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)
Sutter manages to hold on to a spot in the first round but takes the second-largest drop of any first-round selection in this redraft. That’s a fitting spot for someone who has carved out a reasonable career for himself but still hasn’t really lived up to expectations.
Coming out of WHL Red Deer where he played for his father briefly (before Brent went to the NHL with New Jersey and Calgary), Sutter was billed as a potential key two-way center, someone that could score enough to hold down a top-six role but also go against some top opponents as well.
His first two seasons in Carolina following his time in junior were the worst and best of his career. He struggled mightily in his rookie year but still managed to get into 50 games with the Hurricanes but managed just six points. However, things were looking up for his sophomore campaign as he reached the 40-point mark, something he hasn’t done in the nine years since then.
His output dipped over the next two seasons which made him expendable in the eyes of Carolina. They flipped him to Pittsburgh back at the draft in 2012 as part of the package that saw Jordan Staal join his brother Eric with the Hurricanes.
The expectations weren’t as high for Sutter with the Penguins as they were with Carolina. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the fold, all they needed from Sutter was to play reliable third line minutes. That didn’t exactly happen and it wasn’t too long before their search for a more permanent fixture behind those two was underway.
In the 2015 offseason after a trio of quiet seasons in Pittsburgh, he was moved to Vancouver in a swap of centers with Nick Bonino being part of the package going the other way. (Bonino spent two seasons with Pittsburgh where he played rather well before going to Nashville in free agency.) The expectations for Sutter with the Canucks were similar to his time with Pittsburgh but as injuries struck and the pace of the game has grown quicker, his role has dropped in recent years to the point where he has been a regular on the fourth line and has even spent a bit of time as a scratch.
Nonetheless, despite all of that, Sutter is in the top ten in games played from this draft class and will reach the 700 games mark later this month. That type of longevity is certainly impressive and while he hasn’t had the career that the Hurricanes envisioned when they picked him, he still has done pretty well for himself all things considered.
Now we turn our focus to the 27th pick in the draft which was held by Detroit. They took Brendan Smith with that selection, a defenseman that looked to have some offensive upside in his early years but has emerged more as a defensive defender in recent years while also spending some time on the right wing.
He’s still on the board but is there a better fit for the Red Wings? With the 27th selection, who should Detroit 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.