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 2008 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?
The results of our redraft so far are as follows with their original draft position in parentheses:
The 2020 Norris Trophy winner was able to edge out a couple of other elite defensemen, as more than 46% of our readers felt Josi was the right choice at third overall. Comparing him to the Zach Bogosian pick that the Thrashers actually went with will certainly drive Winnipeg Jets fans crazy, as Josi has spent his entire career to this point with the team that picked him and is coming off a 96-point campaign that puts him at the very top of the list for offensive seasons by defensemen in the salary cap era.
After Stamkos, Doughty, and Josi come off the board, we move to fourth overall which was held by the St. Louis Blues.
Despite his name not coming up in the first three picks of our redraft, the Blues have never regretted their selection of Alex Pietrangelo. After watching Doughty and Bogosian go off the board, the Blues decided to go another defenseman and selected the King City, Ontario native who had just put up 13 goals and 53 points with the Niagara IceDogs.
Pietrangelo, who actually played with Stamkos on the same summer league minor hockey team, had been a top prospect in the Toronto area for a long time and was seen as a much more well-rounded option than some of the other defensemen available at that point. He had been ranked fifth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting and seemed like a potential franchise defenseman that would have been in the running for an even higher pick in some weaker years.
That’s exactly what the Blues got, though it did take a little bit of time for Pietrangelo to actually get there. Unlike Doughty and Bogosian, who both went to the NHL as teenage defensemen, Pietrangelo would only play a handful of games before being sent back to the OHL in both 2008-09 and 2009-10. By the time he arrived full-time in 2010-11, he was pretty much a finished product and scored 11 goals and 43 points while logging 22 minutes a night.
He would have an “A” on his sweater by his fourth season (the same year he won an Olympic gold medal) and would eventually take over as captain of the Blues in 2016.
One of the most consistent two-way defenders in the league, Pietrangelo has 517 points in 879 career regular season games and has averaged nearly 25 minutes. He led the Blues to the Stanley Cup in 2019, even scoring the championship-clinching goal.
Because of that Cup, St. Louis likely wouldn’t trade that pick for anything. But would they have been better off with someone else? Would that Blues team have been even more dangerous with another player?
With the fourth pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, who should the St. Louis Blues select? Cast your vote below.