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 twenty 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)
17th Overall: Jeff Petry (Los Angeles Kings)
18th Overall: Jonathan Bernier (Colorado Avalanche)
19th Overall: Mathieu Perreault (Anaheim Ducks)
20th Overall: Michael Frolik (Montreal Canadiens)
There was a time when Michael Frolik would have gone much higher than twentieth in a redraft such as this, given that he started his NHL career with consecutive 21-goal seasons. At that point, Frolik had the look of an elite two-way winger for the Florida Panthers that could evolve into one of the best in the game. The high selection they used on him had paid off, until of course, it didn’t. Something changed in Frolik’s game and by the time he was finished his first full season with the Chicago Blackhawks he’d scored just eight goals and 24 points in 91 games for his second club.
Then the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season came and went with just 10 points, and Frolik looked like he might be finished as a top-six option, or even perhaps an NHL option at all. The 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs changed all that, as Frolik added another 10 points, was a crucial penalty killer and suddenly a Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks. That drummed up enough interest to get a few draft picks from the Winnipeg Jets as Chicago tried to deal with their cap issues, and Frolik’s career was reborn. Returning to the 40-point player he’d been previously, Frolik put up two solid seasons with the Jets before finding himself on the move once again to the Calgary Flames, where he plays to this day.
While that up and down career wouldn’t be exactly what Montreal wanted out of their first round pick, Frolik certainly would have benefited them more than David Fischer. Had he dropped this far in the real draft, the Canadiens would have certainly snapped up a talent like Frolik and plugged him into their top-six without hesitation. As it happens, they never even got a single NHL game out of the pick.
Now we’ll move on to the twenty-first overall pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, which was originally held by the New York Rangers.
The 2006 draft rankings were filled with big defensemen who could move the puck, and the Rangers weren’t going to let another one slip by them. Just a few years earlier they’d taken Hugh Jessiman just two picks before Brent Seabrook came off the board, and had watched him first hand that season score 32 points with the Blackhawks as a spectacular rookie. In 2005 they took Marc Staal, and why not select another talented OHL defenseman to pair with him for the next decade of Rangers hockey. With that in mind, they called on New Jersey-born Bobby Sanguinetti from the Owen Sound Attack and hoped he could be the next big goal-scoring defenseman in town.
Sanguinetti never did project as a great defender, despite his size and reach, but was one of the best in the whole draft at jumping into the rush or attacking with his powerful shot. He’d score 23 and 29 goals in his next two seasons of junior, confirming what the Rangers thought about him in 2006. When he entered professional hockey though, it was clear that his defensive lapses would be exposed too often, and he didn’t make his NHL debut until late 2009 when he was already almost 22 years old. That five game stint with the Rangers would be the last of him in New York, as he’d be shipped out that summer for a pair of draft picks.
In Carolina, Sanguinetti would get just a few more call-ups before he would eventually head to the KHL. A few more minor league seasons and he’d find himself back overseas in Switzerland, where he played last season. Impressively though, he would suit up for Team USA in the Olympics, a highlight of his career to be sure. Though those draft picks would net the Rangers Jesper Fast, there’s little doubt they would take someone else if given the chance today.
With the twenty-first pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, who should the New York Rangers select?
[Mobile users click here to vote]