When the Edmonton Oilers selected Nick Stajduhar 16th overall in the 1993 Entry Draft, they figured he would become a top blueliner for many years to come.
Stajduhar was the fourth defensemanman taken in the draft (Chris Pronger, Brendan Witt and Kenny Jonsson went ahead of him) after a spectacular junior career with the OHL's London Knights. He was an OHL First Team All Star in 1993-94 when he scored 34 goals and 86 points in 52 games. He was also a member of Team Canada in the World Junior Championships.
Stajduhar had a lot going for him. He had good size and a tremendous shot and most figured he could become a top offensive d-man in the NHL. He was big at 6'3" and 200 pounds. However he lacked the willingness to use his tremendous size advantage as he was very gentle out there.
Nick attended the Oiler's training camp in 1994-95 which turned out to be terrible for him on a personal note. Nick was attacked on an Edmonton street which left him with a skull fracture. When he was cleared to play again he was sent to the AHL's Cape Breton Oilers to regain his conditioning. It was a disappointing year for Nick who was expected to join the Edmonton Oilers that season.
Nick played for the Canadian national team the following year and appeared in his two only NHL games. He didn't pick up a point but did have two minor penalties.
Nick bounced around a lot after that. The next season was split between three teams in three leagues and was cut from the Oilers. No NHL team signed the once highly-touted prospect. Nick would however hang around with a variety of minor league teams once he was cut by the NHL.
It is unfortunate that Nick was attacked on that Edmonton street prior to the 1994 training camp. The injuries sustained in that incident caused Nick to lose valuable development time. While he had the skating and shooting skills to be an NHL player, Nick lacked the consistency to be able to compete at a high level of hockey.