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:
1st Overall: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (1)
2nd Overall: Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings (2)
3rd Overall: Roman Josi, Atlanta Thrashers (38)
4th Overall: Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (4)
5th Overall: Erik Karlsson, Toronto Maple Leafs (15)
6th Overall: John Carlson, Columbus Blue Jackets (27)
7th Overall: Jacob Markstrom, Nashville Predators (31)
8th Overall: Braden Holtby, Phoenix Coyotes (93)
9th Overall: Jordan Eberle, New York Islanders (22)
10th Overall: Jared Spurgeon, Vancouver Canucks (156)
11th Overall: Cam Atkinson, Chicago Blackhawks (157)
12th Overall: T.J. Brodie, Buffalo Sabres (114)
13th Overall: Josh Bailey, Los Angeles Kings (9)
For the first time in our 2008 Redraft series, we see a player slide from his original draft spot. Bailey, originally selected ninth overall by the New York Islanders falls just four spots to thirteenth overall, where he would instead head to the Kings. Looking back on it, there were more than a couple names taken after Bailey who may have been the more prudent selection for the Islanders, who took him ninth, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a poor selection for the slot. Over his career, Bailey has recorded modest point totals while playing a 200 foot game and serving as a veteran character player on Long Island. Now, the winger serves as the longest-tenured member of the Islanders.
Due respect to Colten Teubert, who the Kings originally selected thirteenth overall, however had they been able to and opted to select Bailey, they surely would have been better served. Even if Bailey wasn’t the best choice for the Kings, the simple fact alone that he has played nearly 1,000 NHL games as compared to Teubert’s 24 would make Bailey an excellent alternative. The Kings did get value out of Teubert after all, trading him along with a pair of draft picks to acquire forward Dustin Penner, who would go on to win a Stanley Cup in Los Angeles.
We now turn our attention to the fourteenth overall pick which belonged to the Carolina Hurricanes. With their pick, Carolina selected a forward already playing for the Hurricanes: Zach Boychuk from the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes. Boychuk had already established himself as one of the best players in junior hockey when Carolina selected him and continued down that path with another impressive season after. In addition to a fourth straight dominant WHL season, Boychuk was also able to make his NHL debut that season, suiting up for a pair of October contests with Carolina. Boychuk became a full-time pro in 2009-10, splitting time between the NHL and AHL, recording nine points in 31 games for Carolina and 36 points in 52 games with the Albany River Rats.
Although it wasn’t a superstar pro debut, Boychuk’s performance was respectable and created plenty of excitement for him to build on his success the year after, and build he did. In 2010-11, the forward recorded a phenomenal 65 points in 60 games in the AHL. Still, he couldn’t repeat that success at the NHL level, with just seven points over 23 games. Ultimately, this would be the pitfall of Boychuk’s NHL career. As he continued to impress in the AHL and become a key piece of the Charlotte Checkers, he simply couldn’t repeat that success up in the NHL. After just two points in 16 games in 2011-12, Boychuk bounced around the following year, playing with Carolina, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators before returning to the Carolina organization.
Boychuk would spend parts of three more seasons with the origination, his last NHL action coming in 31 games in 2014-15. After the 2015-16 season, Boychuk left North America in pursuit of opportunities in Europe, where he would find success and regular roles. The now-veteran spent parts of three seasons in the KHL, followed by parts of two seasons in Switzerland, and finally three more in Germany, where he’s currently a member of the Berlin Polar Bears of the DEL.
With the chance to do it over again, it’s likely the Hurricanes would go with another name at fourteenth overall. As good of a pro as Boychuk has been, his 30 points in 127 NHL games simply wouldn’t warrant a selection with names such as Tyler Myers, Adam Henrique, Gustav Nyquist or Derek Stepan still left on the board. So, with the fourteenth overall selection in our 2008 redraft, who should Carolina select?
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