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)
28th Overall: Carl Gunnarsson, San Jose Sharks (194)
29th Overall: Riley Nash, Ottawa Senators (21)
While Nash has largely been a role player throughout his career, it was still enough to keep him in the first round as he slips from 21st to 29th.
Although he hasn’t been a point producer in the pros, he was at the lower levels. A strong showing in the BCHL is what got him selected in the first round while he averaged a point per game in 102 contests with Cornell which is certainly solid.
However, Nash never spent a minute with the Oilers (who drafted him) or any of their affiliates. Instead, they flipped him to Carolina in 2010 for a second-round pick (used on Martin Marincin who has been a fringe defender for most of his career). They turned him pro right away but it took until 2013-14 for him to make the Hurricanes on a full-time basis. He spent three seasons with them as a regular and didn’t surpass the 25-point mark.
Things started to look up when he joined Boston in free agency in 2016. He had a clearly defined role and in his second season, his production took off as he produced career highs across the board with 15 goals and 26 assists. It had taken a while, but now Nash looked to have established himself as a capable two-way center.
That’s what Columbus was banking on when they signed him to a three-year, $8.25MM deal that beat the combined value of all of his previous contracts. Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, that hasn’t happened. Instead, Nash has a combined four goals in 101 games with them while averaging less than 11 minutes per night on the fourth line. He’s still playing a role but not the one that they initially envisioned.
We now turn our focus to the final pick of the first round in this draft class which was held by the then-called Phoenix Coyotes. This pick was originally held by Edmonton but they moved up to take Nash nine spots earlier. They took defenseman Nick Ross with this pick and after not getting an NHL opportunity during his entry-level deal, he was non-tendered and hasn’t played in North America since then. He has bounced around between Austrian and Slovakian leagues in recent years and is averaging nearly a point per game with DVTK Jegesmedvek, a Hungarian team in the Slovak league this season.
Suffice it to say, while the depth of this draft class wasn’t particularly strong, the Coyotes will wind up with a better selection here than their initial choice. With the 30th overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, who should they 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.