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)
7th Overall: Ryan McDonagh, Columbus Blue Jackets (12)
8th Overall: James van Riemsdyk, Boston Bruins (2)
9th Overall: Wayne Simmonds, San Jose Sharks (61)
Simmonds represents the second-biggest jump in our redraft so far and is already the third selection that didn’t come from the first round. Interestingly enough, Simmonds was a pick of the Kings who took Couture (the actual pick of the Sharks in 2007) with the fourth spot in our redraft.
While it’s fair to suggest that San Jose is happy with Couture, Simmonds wouldn’t have been a bad consolation prize by any stretch. He wasn’t a big point producer in junior which is part of the reason he slipped to the back of the second round but it was clear that at the very least, he could hold his own as a bottom-six winger which would still be decent value at this stage of the draft.
The Kings wasted little time putting him in their lineup as he was a full-time player for them just one year after being picked and he didn’t look out of place. His sophomore year is what really got him on the radar though as he picked up 40 points and 116 penalty minutes, showing that his offensive game could play up at the NHL level.
That got the attention of many teams, including Philadelphia who traded for him (along with Brayden Schenn) in 2011 as part of the Mike Richards trade, a move that worked out a whole lot better for the Flyers than it did for the Kings as Los Angeles will be carrying salary cap recapture on their books for terminating Richards’ deal until 2032.
Simmonds had a career year in his first season with Philadelphia and earned himself a six-year, $23.85MM extension that wound up becoming one of the top bargains in the league. He continued his upward ascension, scoring at least 28 goals and picking up at least 50 points over a four-season stretch between 2013-14 and 2016-17. At that time, he was one of the premier power forwards in the league.
However, as is often the case with players who play his style of game, it starts to take its toll. He struggled at times with the Flyers last season and was ultimately dealt to Nashville at the trade deadline where he had a marginal impact at best. Nonetheless, the Devils saw fit to give him a one-year, $5MM deal last month in the hopes that he can give them a boost on the wing.
That takes us to the number ten pick which was held by Florida. With stay-at-home physical defenders still in vogue, the Panthers opted for hulking blueliner Keaton Ellerby who had established himself as a physical force in the WHL. Unfortunately, the rest of his game was lacking and that was an issue as he turned pro.
Ellerby spent parts of five seasons with Florida split between the Panthers and AHL Rochester before flipping him to Los Angeles for a fifth-round pick. He didn’t last too long with them as less than a year later, he was claimed off waivers by Winnipeg in 2013-14. He spent two seasons in their organization before embarking on an intriguing international journey that saw him play in five countries in four years: Kazakhstan and Switzerland in 2015-16, Finland in 2016-17, Sweden in 2017-18, and Germany last year. He is currently unsigned for the upcoming season.
Clearly, Florida will get better value with this selection than they did with Ellerby.
With the tenth pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, who should the Florida Panthers select? Cast your vote below!
Mobile users, click here to vote.
*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.