|Born||February 7, 1975 |
Laval, Quebec, Canada
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight||195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)|
|Played for||Ottawa Senators|
Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Rangers
|NHL Draft||1st overall, 1993|
Alexandre Daigle (born February 7, 1975) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player who played for the Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Although he was drafted first overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Alexandre failed to live up to the high expectations, achieving a career-high of only 51 points in three separate NHL regular seasons. He is widely regarded today as the all-time greatest draft bust in NHL history.
As a youth, Alexandre played in the 1988 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with a minor ice hockey team from Laval, Quebec, Canada.
Leading up to the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Alexandre was considered a "can't miss" prospect and NHL superstar-in-waiting. The Senators were even accused of deliberately losing games late in the 1992–93 season, their first in the NHL, in order to guarantee the first overall selection and the right to draft him, prompting an investigation by the NHL, who soon implemented a draft lottery to prevent such things from happening again.
The Senators subsequently finished last place overall in the 1992–93 league standings, thus securing the rights to the first overall pick.
As the draft approached, the Quebec Nordiques (who were hosting the event) were reportedly so eager to draft the next Quebecois superstar that they were rumored to have offered star players such as Owen Nolan, Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall and draft picks, but Ottawa management disregarded all offers.
Alexandre was selected first overall by the Senators, ahead of future superstar Hall-of-Famers Chris Pronger and Paul Kariya, who were picked second and fourth, respectively. He subsequently received the largest starting salary in league history (five-years, $12.25 million), leading to the introduction of a rookie salary cap a few years later.
Regarding his draft position, he uttered the now infamous comment, "I'm glad I got drafted first, because no one remembers number two." Chris Pronger, selected after Daigle with pick two by the Hartford Whalers, was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.
Alexandre initially seemed destined to live up to the pre-draft hype, scoring 20 goals and 51 points in a rookie season in which he had little offensive support. However, he was never able to reproduce the dominance he displayed in junior, and the superstardom the Senators and the league had hoped for failed to materialize.
Alexandre scored 20 or more goals twice (in his rookie year and in the 1996–97 season) never registering more than 26 goals in a season. He was frequently criticized for lack of effort and motivation, with his lucrative long-term contract perhaps partially to blame. He seemed interested in the limelight, appearing in a full-page ad dressed in a nurse's uniform.
Alexandre was outplayed by Russian center Alexei Yashin in every season that they were teammates in Ottawa. Both of them entered the league in the 1993–94 season and were promoted as future stars of the franchise, on the cover of the Senators' yearbook and media guide.
However, management supported Alexandre over Yashin, touting him over Yashin for the Calder Memorial Trophy (though Yashin ended up receiving a nomination instead of Daigle).
After management continued to support Alexandre despite his subpar performance, an angered Yashin held out in the 1995–96 season unless his contract was renegotiated to pay him at a level similar to Alexandre's.
Head coach Rick Bowness and assistant coach Alain Vigneault were fired on November 21, 1995, after demoting Alexandre to the fourth line.
On September 25, 1996, Alexandre was removed from a Senators' team flight on September 25, 1996. While chatting with a flight attendant during USAir Flight 1948 with the team, he leaned over to Trevor Timmins (then the Senators' Director Of Team Services) and said "Watch out for your bomb there" while motioning towards Timmons' laptop computer. Upon hearing his comment, the flight attendant notified the captain, who immediately contacted USAir ground control, and police were subsequently notified.
What Alexandre didn't know was that then-U.S. President Bill Clinton was also on the Pittsburgh International Airport tarmac at the time, resulting in a heightened level of security. He was not prosecuted for the incident, but was fined $300 and was not allowed to board the attaching flight to Tampa, Florida with the rest of the team.
During the 1997–98 season, after four and a half seasons, 74 goals and 172 points in 301 games played, Ottawa finally soured on Alexandre and traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for prospect Vaclav Prospal & another first-round bust, Pat Falloon. With the Flyers, Alexandre scored 31 points in 68 games.
In January of 1999, the Flyers traded Alexandre to the Edmonton Oilers, who later that same day traded him to Tampa Bay for Alexander Selivanov.
Alexandre played only 32 games for the Lightning, collecting six goals and six assists for 12 points. The New York Rangers then acquired him as a reclamation project, sending cash to the Lightning, but they too realized the one-time junior superstar was not living up to expectations and waived him at the end of the season.
In 58 games with the Rangers, Alexandre recorded just 8 goals and 18 assists for 26 points.
Alexandre found himself out of hockey by the age of 25. No one was willing to take a chance on the under-achiever, and in fact, by his own admission said that he had no desire to play the game anymore.
In an interview on national television broadcaster Radio-Canada, Alexandre said he never wanted to play hockey, but he stuck to the game because of his talent. Instead, he became interested in the entertainment business and the opportunity to be a celebrity.
Alexandre played hockey in a small league in Los Angeles with Cuba Gooding Jr. on Jerry Bruckheimer's team, the Bad Boys, and created an event promotion company, Impostor Entertainment, with former Montreal Expos pitcher Derek Aucoin. Their first project was a concert featuring Sheryl Crow during the Canadian Grand Prix Formula One auto race in Montreal.
Following a two-year absence from hockey and in need of a steady paycheck, Alexndre decided to attempt an NHL comeback. In mid-2002, he contacted numerous teams looking for an invitation to training camp, ultimately signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He would lead the Penguins in pre-season scoring, earning himself a spot on the Pittsburgh roster to start the season.
Despite his impressive training camp, Alexandre was unable to continue his success into the regular season, ultimately spending the better part of the season with the team's AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. After being released by the Penguins, he signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Wild in the offseason.
After arriving in Minnesota, Alexandre impressed the Wild coaching staff enough to earn a roster spot for opening night. Over the course of the 2003–04 season, he managed to match his career high point total, finishing the campaign with 51 points (20 goals and 31 assists) to lead the team in scoring.
During this season, he was also the Wild's nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given annually to an NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
On March 6, 2006, Minnesota waived Alexandre and reassigned him to the team's AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros. He did not play a game for the Aeros, and was subsequently loaned to the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL on March 13, 2006, in exchange for forward Brendan Bernakevitch.
Aware that his NHL career was over, Alexandre set his sights on Europe. On May 5, 2006, he signed a two-year contract with Davos, a top team in the Swiss National League A and signed a two-year extension with them in December of that same year.
During his three complete seasons playing in Davos, the team won the league championship on two occasions.
In a little over three seasons with Davos, Daigle played 137 games, tallying 46 goals and 94 assists for 140 points (averaging a little over one point per game).
On October 26, 2009, Alexandre was loaned to the SCL Tigers in exchange for Oliver Setzinger. He played 25 games with the SCL Tigers in the 2009–10 season, with 7 goals and 17 assists for 24 points. He ranked seventh on the team in points while playing in fewer than half as many games as the team's other top scorers.
On March 23, 2010, Alexandre and Davos agreed to have his contract reduced from five years to three years, making him a free agent after the 2009–10 season.
Since the end of his European hockey career, Alexandre works in the movie industry, running studios for MTL Grandé.
|1998–99||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||32||6||6||12||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|1999–00||Hartford Wolf Pack||AHL||16||6||13||19||4||—||—||—||—||—|
|1999–00||New York Rangers||NHL||58||8||18||26||23||—||—||—||—||—|
- 1991–92: CHL – Rookie of the Year (Canadian Major Junior)
- 1991–92: QMJHL – Second All-Star Team
- 1991–92: QMJHL – Michel Bergeron Trophy (Top Rookie Forward)
- 1992–93: CHL Top Draft Prospect (Canadian Major Junior)
- 1992–93: QMJHL – Mike Bossy Trophy (Top Draft Prospect)
- 1992–93: QMJHL – First All-Star Team
Alexandre lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with his wife and three children.