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 21 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)
21st Overall: Cal Clutterbuck (New York Rangers)
22nd Overall: James Reimer (Philadelphia Flyers)
Considering Philadelphia’s long-term struggles between the pipes, it’s only fitting that they wind up with Reimer, a goaltender, with this selection. While he wouldn’t have come close to providing the value that Giroux (their original selection) did, he would have at least given them another NHL-caliber option between the pipes at a time where the Flyers had churned through a lot of different netminders.
Reimer gets quite a boost from his original selection as the Maple Leafs selected him with the 99th pick. As is often the case with goaltenders, it took a while for him to make his mark as he didn’t make his NHL debut until 2010-11 after spending time at both the AHL and ECHL levels.
The 30-year-old has been remarkably consistent when it comes to his playing time. In each of his eight NHL seasons (not including 2018-19), he has played between 32 and 44 games. In other words, he has basically been a platoon player for most of his career but Reimer has still posted decent numbers, including a .914 SV%. For comparison purposes, Philadelphia has only had a team save percentage above that mark in one of those years.
We now move on to the twenty-third pick which was held by the Washington Capitals. The Caps used that pick on Semyon Varlamov, who they viewed as their goalie of the future (and our readers viewed as the top goalie of this draft class as he went thirteenth to Toronto). It didn’t take too long for him to make an impact as he became a starter in the RSL (now the KHL) in his post-draft year and he was in North America for the 2008-09 season where he got into six games with the big club. One year later, he was their full-time backup.
However, with Michal Neuvirth already in the fold and Braden Holtby close to being NHL-ready, Washington decided to deal him to Colorado for a 2011 first-round pick (used on Filip Forsberg) and a 2012 second-round pick (that they later dealt away).
In his time with the Avalanche, Varlamov has been their number one netminder (when he has been healthy, something that hasn’t always been the case). In parts of eight years with the team, he has posted a quality .917 save percentage. He led the league in wins in 2013-14 and is off to a fine start this season, leading the league with a .953 save percentage through his first seven starts. Interestingly enough, his future in Colorado past this season is uncertain after history repeated itself in the summer with the Avs acquiring Phillip Grubauer from Washington with the idea that he will be their goalie of the future.
Although Washington’s original choice is no longer available, there are still some quality players to choose from. Who should they take with the twenty-third selection? Have your say by voting in the poll below.
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