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)
10th Overall: Kevin Shattenkirk, Florida Panthers (14)
11th Overall: Jake Muzzin, Carolina Hurricanes (141)
12th Overall: Kyle Turris, Montreal Canadiens (3)
13th Overall: David Perron, St. Louis Blues (26)
14th Overall: Mikael Backlund, Colorado Avalanche (24)
15th Overall: Evgenii Dadonov, Edmonton Oilers (71)
16th Overall: Alec Martinez, Minnesota Wild (95)
17th Overall: Carl Hagelin, New York Rangers (168)
18th Overall: Lars Eller, St. Louis Blues (13)
Eller winds up dipping five spots from his initial selection but still winds going to the team that actually drafted him. His career can be viewed through a glass half full or half empty lens which is why he slots in here despite having the eighth-most games played of anyone in this draft class.
The Blues selected him out the Swedish junior league where he tied for the league lead in scoring. Coincidentally, the player he tied with was the 17th pick in this redraft. He then split the following season between their top two pro leagues before moving up to the SEL (now SHL) on a full-time basis in 2008-09.
Along the way, he produced enough to give St. Louis hope that they had a capable two-way center on their hands. He impressed in his first season in North America, collecting 57 points in 70 AHL games plus a pair of goals in seven contests with the Blues.
That was enough to garner the attention of Montreal, who made him the centerpiece of the return that saw the Blues pick up goaltender Jaroslav Halak. The Canadiens hoped that he’d be a core center for them, a position that turned out to be a long-term area of weakness.
However, while Eller showed flashes of his offensive upside, he wasn’t able to put it together on a consistent basis and never surpassed the 30-point mark over his six seasons with the team. Oddly enough, his best season offensively with them came in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign.
Convinced that he had reached his ceiling with Montreal, the team turned around and traded him to Washington for a pair of second-round picks at the 2016 draft. The change of scenery has done him some good as despite playing almost exclusively on the third line with the Capitals, Eller has set new career bests in points in each of the last two seasons. He’s signed through 2022-23 so if he stays healthy throughout that time, he’ll have a chance to reach the 1,000 games played mark by the end of his contract.
Now we move on to the 19th pick that was held by the Anaheim Ducks after trading down from 16 in a deal that needed them a second-round pick. They selected forward Logan MacMillan out of Halifax of the QMJHL following a strong showing in the postseason. Unfortunately for them, that performance wasn’t a sign of things to come. Following his junior career, he spent his first pro season in the ECHL before being dealt to Calgary for veteran AHL forward Jason Jaffray. The change of scenery didn’t help as he spent the next two seasons in the minors with the Flames before being non-tendered. MacMillan then began an international hockey nomadic journey with stints in Austria, Kazakhstan, Russia, England, and Romania.
Needless to say, they’ll wind up with a better pick this time around. With the nineteenth pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, who should the Anaheim Ducks 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.