Coming out of the QMJHL, many hockey pundits were touting Alexandre Daigle as a "can't miss" superstar, someone who would be an NHL franchise player. The Ottawa Senators selected Daigle first overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft and he had the statistical background to legitimize the selection. Less than seven years later, he was out of hockey altogether.
Daigle played two seasons with the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL. In his first year, at the age of 16, Daigle appeared in 66 games, scoring 35 goals and 75 assists for 110 points. That first season garnered him Rookie-of-the-Year honors and the attention of the NHL scouts. He followed up his first year with a tremendous sophomore season, scoring 45 goals and 92 assists for 137 points in just 53 games. Injuries and suspensions kept him out the rest of the year.
At 18, with much expected of him, Daigle joined the Ottawa Senators for the 1993-94 season. In 84 games he managed 20 goals and 31 assists, which would be considered a good rookie year by most standards but many had expected more from the first pick overall. In the shortened 1994-95 season, he had 16 goals and 21 assists in 47 games. Once again it was a decent effort, but the Senator organization clearly knew something was amiss - he was not progressing to the level of their expectations. Compounding the pressure for Daigle was the presence of such European players as Alexei Yashin and Daniel Alfredsson, who were producing at a higher level with less fanfare.
By 1995, at the age of only 20, Daigle already felt the noose tightening around his neck. In 50 games he scored just five times while assisting on 12 others. To Daigle's credit, he worked hard in the off-season, and in 1996-97 he played a full 82-game season and produced his best offensive year in the league, scoring 26 goals and 25 assists for 51 points. While Daigle was putting up decent numbers, they were clearly not the statistics of a franchise player. That moniker had since been given to Yashin.
Early in 1997-98, the Senators gave up on Daigle and shipped him off in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers which saw Vaclav Prospal and Pat Falloon head to Ottawa. He played a total of 68 games with the Flyers, scoring just 12 goals before they gave up on him being a late bloomer. The Flyers managed to unload Daigle on the Edmonton Oilers in January 1999, but later that same day they shipped him off to Tampa Bay for Alexander Selivanov. Daigle's career lasted all of 32 games in west Florida. He collected six goals and six assists for 12 points.
The New York Rangers brought him to town as a reclamation project, sending cash to the Lightning, but they, too, realized this one-time junior superstar was not living up to the expectations. In 58 games with the Broadway Blueshirts, Daigle scored just eight times and assisted on 18 others for 26 points.
Daigle was out of hockey by the age of 25, out of teams willing to take a chance on him, and in fact, by his own admission said he had no desire to play the game anymore.
Following after a two-year absence from the game, Daigle was willing to give hockey another opportunity. In the summer of 2002 Daigle contacted numerous teams looking for an invitation to training camp and with some teams showing interest, he felt the ideal fit for his game was that of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Daigle would lead the Penguins in pre-season scoring and had earned himself a roster spot for with the team to start the season in Pittsburgh.
Although, Daigle impressed in training camp he was unable to bring his game to the regular season and spent a better part of the season with the team's AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. After being released by the Penguins, Daigle signed as a free-agent with the Minnesota Wild in the summer of 2003. Upon his arrival in the State of Hockey, the former first overall pick impressed the Wild coaching staff enough to warrant a roster spot on opening night. Over the course of the regular season, Daigle managed to duplicat his point total from the 1996-97 season, finishing the campaign with 51 points (20-31-51) and was the club's nominee for the Bill Masterton Award.