The Painful Saga of Rick DiPietro

Photo: Adrian Wyld, Jeff McIntosh, Ron Frehm/AP

Rick DiPietro was the first goaltender ever drafted No. 1 overall by an NHL team. Chosen by the New York Islanders in 2000 ahead of such future stars as Dany Heatley (No. 2, Atlanta), Marian Gaborik (3, Minnesota), Scott Hartnell (6, Nashville), and Ilya Bryzgalov (44, Anaheim), the historic pick was the brainchild of Isles general manager Mike Milbury, who surely earned his moniker “Mad Mike” by trading highly touted young goalie Roberto Luongo (bottom right), the team’s first pick (fourth overall) in 1997, who had shown promise during his first season in New York. The arrival of the cocky, swashbuckling, stickhandling, injury-prone netminder who came to be known as “Rickety DiPietro” started one of the most painful and frustrating sagas in NHL history.

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