Hindsight is fantastic, allowing 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.
As we find ourselves amidst the summer lull, it’s the perfect time to reflect on times gone by – the strategies that bore fruit and those that missed the mark. This sentiment resonates even with draft picks – where some early selections have blossomed into the cornerstones of their respective franchises, while others fell short of the lofty expectations. Having delved into the drafts of 2006, 2007, and 2008 in the past, it’s now an opportune moment to embark on a similar journey through a new NHL redraft series, focusing on the class of 2009.
The draft pool from this year stands out as notably robust, featuring an impressive tally of 39 players (and the count is ongoing) who have graced the NHL ice for a minimum of 500 games. Within this assembly, one can spot All-Star performers and, potentially, a small handful of players destined for the esteemed corridors of the Hall of Fame in the years to come. Conversely, a less fortunate facet also emerges, as five first-rounders failed to hit the century mark, keeping them out of the picture in the forthcoming series.
During the upcoming weeks, as we anticipate the commencement of training camps, we will delve into the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. In this quest, we invite the PHR community to make their choices, armed with the hindsight of each player’s career trajectory. A roster of players will be presented, and we will continuously update the first round as the selection process unfolds.
In the 2009 draft, the New York Islanders retained the first overall pick through a lottery win, granting them the privilege of making the top selection. At this pivotal juncture, the team confronted a crucial decision: opt for a cornerstone center or a cornerstone defenseman, much like the Tampa Bay Lightning the year prior. John Tavares and Victor Hedman emerged as the consensus top two prospects, with general manager Garth Snow looking to get the team back to relevance as quickly as possible after finishing last in their division for two consecutive seasons. Ultimately, the Islanders chose the former, and Tavares certainly became a cornerstone piece for them, leading the draft in games played (1,029) and in all major scoring categories. It’s worth noting that Hedman, though, would’ve been a very fair pick with hindsight in mind, as he’s manned a formidable Lightning blueline to four Stanley Cup Finals throughout his tenure and leads all 2009-drafted defenders in scoring by a wide margin. Armed with retrospective wisdom, the question arises: Did the Islanders’ decision to take Tavares give them the best shot at success before he departed for the Toronto Maple Leafs in free agency in 2018, or would Hedman get the team closer to a championship by now?
With the first pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, who should the New York Islanders select? Make your voice heard below.
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