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JASON BONSIGNORE #23
Center
Born: Apr 15, 1976
Rochester, NY
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 220 lbs
Shoots: Left
Edmonton's 1st pick in the 1994 Entry Draft (4th Overall).
Traded to Tampa Bay along with Bryan Marchment and Steve Kelly for Roman Hamrlik and Paul Comrie, Dec. 30, 1997.

 
 OILERS' STATS:
 SEASON:
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
 1994-95
1
1
0
1
0
 1995-96
20
0
2
2
4
 TOTALS:
21
1
2
3
4
Coming out of junior hockey many insiders, including most NHL scouts, felt big Jason Bonsignore had all the physical tools to become a bonafide NHL star.  Some are still scratching their heads wondering whatever went wrong.
Bonsignore was a scoring star in high school, playing two years with Greece Lightning, starting when he was just 13.  After a season with the Rochester Junior Americans in the NAJHL, Bonsignore made the jump to major junior hockey in Canada at the age of 16, joining the Newmarket Royals of the OHL.  By now he had grown to almost 6'4" and close to 200 pounds and had NHL scouts singing his praises.  Some compared his style to that of his childhood idol Mario Lemieux.  In 1994 he also played several games internationally for the U.S. National Team and also played in the World Junior Championships.  Although his offensive production had dropped significantly as he rose to higher levels of competition, scouts remained confident he would regain the scoring touch with added experience and he remained a so-called "can't miss" prospect.
The Oilers were firm believers in Bonsignore, selecting him fourth overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft while he was playing for the Niagara Falls Thunder.  He was picked ahead of such players as Jeff O'Neill and Ryan Smith.
No NHL organization has managed to avoid a disastrous pick in the Entry Draft at some juncture, and Bonsignore would go right to the top of the Oilers list as perhaps the biggest bust in team history.  He was relegated to the role of a career minor leaguer whose game not only failed to improve, but it had been in noticeable decline during his final two active seasons.  He was never able to crack the Oilers lineup, even during their lean years in the mid 1990s, when many other young players began making names for themselves.  After several years of mediocre offensive results in the AHL, the Oilers cut their losses and traded him to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a package deal, which also saw Bryan Marchment and Steve Kelly head to Florida in exchange for Roman Hamrlik, and Paul Comrie in December, 1997.
This once promising young hockey star goes down in hockey history as one of the bigger mysteries of the draft along with the likes of other infamous high first round busts such as Alexandre Daigle, Barry Dean, Ralph Klassen, Fred Williams, Ron Meighan and many others who, for one reason or another, just could not elevate their game to the elite level of the NHL.