Jack Hughes. Scott Niedermayer. Jesper Bratt. Martin Brodeur. Those are just some of the names that were drafted, developed, and turned into a star all under the New Jersey Devils banner. The Devils had the right scouting, coaching, and everything else in place that is necessary to create stars from scratch.
Of course, it doesn’t always work out like that. There are more successes than failures when it comes to development in this organization. However, there are always the horror stories of players the Devils drafted who went elsewhere and got famous.
There are dozens of names who were drafted by the Devils and just saw their career peter out. Some first-round picks failed to make the NHL at all. We’re not talking about draft busts today. We’re talking about those players who were drafted by the Devils, left the organization for one reason or another, and they became famous with another organization.
1987 first-round pick, second overall
Alright, we’re starting with one where we’re cheating, but this is probably the first name that comes to mind when we say “got famous somewhere else” has to be Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan. Of course, he was pretty famous in New Jersey. The former second-overall pick spent four seasons in New Jersey.
We all know what happened next. He signed an offer sheet with the St. Louis Blues, who already used the pieces for an offer sheet on Scott Stevens. In one of the greatest examples of negotiation skills in human history, Lamoriello talked an arbitrator into giving him the superstar defenseman in exchange for Shanahan.
Shanahan would return to the Devils at the end of his career almost two decades later, but not many think of the Devils when you say “Brendan Shanahan.”