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 sixteen 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)
14th Overall: Artem Anisimov (Vancouver Canucks)
15th Overall: Michael Grabner (Tampa Bay Lightning)
16th Overall: Patrik Berglund (San Jose Sharks)
It’s easy to forget that Patrik Berglund was once an up-and-coming two-way center that some believed had 30-goal potential and the ability to really dominate a hard matchup. He was traded this summer as part of the package for Ryan O’Reilly and many St. Louis Blues fans were just happy to get his contract off the books. Back in 2006 when he was selected 25th overall by the Blues, he was a relative unknown because he’d not played at the highest level in Sweden like Nicklas Backstrom but was still the eighth-ranked skater from Europe according to the NHL’s Central Scouting.
Berglund’s selection quickly paid off for the Blues, debuting in 2008-09 with 21 goals and 47 points as a 20-year old and giving the team a running mate for young forwards like David Perron and T.J. Oshie that were meant to carry the water for the franchise for some time. Berlund would play a decade for the Blues before the aforementioned trade, and recorded 322 points in 694 games.
Though the Sharks’ original selection of Ty Wishart worked out okay after trading him to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Dan Boyle, Berglund could have given them another legitimate center option to lengthen out their forward group even further, or could have potentially been used to get even more in trade. With 168 goals in his career, Berglund actually ranks 11th among all players drafted in 2006, ahead of names like Derick Brassard, Michael Grabner and Artem Anisimov who’ve already been picked in our redraft.
Now we’ll move on to the seventeenth overall pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, which was originally held by the Los Angeles Kings.
If you were a Los Angeles Kings fan in 2006, you’d just seen your team miss the playoffs for the third straight season, fire their head coach near the end of the season and be led in scoring by a 29-year old defenseman and two forwards on the wrong side of thirty. There were things to look forward to, like young sniper Mike Cammalleri who had just scored 26 goals in his first full season with the team and last year’s top pick Anze Kopitar who was progressing well in Sweden. It was time to add to that young group though, and after taking Jonathan Bernier with the 11th overall pick—or Bryan Little, if they’d had the benefit of hindsight—the Kings made a draft floor trade with the Minnesota Wild to send out one of those older forwards.
Pavol Demitra was sent out of town, and the Kings brought back Patrick O’Sullivan and the 17th-overall pick in 2006. With it, they decided to add to their young forward group by nabbing USHL center Trevor Lewis. Lewis was coming off an incredible season with the Des Moines Buccaneers, finishing second in the league in both goals and points while playing with fellow top pick Kyle Okposo. He’d leave for the OHL the following season, but jump right into the Los Angeles organization in 2007 and never look back.
Lewis is still with the only franchise he’s ever known, and has been a reliable defensive presence for more than a decade. Unfortunately, that offense he showed at the junior level has never really materialized, with his career-high being set last season with 14 goals and 26 points in 68 games. Lewis is a full-time player for the team, but like Bernier earlier in the round, doesn’t look like the best pick this high in the 2006 draft. Though the back half of the first round certainly doesn’t have the kind of Hall of Fame caliber that was at the top, there are more skilled forwards still available.
But is that skill really the most important thing to select? Lewis has been a constant in the Kings lineup for years now, and was part of both recent Stanley Cup championships. Is that enough to ask for from a player selected 17th overall, or is there someone else who stands out as the obvious choice?
With the seventeenth pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, who should the Los Angeles Kings select?
[Mobile users click here to vote.]