Alexandre Picard, 1st round (#8 overall), 2004 NHL Draft
As mentioned at the start of the article, Blue Jackets history is riddled with complete whiffs at the draft, but this is especially true under Doug MacLean. The worst of these misses? The 2004 draft, where the team traded back and selected left wing Alexandre Picard. In fact, the entire 2004 draft was a disaster and likely set the franchise back in a big way.
Once again finding themselves just outside of a clear-cut top-3 (Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Cam Barker), the Jackets entered the draft open to the idea of trading their #4 pick. MacLean would do just that, dropping back four spots and acquiring pick #59 in the draft from Carolina. The Canes used the fourth pick to select Andrew Ladd, who is still in the NHL and just played career game #1000 this past season, while the Jackets selected Picard four spots later.
After MacLean made his selection, he would boast to the fanbase that he got the player he would have taken fourth overall, with the eighth overall pick. Picard was coming off of a QMJHL season where he scored 39 goals, 80 points and added 88 minutes in penalties. He was touted as another Rick Nash like player to the fanbase, a guy who could come in and be a talented, physical winger, and play in the team’s top-6.
But it never panned out for Picard, who would skate just 67 games in the NHL and never scored an NHL goal. He just never put it all together at any point in time, and took his talents overseas in 2012. Worse yet? The 59th pick turned into Kyle Wharton, who only managed 33 games in the AHL. Ouch.
The entire 2004 draft class for Columbus (12 picks made) would only combine for 374 games played, dominated by the 205 appearances from ninth round pick Grant Clitsome.