The 1988 NHL entry draft featured some of the greatest players of the coming 10-15 years. Mike Modano and Trevor Linden went 1-2. Jeremy Roenick, Rod Brind'Amour and Teemu Selanne also were first rounders. Other graduates include Mark Recchi, Tony Amonte, Rob Blake, Alexander Mogilny and Valeri Kamensky.
But the NHL draft is often a crapshoot. Two first rounders never played in the league. Five others played less than 45 career games.
Pearson lived up to the solid role player tag well enough, but being drafted 6th overall placed other expectations on the young left winger. When his lack of natural skills prevented him from developing into a regular NHLer let alone into a top line player, the Leafs gave up on him relatively early.
By 1991 Pearson, a good friend of troubled Nords project Bryan Fogarty, was moved to the Quebec Nordiques, but lost most of the two seasons due to injury. He did get in half a season in 1992-93, and registered 13 goals.
His most successful NHL stint came with the Oilers in 1993-94. It was his first and only full season in the NHL. He was applauded for improved dedication to the game, and he had career highs of 19 goals and 18 assists.
The success in Edmonton was short lived. After scoring just 1 goal in the first 28 games the following season, Pearson was traded to the Buffalo Sabres. Pearson participated in parts of two seasons with the Sabres, but injuries and inconsistency kept him out of the Sabres line up on a regular basis. He got into 41 games over the 2 years, scoring 6 goals and 7 points.
The Toronto Maple Leafs gave Pearson another shot for the 1996-97 season. However a nagging abdominal injury cost Pearson almost the entire season. He only got into 14 minor league games plus one game with the Leafs.
Unable to find NHL employment, Pearson signed on with the independent Chicago Wolves of the IHL and enjoyed three solid season. He did return to the NHL for a short tryout with the New York Islanders.
Scott Pearson was a player who entered the NHL too early. With more maturity and a more stable environment, he could have been a very effective player.