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)
23rd Overall: Leo Komarov (Washington Capitals)
24th Overall: Steve Mason (Buffalo Sabres)
25th Overall: Michal Neuvirth (St. Louis Blues)
26th Overall: Chris Stewart (Calgary Flames)
Stewart winds up dropping eight spots from his original selection but still managed to remain in the first round. He looked to have considerable promise following his sophomore NHL season in 2009-10 where he potted 28 goals and 36 assists in 77 games with Colorado. That, along with a solid start the following season, was enough to help convince St. Louis to part with young blueliner Erik Johnson, who was the number one pick back in 2006; the Blues also added Kevin Shattenkirk in that trade.
Although Stewart finished up the 2010-11 campaign strong, things started to go downhill for him after that. He became more of a secondary scorer with St. Louis and at the trade deadline in 2014, he was flipped to Buffalo as part of a deal that the Blues pick up goaltender Ryan Miller in an effort to shore up their goaltending.
Stewart’s stay with Buffalo didn’t last too long as at the trade deadline one year later, he was moved to Minnesota for a second-round pick although his stay there was even shorter. In the summer of 2015, he left the Wild to sign in Anaheim but after struggling with the Ducks, he went back to Minnesota in free agency one year later. Last season, the Wild opted to place him on waivers late in the year where he coincidentally wound up with Calgary.
Stewart was unable to land an NHL contract over the summer and opted to sign with Slovan Bratislava of the KHL in September. However, before he had even played a game, he decided to head back across the pond and signed with Hamilton of the ACH where he has played once so far this season.
As things stand, Stewart sits fourteenth overall in points from this draft class with 321 (160-161) in 652 games. It’s still possible he could add to that total if he can catch on with another team down the road but given his declining speed and the fact he couldn’t get a deal this summer, that’s far from a guarantee.
We now move to the twenty-seventh selection which was held by Dallas. They initially selected defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy, a productive player at the junior level but saw limited NHL success. He played in just five games with Dallas and has been in the KHL since the conclusion of his entry-level contract.
As a result, the Stars are set to wind up with a better player with this selection than their original one. Who should they take? Have your say by voting in the poll below.
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