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.
We’re looking back at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and asking how it would shake out knowing what we do now. Will the first round remain the same, or will some late-round picks jump up to the top of the board?
Here are the results of the redraft so far, with their original draft position in parentheses:
1st Overall: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (1)
2nd Overall: Jamie Benn, Philadelphia Flyers (129)
3rd Overall: P.K. Subban, Phoenix Coyotes (43)
4th Overall: Logan Couture, Los Angeles Kings (9)
5th Overall: Max Pacioretty, Washington Capitals (22)
6th Overall: Jakub Voracek, Edmonton Oilers (7)
While the Oilers were probably pretty happy with the way Sam Gagner turned out for them through the first part of his career, our community believes that there was a better forward option available. Voracek had already come over to North America the season leading up to his draft and put up an impressive rookie campaign in the QMJHL. In fact, his 110 points in 71 games for the Halifax Mooseheads during the 2006-07 season earned him the league Rookie of the Year award along with a place on the CHL prospects team. The young forward also participated in the World Junior despite being just 17 years old and scored three points in six games for the Czech Republic.
Voracek has blossomed into an exceptional offensive player at the NHL level too. Stepping into the league full time in 2008, he registered 38 points with the Columbus Blue Jackets, a total that he would eclipse in every season thereafter. His best production came just two years ago with Philadelphia when he put up 85 points in 82 games, but there have been other outstanding years dotted throughout his career. In total, Voracek has 639 points in 846 career games which actually ranks him third among all players picked in 2007.
Even with all of that success, Voracek’s name likely rings of pain for Blue Jackets fans. Not for anything he did, but something the front office decided to do in June, 2011. Voracek, coming off a 46-point season with the club, was traded along with a first and a third round pick the day before the 2011 draft. The return? Jeff Carter, who was coming off an outstanding 36-goal season with the Flyers. Voracek was scheduled to be a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level deal and was leveraged to get a player considered an elite talent in the league. Carter was in the early stages of an 11-year contract (which he is still under) and the Flyers needed some extra room to go after free agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
Unfortunately, nothing went right for the Blue Jackets after that. Carter would get hurt and eventually force another trade after voicing his displeasure in Columbus, going to Los Angeles in exchange for Jack Johnson and another first round pick in 2013. You would think that pick would help balance out what they gave to Philadelphia in the first place, but where the Flyers selected Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins with their two picks in 2011, Columbus grabbed Marko Dano in 2013. Carter would continue to star in Los Angeles and win two Stanley Cups and an Olympic gold medal in three years, while Voracek and Couturier are still the backbone of the Flyers offensive attack (along with Claude Giroux, of course).
Looking back, it’s hard to argue with the selection of Voracek at seventh overall. But perhaps if they had picked someone else none of that would have happened. Now you’ll get the chance to re-write history since the Czech forward is already off the board.
With the seventh pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, who should the Columbus Blue Jackets select? Cast your vote below!
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*Tragically, 17th overall pick Alexei Cherepanov died at the age of 19 and would never get a chance to suit up in the NHL. He has not been included in this vote.