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)
19th Overall: Alex Killorn, Anaheim Ducks (77)
20th Overall: Nick Bonino, Pittsburgh Penguins (173)
21st Overall: Pat Maroon, Edmonton Oilers (161)
22nd Overall: Paul Byron, Montreal Canadiens (179)
23rd Overall: Sam Gagner, Nashville Predators (6)
24th Overall: Justin Braun, Calgary Flames (201)
25th Overall: Ian Cole, Vancouver Canucks (18)
While Cole ultimately slips from his initial draft position, he only dropped seven spots overall and winds up with a Vancouver team that has needed a stable blueliner like him for quite some time.
While he wasn’t a big point producer with the US National Team Development Program which St. Louis drafted him out of, Cole was reasonably productive offensively at Notre Dame over his three years there. That helped convince the Blues to sign him with a year of eligibility remaining and he played in at least 15 games in each of his three entry-level years.
Despite seeing as much early NHL action as he did, Cole never really emerged as a key piece with St. Louis. Instead, he was limited to a lower-end role and eventually, they decided to try someone else in that spot instead and sent him to Pittsburgh for blueliner Robert Bortuzzo and a seventh-round pick.
With the Penguins, he was quickly given more ice time and slowly but surely played his way into a top-four spot while winning a pair of Stanley Cup titles in his first two seasons with the team. However, with GM Jim Rutherford needing to clear out money to bring in Derick Brassard in 2018, Cole became the cap casualty as he was sent to Ottawa and then flipped to Columbus just three days later. His stay with the Blue Jackets was also short-lived as he finished out the season and hit the open market.
Despite bouncing around as much as he did, Cole had a fairly robust free agent market in 2018 and used that to land a three-year, $12.75MM deal with Colorado. His $4.25MM AAV more than doubled that of his previous contract. The 30-year-old is in his second season with the Avs and has been a dependable stay-at-home player on their back end.
All in all, Cole has been a fairly good selection from this class and currently sits 26th in games played out of that group, a ranking that should improve over the next few seasons. While he’s not a flashy player, he has carved out a serviceable role for himself and should be able to land another multi-year deal in the 2021 summer.
Now, let’s turn the focus back to St. Louis who had the 26th selection as their third and final pick of the first round. After scooping up Eller (13) and Cole (18) with their first two picks, they went with a riskier pick in David Perron, a second-year eligible player who had all of one major junior season under his belt. The risk proved out to be quite beneficial as Perron sits fifth overall in scoring from this draft class, a great return for someone selected at the bottom of the first round.
Perron isn’t available now as he went 13th in our redraft so they will need to select someone else. With the 26th selection of the draft, who should the Blues select? Make your selection 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.