Hindsight is an amazing thing, and allows us to look back and wonder “what could have been.” Though perfection is attempted, scouting and draft selection is far from an exact science and sometimes, it doesn’t work out the way teams – or players – intended. For every Patrick Kane, there is a Patrik Stefan.
Our look back at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft is now in full swing as we poll the PHR community to see who would have been selected in the first round and in what order knowing what we know now. Through the first dozen picks, we’ve already seen potential Hall of Fame players switch teams, and multiple captains move up and down the draft board.
Here are the results of the redraft so far:
1st Overall: Jonathan Toews (St. Louis Blues)
2nd Overall: Claude Giroux (Pittsburgh Penguins)
3rd Overall: Nicklas Backstrom (Chicago Blackhawks)
4th Overall: Brad Marchand (Washington Capitals)
5th Overall: Phil Kessel (Boston Bruins)
6th Overall: Jordan Staal (Columbus Blue Jackets)
7th Overall: Milan Lucic (New York Islanders)
8th Overall: Kyle Okposo (Phoenix Coyotes)
9th Overall: Erik Johnson (Minnesota Wild)
10th Overall: Derick Brassard (Florida Panthers)
11th Overall: Bryan Little (Los Angeles Kings)
12th Overall: Nick Foligno (Atlanta Thrashers)
13th Overall: Semyon Varlamov (Toronto Maple Leafs)
After narrowly missing going one spot earlier, Varlamov won the nod here by a fairly notable amount, earning himself a ten spot boost over where he initially went. While he has had some ups and downs as a starter with Colorado (after spending three years as the backup in Washington), he has carved out a reasonable career for himself as a number one netminder. While Varlamov wouldn’t really fit in with their current roster, adding him in this spot may have prevented them from making as many moves chasing starting goalies as they did shortly after this draft class. (In fact, they made one of those moves on draft day in 2006, swapping the rights to Tuukka Rask to Boston for Andrew Raycroft, a deal they’d like a mulligan on).
Now we’ll move on to the fourteenth overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, which was originally held by the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks turned to the WHL for their pick, selecting Austrian winger Michael Grabner who was coming off a strong 36-goal season. However, he didn’t spend much time with Vancouver as he played in just 20 games with the team before being dealt to Florida in the 2010 offseason. His time with the Panthers was even shorter as he was waived in training camp and picked up by the Islanders.
That’s where Grabner really made his mark. He scored 34 goals in his first season with the team (his career high to this date) and picked up 144 points in 297 games with New York before being flipped to Toronto in what amounted to a salary dump in the 2015 preseason. He played out that year in Toronto before joining the Rangers where he restored his value, collecting 52 goals in 135 games before being a deadline acquisition of the Devils as a rental player. This summer, he joined the Coyotes in free agency, inking a three-year, $10MM deal.
Overall, Grabner ranks 21st among games played by players in this draft class (553) and 19th in points (249), making him a quality first rounder from this group.
With the benefit of hindsight, was he the right pick for the Canucks? Have your say by making your pick for the fourteenth selection in the poll below:
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