Scott Scissons

The 1990 NHL Entry Draft goes down as one of the strongest in history. There was not a lot to choose from in the top five picks. Power forward Owen Nolan went first to Quebec, followed by super-skilled center Petr Nedved second to Vancouver. Humongous Keith Primeau, the surprising upstart darling amongst scouts at the top end of the draft, went third overall to Detroit. Mike Ricci, who had been hailed as the clear top choice a year earlier, ended up going 4th to Philly. Pittsburgh ended up with a steal at #5 - Jaromir Jagr. Remember though, at that time it was still unclear if world politics would allow Jagr to come to North America any time soon. Had he been immediately available, he most certainly would have gone first overall.

The top five picks were strong, but so was much of the first round. Darryl Sydor, Derian Hatcher, Martin Brodeur, and Keith Tkachuk.

Of course there were a few misses, as is to be expected with every draft. But not too many people were expecting the 6th overall selection to be a miss. When the New York Islanders made Scott Scissons, the heart of the Saskatoon Blades, their selection, everyone figured they would get a strapping, two way center who may not prove to be a star player, but would play a long time in the National Hockey League.

So certain were the Islanders that Scissons would be an impact NHL player they, according to Chris Botta, would have taken Scissons over Jagr had they had the chance.

He played just three games in the NHL. Two in the regular season and one in the playoffs. In fact, by 1995 he was out of pro hockey altogether.

Scissons was billed as that gigantic center everyone loves to have. At 6'1" and 200lbs as an 18 year old, scouts drooled over his size. He was an excellent face-off man and solid defensively, something that is pretty rare of a 18 year old player. Scouts agreed he lacked true offensive instincts to be scoring star in the NHL, but they felt he could develop into a Joel Otto or Shayne Corson or like role.

Professional hockey exposed the key weakness in his game - skating. He was a poor skater, lacking  in agility and speed. He tried correcting that by playing the 1991-92 season with the Canadian national team. Ultimately he was cut from the team prior to the 1992 Albertville Olympics.

Often big men can overcome skating deficiencies through rugged physical play. Scissons used his size to his advantage well enough, but he was never aggressive enough in nature to do a lot of the necessary initiating. That combined with a nagging shoulder injury in the junior season after his draft year really caused him to be largely ineffective.

Injuries kept plaguing Scissons in the minor leagues. In just a couple of minor league seasons both shoulders and his back were shot. He was spending more time in hospitals than on the ice.

The Islanders let Scissons go in 1995 but he was not prepared to give up his NHL dream. He was ready to sign with the Dallas Stars organization when there medical team gave him the terrible news.

"The doctor told me the next time I get hit improperly you may not walk again," says Scissons. "I decided there was more to life at 22."

"Without question it's disappointing," says Scissons, but ... "I wouldn't change much. There's certain things you can control and you can't control the injuries."

Scissons returned to Saskatoon where at last report he was working with Western Manufactured Homes. He was even playing some hockey with the Saskatoon Old Pros. He also found a lot of joy coaching his son's teams.

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