First Selections: '95-'99

We will continue the theme from yesterday's post and look at the first selections of the Red Wings from 1995-1999. Once again, these are the first selections the team made, not necessarily the first round pick.

1995-Rd 1, pick 26: Maxim Kuznetsov (D)

Kuznetsov spent parts of three seasons with Detroit, scoring 2 goals during his time in Motown. His stay included a Stanley Cup ring in '02 but that's really about it. He was traded to the LA Kings for Mathieu Schneider and then spent the remainder of his North American professional hockey career in the AHL. He left the US for the Russian league and played in the KHL in 2008-2009. Somewhere at my house, I actually have his rookie card (for some reason).

Notable others drafted: Tyler Perry (Madea Goes to Jail)

1996-Rd 1, pick 26: Jesse Wallin (D)

Wallin was drafted from the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL and spent parts of four seasons with the Red Wings squad. In his 49 games as a Wing, Wallin didn't register a goal and added only two assists. He spent 2003-2004 in the AHL and then retired. Currently, he is the head coach of his former WHL team, the Red Deer Rebels and coached Red Wings prospects such as Landon Ferraro and Willie Coetzee.

Notable others drafted: None

1997-Rd 2, pick 49: Yuri Butsayev (LW)

Yuri Butsayev spent three years in Detroit, largely uneventful playing only 75 games and scoring a total of four goals in that span. Butsayev is probably remember more for being part of the package sent to Atlanta for defenseman Jiri Slegr (the Slegrhammer!) in '01-'02. Butsayev spent parts of two seasons with the Thrashers before returning to play in Russia. Butsayev played for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of the KHL in 2008-2009.

Notable others drafted: Petr Sykora (C, 3rd round), Quintin Laing (LW, 4th round)

1998-Rd 1, pick 25: Jiri Fischer

Jiri Fischer's career in Detroit was probably the most documented of any of these 5 draft picks. Fischer's star was burning bright before his career was cut short far too early from heart problems. Fischer collapsed during a game against the Nashville Predators in 2005 and never played hockey again after the heart problem. WIM writer Joe Hass had a post detailing his firsthand experience at the game in which Fischer collapsed. Although Fischer spent only 6 years in Detroit, he was becoming a good player in the team's system. Fischer has a special place in the hearts of many Red Wings fans and he continues to work with the team as the director of player development.

Notable others drafted: That Pavel Datsyuk guy, he's alright I guess (C, 6th round)

1999-Rd 4, pick 120: Jari Tolsa (LW)

Jari Tolsa, the Red Wing that never was. Tolsa was drafted by the Red Wings but never spent anytime with the team--including the AHL squad. Tolsa has spent most of his professional hockey career in his home country of Sweden or just across the border in Finland. I think the guy listed below worked out a lot better, don't you?

Notable others drafted: Oh that other Eurotwin, Henrik Zetterberg (C, 7th round)


Check back tomorrow for 2000-2004.

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