I took a quick look around at the Isles drafts since '79. I think three classes could easily be the worst, throwing in a 4th just to round things out. Consider that an average NHL career is 318 games.
Pro: Marty McInnis with 798 games is the only bright spot of this class. Danny Lorenz also managed to make the NHL with 8 games across 3 season on the Island.
Cons: With 3 picks in the top 40, The Isles picked Kevin Cheveldayoff (1st Rounder) Wayne Doucet (2nd) and Sean LeBrun (2nd). All three never made it to the NHL level, and were out of hockey all together by 95.
Saving Grace: Nothing really, only 1 other player picked in the first round never made it to the NHL that year (Kory Kocur by Detroit) and the Isles managed to draft 2 of the 7 2nd rounders that never played an NHL game that year.
Pro: Chris Taylor with 149 NHL games is still playing today for the Rochester Americans in the AHL. Dan Plante managed 159 games mostly over 2 seasons with the Islanders.
Cons: Scott Scissons. Most Isles fans know him well enough to not need an introduction. But just in case, Scott was picked 6th overall, played 2 NHL games, oh and the 2 Players picked before him and after him in order? Mike Ricci, Jaromir Jagr, Darryl Sydor, Derian Hatcher. Of the players picked in the first round, Scissons is the only one to play less then 100 games, with only 2 other players never making the NHL from that first round. Of the rest of the picks that never played an NHL game, only 11th Rounder Martin Lacroix managed to make it to the AHL for all of 25 games.
Saving Grace: Not much, nearly every round had at least 3-4 NHL Caliber players and a lot of hidden gems (Peter Bondra anyone?) late in the draft.
Pro: Andy Chiodo... Who wasn't signed by us and was re-drafted by the Penguins who in complete desperation let him actually play 8 NHL Games over 2 seasons.
Cons: Well when you trade EVERY PICK for the first three rounds you kind of end up with a draft like this. With their first pick they went with Cory Stillman (Not the good one) who has bounced around some rookie training camps but is continually nagged by injuries. Dusan Salficky played 4 AHL games before returning to Europe. Jan Holub and Roman Kukhtinov never left Europe. Mike Bray ironically played with Stillman in the IHL last year. Juha-Pekka Ketola and Byran Perez appear to be done with hockey.
Saving grace: Well they did trade their first, second and third rounder. In Fairness Acouin is better then anyone that went in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. And as long as you didn't want some punk named Spezza who only averages 1 point a game you'd be in good shape.
2003 (Via Hanz Und Franz)
Hands down 2003. Sure Nilsson and Gervais are passable NHLers, but Nilsson will be on his 3rd organization before he turns 26 this offseason. But the damning evidence that this was the worst Isles draft comes from the 2nd round.
Dmitri Chernykh – 48th Overall – 0 NHL games played, 0 AHL games played, 37 ECHL games played, only this year has he made it onto even a KHL team. The next pick? Nashville takes Shea Weber.
Evgeny Tunik – 53rd Overall – 0 NHL games played, 61 AHL games played. Out of hockey since 2008. Next pick? Dallas takes B.J. Crombeen.
Jeremy Colliton – 58th Overall – 46 NHL games over 4 years. Currently playing in the Elitserien, although his team Rogle was relegated to the Allsvenskan. Players taken after him in the 2nd round? #61 Maxim LaPierre, #62 David Backes and #64 Jimmy Howard
Remember Milbury also traded up out of the 3rd round to get Tunik as well. You can’t have 3 2nd round picks in a year and have a combined 46 NHL games between them (All of which came from Colliton as well). When you consider who the Isles passed over to select the colossal busts of Chernykh and Tunik you have by far the most inept draft.
Pro: We somehow got the Oilers to take O'Marra off our hands in the Smyth deal? Maybe Dustin Kohn.
Con: The last hurrrah of Milbury Drafts has a Milbury trademark pick. Masi Marjamaki was a fifth round pick and probably wouldn't be that important. If not for the fact that Milbury decided to pick Masi mostly likely due to Boston picking him in the 2nd round in 2003 and never signing him. Masi played 2 seasons for Bridgeport and 1 game for the Isles and is back in Finland today. O'Mara will probably never be an NHL Talent, Kohn is just as borderline. Shea Guthrie is listed on the Islanders site, but his last news story was the 2008 Prospect camp for them. Tyrell Mason recently graduated and played 47 games in the CHL last season. Luciano Aquino doesn't look like he'll be back in the States anytime soon.
Usually 4 years out is too soon to say something about a class, and Kohn or O'Marra might make something of themselves. But for the most part it looks like Milbury's last draft was one of his worst. Outside of Kohn and O'Marra, the rest of them aren't even listed over at Hockey's Future.
Saving Grace: Well if Kohn can become an NHL regular, and suddenly Guthrie and Mason start showing some higher level talent then maybe. This wasn't a particularly bad draft and we had the mid round pick.
Other Possible Years:
Some of my other choices and reasons why I let them go
1992: If it was just Kaspuritis I would have added it, but Armstrong had a decent career too.
1994: The Brett Lindros year, but Jason Strudwick, Brad Lukowich and Dick Tarnstrom had decent NHL careers.
1998: I probably should have, as the only player with a long NHL Career was Rupp, who we never signed. But he does have Multiple Stanley Cup rings.
2002: Is saved by Nielsen and Bergie
2003: Gervais and Nilsson are on the way to solid careers. Hopefully at least for Bruno.
2007: Too Soon.