So I was watching the NHL Network today and it was the Top 10 Draft Picks in 1990 and I couldn't help but notice Owen Nolan on that list and seeing him play beside some incredible players on the Nordiques.
Let me just throw out some names here: Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Martin Rucinsky, Wendel Clark, Mike Ricci, Scott Young, Peter Forsberg, Valeri Kamensky
Although all of these players did not play on the same Quebec team, most of them did.
It just made me realize the kind of scary team that the Nordiques had back in the early 90's and the kind of talent they have developed and provided the NHL. Sakic and Sundin are the faces of their respective franchises, Forsberg has been lethal for so many years, it's unfortunate now that he has entered the Roger Clemens portion of his career. Seriously Peter, come back to the NHL, because you are losing respect by leaving the highest level to play back in Europe.
Think back to the 1991 Entry Draft, Quebec drafted Eric Lindros first overall then shipped him to Philadelphia for Forsberg, who was drafted sixth overall. That same draft, Scott Nidermayer was taken third overall, Alexei Kovalev went 15th, and Markus Naslund went 16th overall. Ziggy Palffy went 26th overall also.
In the 89-90 and 90-91 seasons, there was an interesting player on the Nordiques by the name of Guy Lafleur, yes thats right. After 14 seasons for the Montreal Canadiens, and then three years of retirement, Lafleur made a comeback to the NHL in 1988 for the New York Rangers. After a season in New York, he made his way back to Canada, playing for a team that his beloved Canadiens had developed a rivalry with. He was now on the other side of the fence.
If it wasn't enough for Quebec to have the likes of Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin, they played beside a future Hall of Famer for two seasons, and I don't know how many people actually realize this.
On another note, 1990 was a draft that also brought Jaromir Jagr, Martin Brodeur, Doug Weight, Keith Tkachuk, Derian Hatcher, and Sergei Zubov into the NHL.
If you look back on 1990 through 1994, some of the best veteran players in the NHL were drafted in these years: Nicklas Lidstrom, Paul Kariya, Chris Pronger, Jason Arnott, Rob Neidermayer, Saku Koivu, Ryan Smyth, Mike Peca, and Alexei Yashin.
So as a flashback, the early 90's have brought in so many gerat players that are still making a difference today but at the same time, I think we might currently be in or approaching a time when the entry draft will once again produce the future of the NHL for another 10-15 years. Crosby, Ovechkin, Kane, Kovalchuk, Staal, Malkin, Getzlaf, Nash and the list can go on...