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)
26th Overall: Brandon Sutter, St. Louis Blues (11)
27th Overall: Karl Alzner, Detroit Red Wings (5)
While Alzner manages to hold onto a spot in the first round, it’s still quite a drop for the blueliner as his drop of 23 spots is the largest so far of anyone selected in our redraft.
At the junior level, Alzner was a top-notch shutdown defender that also showed some offensive upside. He profiled as a top pairing stay-at-home piece in the NHL and the Capitals saw fit to make him a top-five pick as a result. They didn’t have to wait too long to get a return on that investment as he played in 30 NHL games just two years after being picked and was a full-time regular on Washington’s back end in 2010-11.
Over his seven full seasons with the Capitals from that point on, Alzner logged over 20 minutes a night and never missed a single regular season game. While his offensive production was largely minimal, he was still an effective top-four option for quite a long time.
However, with mobility and puck skills becoming more and more important, Alzner’s usage dropped in the 2017 postseason and eventually helped pave the way for his departure in free agency. Despite his style of play not necessarily fitting in with the current design for many teams, the Canadiens saw fit to give him a five-year, $23.125MM deal to try to stabilize the left side of their back end.
In his first year with Montreal, Alzner played a regular role and didn’t miss a game but he was scratched early and often to start 2018-19 and he wound up clearing waivers multiple times. The front-loaded nature of his contract makes it somewhat buyout-prohibitive so Alzner returned for this season where he promptly cleared waivers and is currently a fixture on the third pairing with their AHL affiliate in Laval. Suffice it to say, the contract hasn’t worked out.
Despite his recent struggles though, Alzner has actually carved out a pretty good career for himself. Even though he has barely seen any NHL action between this season and last year, he still ranks 11th in games played among all players from this draft class and is first among defensemen (at least for another couple of months). Although it may not quite seem like it now, Alzner was a core part of Washington’s back end for quite some time and while his days as an impact NHL player appear to be done now, the Capitals still received decent value out of this pick.
Now we turn our focus to the 28th pick in the draft which was held by San Jose. They looked for a shutdown defenseman of their own with their selection, picking college-bound defenseman Nick Petrecki. However, he spent the better part of five years in the Sharks minor league system and only got into one NHL game. He retired following the 2015-16 season that was spent primarily at the ECHL level.
While the options are thinning out, San Jose will still wind up with a better player in our redraft. Who should they 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.