This is the second part of my TOP10 draft picks chart, if you missed the first part, you can find it here:
5th - 2001, 7th round (227th overall), Colorado Avalanche - M. Svatos
It took some time before Svatos could be promoted from AHL Hershey Bears to Denver, but his first full season with the Avalanche (2005/06) was fruitful. He tied Joe Sakic in number of goals scored (32) altough Svatos played only 61 games due to injuries, compared to "Big Joe," who didn't miss one game. Second season was a disappointment, as Svatos struggled with both his level of game and health. Through the course of the season, he fell from 1st line to 4th and started to worry, that the couch doesn't believe in him. In the end, he recorded only 30 points for 15 goals and same number of assists in 66 games. 2007/08 was kind of a comeback for Slovakian winger, as he led Avalanche when the big stars were out with long time injuries. Unfortunately, on the beginning of March, he tore his left knee ligaments. That forced him to miss the rest of the regular season and playoffs. In my opinion, Marek Svatos certainly has the potential to be top 6 forward for the Avalanche. All he needs is to be healthy.
4th - 2001, 7th round (214th overall), Los Angeles Kings - C. Huet
One of the best goalies of the 2007/08 season was drafted as 25 years old. By the time, he was already a respected player in Europe. In 1998, while playing in French league for Grenoble, he won awards for "Goaltender of the Year" and "Most valuable player". After this season, he left his country of birth and headed to Swiss Lugano, where he won consecutive awards for "Goaltender of the Year". Starting in 2002, Huet played two seasons for the Los Angeles Kings and then, he was traded to Montreal Canadiens. Before the start of 2005/06 season, he was regarded a second-rate goalie and backup for experienced Jose Theodore. Soon, he prooved everyone wrong - he recorded 7 shutouts in 36 games for Habs and even won the Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award for the goaltender with best save percentage. He also secured the position of starting goalie and Joseph was traded to Colorado. In 2006/07 he earned a spot in the Eastern Conference All-Star Team, but he injured his hamstring in February and was able to return just for the last two games of the season. He left Montreal with tears in his eyes on the day of 2007/08 trade deadline. His trade to Washington for a 2nd round draft choice was considered as the most surprising move of the day. Habs have decided to make talented Carey Price number one in their net and they probably regretted this move after Price's unstable performance in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Huet was just great in the net and helped the Capitals a lot with their late push for playoffs. On July 1st, he signed a 4 year contract worth $22.4 million with the Chicago Blackhawks.
3rd - 2000, 4th round (118th overall), Los Angeles Kings - L. Visnovsky
Third place goes to another pick by the Kings - Slovakian defensman Visnovsky. He started to play in Los Angeles defense the same year that he was drafted. Soon, he became the top defensman of the team with average ice time over 20 minutes. Altough he isn't very large for a defensman (175 cm, 85 kg), he is a hard-working player, fast skater with good technique ideal for powerplay. Visnovsky is great in the offense. In 7 seasons for the Kings, he recorded 70 goals and 279 points in his 499 games. He was selected to NHL All-Rookie Team in 2001 and played in the NHL All-Star game in 2007. After the 2007/08 season, Visnovsky signed a 5 year extension worth $28 million. His contract also included a no-trade clause. Altough he was promised that he won't be traded elsewhere, on 30th June, one day before the start of the new contract that would make him untradeable, he was sent to Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Jarret Stroll and Matt Green. Altough he was furious at first, now he is looking forward to playing for his new team. His stay in Edmonton is certainly an opportunity for him to grow into an even better player.
2nd - 2004, 9th round (262nd overall), Montreal Canadiens - Mark Streit
"Silver medal" goes to Montreal Canadiens and their incredible 9th round pick. Swiss defensman Mark Streit might not be better than third placed Visnovsky, but his position on the draft makes this pick really extraordinary. Streit came to NHL in 2005 as 27 years old player with 8 years of experience from Swiss league. He played only 48 games in his rookie season, but he kept improving and last season was the best in his career so far. He was 3rd in team productivity (behind Kovalev and Plekanec) with 13 goals and 62 points. Similiar to Visnovsky, Streit is offensive defensman useful for powerplay. When necessary, he is even capable of playing on the wing. After such a season, it was quite a surprise that when Mark Streit became unrestricted free agent, Canadiens didn't try to sign an extension with him. Starting on October 2008, Streit will be playing NHL for the New York Islanders for over $4 million/year. It's not likely, that he will have as strong season as he had now with Montreal, but he will certainly add quality to Islanders blue line.
1st - 2000, 7th round (205th overall), New York Rangers - H. Lundqvist
First place is a no-brainer. The best pick in NHL Entry Drafts 2000-2004 is by far Henrik Lundqvist as 205th overall. Rangers should build a statue to man, who noticed and advised to draft this 18 years old goalie, who wasn't even in top Swedish hockey league yet. From 2000 to 2005, Lundqvist played for Elitserien team Frolunda. During his last season in Sweden, he was named Best Goaltender, Best Swedish Player and voted league's MVP by other players. He also broke four goaltender records of Swedish national league. In his three seasons for Rangers, he developed into key, franchise player and earned himself nickname "King Henrik". Three times, he was a finalist considered for Vezina trophy. In February 2008, Lundqvist agreed to sign 6 year contract worth $41.25 million dollars and we can take for granted, that he won't be traded anywhere. In past years, New York Rangers haven't been very lucky when it comes to 1st round choice, but the discovery of Lundqvist must have wiped off all remorse.