colorado Avalanche, where he won two Stanley Cups. However, the Flyers got the all-star forward back for the 2005-06 season and he led Philadelphia in points in the playoffs.

Perhaps the two best No. 6 picks are both defensemen - Hall of Famer Paul Coffey and soon to be Hall of Famer Phil Housley, were selected in the 1980 and 1982 drafts, respectively. Coffey was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, after finishing his career as a four-time Stanley Cup Champion. He currently sits as the 10th leading scorer of all-time with 1,531 points – behind only names like Howe, Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier and Yzerman.

Housley is the all-time leading scorer of U.S.-born players with 1,232 points over a 21-year NHL career. He has already been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and became eligible to be selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame this year.

There were two former No. 6 picks that played in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals, Edmonton’s Ryan Smyth and Carolina’s Cory Stillman. Smyth was selected in 1994 by the Oilers and Stillman was chosen just two years earlier by their rivals, the Calgary Flames. Stillman is an individual back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion, as he won the most coveted trophy in sports two years ago with Tampa Bay in 2004.

For all the successful No. 6 picks, there have been a handful of “busts” or guys who never paned out. At the top of the list is George Surmay, drafted in 1965 by the New York Islanders, who never played in an NHL game. The Islanders also chose Scott Scissons in 1990, who appeared in only two games at the NHL level. Other former No. 6 picks that didn’t work out were Ron Jones (BOS-1971), one goal in 54 games and Adam Bennett (CHI-1989), 11 points in 69 games.

Other No.6 picks over the years include; Vincent Damphousse (TOR-1986) one Stanley Cup and retired in 2005, Viktor Kozlov (SJ-1993) currently with New Jersey, Mikko Koivu (MIN-2001), and Scott Hartnell (NSH-2000).

With the No. 6 pick in the 2005 draft Columbus selected Gilbert Brule, a 5-10, 180-pound center from Edmonton, Alberta. Brule played in only seven games (two of which he left early due to injury) for the Blue Jackets in the 2005-06 season, scoring two goals and tallying two assists. After recovering shoulder and leg injuries, Brule returned to the junior level and continued to display his skills with the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants. In only 18 playoff games, Brule netted 16 goals and added 14 assists for a total of 30 points.

The history speaks for itself. No matter who the Blue Jackets select with the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft, they can only hope whomever it is, can live up to the success of players chosen in spot in past NHL drafts.

2005 - Gilbert Brule / C Vancouver (WHL) - CBJ
2004 - Al Montoya / G University of Michigan - NYR
2003 - Milan Michalek / RW Ceske Budejovice (Czech Rep) - SJ
2002 - Scottie Upshall / RW Kamloops (WHL) - NSH
2001 - Mikko Koivu / C TPS Turku (Finland) - MIN
2000 - Scott Hartnell / LW Prince Albert (WHL) - NSH

1999 - Brian Finley / G Barrie (OHL) - NSH
1998 - Rico Fata / RW London (OHL) - CGY
1997 - Daniel Tkaczuk / C Barrie (OHL) - CGY
1996 - Boyd Devereaux / C Kitchener (OHL) - EDM
1995 - Steve Kelly / C Prince Albert (WHL) - EDM
1994 - Ryan Smith / LW Moose Jaw (WHL) - EDM
1993 - Viktor Kozlov / C Dynamo (Russia) - SJ
1992 - Cory Stillman / LW Windsor (OHL) - CGY
1991 - Peter Forsberg / C MoDo (Sweden) - PHI
1990 - Scott Scissons / C Saskatoon (WHL) - NYI

1989 - Adam Bennett / D Sudbury (OHL) - CHI
1988 - Scott Pearson / LW Kingston (OHL) - TOR
1987 - Dave Archibald / F Portland (WHL) - MIN
1986 - Vincent Damphousse / C Laval (QMJHL) - TOR
1985 - Brad Dalgarno / RW Hamilton (OHL) - NYI
1984 - Craig Redmond / D Team Canada - CHI-LA
1983 - John MacLean / RW Osahwa - LA-NJ
1982 - Phil Housley / D St.Paul HS - WSH-BUF
1981 - Jim Benning / D Portland - TOR
1980 - Paul Coffey / D Kitchener - EDM

1979 - Craig Hartsburg / D Sault Ste.Marie - MIN
1978 - Behn Wilson / D Kingston - PIT-PHI
1977 - Doug Wilson / D Ottawa - CHI
1976 - Don Murdoch / RW Medicine Hat - NYR
1975 - Don Ashby / C Calgary - TOR
1974 - Doug Hicks / D Flin Flon - MIN
1973 - Andre Savard / C Quebec - LA-BOS
1972 - Michel Larocque / G Ottawa - MON
1971 - Ron Jones / D Edmonton - LA-BOS
1970 - Chuck Lefley / LW Canadian Nationals - MIN-MTL

1969 - Bob Currier / C Cornwall - PHI
1968 - Gary Edwards / G Toronto Marlboros - STL
1967 - Robert Dickson / LW Chatham Jr. B - NYR
1966 - Steve Atkinson / RW Niagara Falls Flyers - DET
1965 - George Surmay / G Kelvin Juveniles (Winnipeg) - NYR
1964 - Claude Chagnon - Rosemont - MTL
1963 - Walt McKechnie / C London Jr. B - TOR

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