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 nine picks, we’ve already seen potential Hall of Fame players switch teams, and multiple captains move up and down the draft board.
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)
Finally the player who was actually selected first overall has been voted by our community, as Johnson edged out Derick Brassard to stay in the top ten. Back in 2006 the St. Louis Blues made the mistake of choosing the big American defenseman ahead of several players who could be in the Hall of Fame one day, but he is still providing value in the NHL. There’s a wide gap between Johnson and some of the real busts in NHL draft history, and the Minnesota Wild would likely actually have been happier to have him than the player they actually selected—James Sheppard.
Now we’ll move on to the tenth pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, which was originally held by the Florida Panthers.
Florida had recently experienced a nice stretch of results where they picked legitimate NHL players if not stars in consecutive drafts. Between 2001-2004, the Panthers had selected Stephen Weiss, Gregory Campbell, Jay Bouwmeester, Tanner Glass, Nathan Horton and David Booth, all of whom have played more than 500 games in the NHL. That streak came to an end in 2005 when the 20th overall pick was used on Kenndal McArdle, but the Panthers would climb right back on the horse in 2006 with another solid value pick. Michael Frolik never did become the star scoring forward that many projected him to be, but after putting up 21 goals in each of his first two seasons the Panthers were already getting good results.
After Dale Tallon took over as GM of the Panthers he decided that Frolik could net him some of his former prospects from the Chicago Blackhawks, sending him in exchange for Jack Skille and others. Skille, selected seventh overall in 2005 by Chicago, might be categorized as one of the aforementioned busts given that he scored just 84 points in 368 NHL games. Frolik has spent time in Winnipeg and Calgary since leaving Chicago, and established himself as a fine secondary scoring option that can record 15-20 goals and 40-45 points on a yearly basis.
Is that enough to get him into the top 10 though? He has played the ninth-most games of any player selected in 2006, ahead of other already voted players like Kyle Okposo and Erik Johnson. Does his lack of star quality though drop him out of contention to be replaced by a player who maybe has burned brighter at times? With the tenth pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, who should the Florida Panthers select? Cast your vote below!
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