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)
While there usually aren’t many goalies that go in the first round, we’re on a bit of a goalie run here as Neuvirth becomes the third goalie in the last four picks while moving up nine spots overall from his original selection by Washington.
He took a fairly long road to the NHL as didn’t become a full-time player with the Capitals until 2010-11 where he became their starting goalie which helped enable them to move Semyon Varlamov to Colorado. He never was really able to repeat that level of performance and was eventually dealt to Buffalo to allow the Caps to add Jaroslav Halak as a deadline rental for the stretch run.
Neuvirth’s time with Buffalo didn’t last very long as he served as Jhonas Enroth’s backup for most of the 2014-15 season before once again being dealt at the deadline. This time, he was off to the Islanders to serve as the backup, coincidentally to Halak who he was traded for less than a year earlier. His time in New York was largely uneventful and he departed for Philadelphia in free agency in the summer of 2015.
Things started off well for the 30-year-old in his first season with the Flyers but they haven’t gone as well since then. Injury issues have been a concern over the last two years and he has been inconsistent when he has played. Neuvirth is in the final year of his contract and with the young goalie depth Philadelphia has, it’s safe to suggest that he won’t be with them too much longer.
Overall, Neuvirth has played in 251 career regular season games, ranking him fifth among goalies from that draft class. He hasn’t been able to become a legitimate starter but has still been able to carve out a nice career as a backup. Given the increasing role of backups in recent years, he should have some suitors this summer if he can show he’s healthy.
Now, we move on to the twenty-sixth selection which was held by Calgary. They, too, selected a goalie in Leland Irving although he hasn’t had anywhere near the type of success they hoped he would. Irving has played in just 13 NHL games, the last of which came back in 2012-12. Since then, he has bounced around several other leagues in the AHL, KHL, SM-liiga, and this season, the EBEL.
As a result, the Flames are set to fare a lot better with this selection than their original one. Who should they take? Have your say by voting in the poll below.
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