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A draft bust is a player drafted early in an NHL Entry Draft who fails to play in the National Hockey League, or turns out to be very low skilled despite expectations to be an excellent player.

The drafting of young players is a very unpredictable process. While it is easy for a scout to assess a young player's current skills, it is much harder to determine his exact potential, and, a fortiori, the external factors that may impact on his development; as a result, sometimes the scouts and management go wrong in estimating a young player's future, or simply, the player fails to reach the level he could have reached. It's those highly praised youngsters heralded as the next Wayne Gretzky and ending up having very average careers or, even worse, career minor leaguers that are considered draft busts, although the term in itself is very broad and could apply to any draftee who never lives up to expectations.

The opposite to a draft bust is a draft steal.

Players regarded as draft busts[]