3: Ilkka Pikkarainen
The only reason why Pikkarainen is not number one on this list is because he never made his NHL debut until he was re-acquired. Lamoriello drafted Pikkarainen in the seventh round of the 2002 NHL draft. Pikkarainen would spend one year in Finland before coming to North America to play three seasons for the Albany River Rats. He would go back to Finland, where he spent the next three seasons before re-signing with the Devils in the 2009 offseason.
So why is this re-acquisition so bad? Adding context, the 2008-09 season ended horrifically for the Devils. They allowed two goals in the final minute and 20 seconds in Game 7 to the Carolina Hurricanes. Fans were mad. After the heartbreak on the ice, fans watched long-time Devils John Madden and Brian Gionta walk in free agency. How did Lou Lamoriello respond to losing two key players to the team?
Enter Ilkka Pikkarainen. Lamoriello watched two fan favorites walk to bring back a player no one had ever heard of. When asked if the Devils did anything during free agency, Lamoriello said he signed someone that would contribute immediately to the big club. The mystery man would be revealed as Pikkarainen. He would play 31 games in the 2009-10 season while scoring only one goal.
This was the beginning of the decline for Lamoriello in many fan’s eyes. Letting established players walk to bring back his old draft picks. The Devils were not rewarded for bringing Pikkarainen back and were beaten in the first round of the playoffs in the 2009-2010 season. While Lamoriello did make up for this by trading for Ilya Kovalchuk during the year, he put his club behind by bringing Pikkarainen back into the fold.