Mike Milbury's tenure with the New York Islanders was so infamously bad that even when he managed to do something brilliant, like select Zdeno Chara in the second-round of one of the worst drafts in recent memory, he still managed to find a way to screw it all up.
Following the 2000-01 season, Milbury traded his fourth-year defenseman (Chara), along with Bill Muckalt and the No. 2 overall pick (Jason Spezza) to the Ottawa Senators for Alexei Yashin, and then signed him to a 10-year contract extension. The Islanders are currently paying Yashin to not play for them, while Chara is the reigning Norris Trophy winner as the top defenseman in the NHL. Amazingly, that may not even be the worst trade of the Milbury era (we'll get to that in the coming days, don't worry).
After playing four seasons in Ottawa and continuing to develop into a top-pairing defenseman, Chara signed with the Boston Bruins as a free agent following the 2005-06 season.
Draft Year: 1996
We've talked about the 1996 draft before and how dismal it was in terms of top-shelf talent, but it still managed to produce a handful of impact players, including Chara at the No. 56 spot. If you could re-draft that year he would probably the first player off the board.
Why He's On My List
A combination of incredible size and the hardest shot in the NHL, Chara took home the Norris Trophy during the 2008-09 season as the best defenseman in the NHL, beating out Detroit's Niklas Lidstrom and Washington's Mike Green. He averages nearly 27 minutes of ice-time per game, can quarterback a power play, block shots, and fight. The complete package on the blue line.
Obligatory YouTube Video
An example of Chara's powerful shot as he blasts one past Carey Price.