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 2009 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 Conn Smythe winner with the 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues is off the board at third overall, becoming the first player taken outside of the first round to appear in our redraft. Notably, he does stay with the team that took him on Day 2 of the 2009 NHL Draft – the Colorado Avalanche, who used their second pick of the draft on O’Reilly after selecting Matt Duchene with the third overall pick. Both players have gone on to produce good offensive totals near the top of the class, although O’Reilly’s taken home more in terms of award hardware with a championship, a Conn Smythe and a Selke Trophy all under his belt. O’Reilly won with 48% of our polling, while Duchene finished second in third-overall voting with just 13% of the vote.
Next up on the draft board is the Atlanta Thrashers at fourth overall. This was their second straight top-five selection after using the third overall pick on defenseman Zach Bogosian in 2008.
This year, however, their big prospect add was forward Evander Kane out of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. While it wasn’t a bad pick at all if you look at his point production throughout his career and his ability to consistently play a top-six role, Kane has had a multitude of off-ice incidents throughout his career, including having his contract terminated by the San Jose Sharks in 2022 for breaching COVID protocols.
Nonetheless, Kane was a solid player for the Thrashers (and Winnipeg Jets) for parts of six seasons until he was moved to the Buffalo Sabres in 2015. He was widely viewed as the best pick available at the time – after all, he had just posted 96 points in 61 games with the Giants while recording 89 penalty minutes to boot, and he’d recorded six points in six games for Canada at that year’s World Junior Championships.
He signed his entry-level contract with Atlanta just weeks after the draft and made the NHL full-time out of the gate in a middle-six role. As an 18-year-old, he recorded 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 66 games, finishing tied in Calder Trophy voting with Hedman that year. By the time the 2012-13 partial lockout rolled around, Kane had a 30-goal season under his belt and was averaging over 20 minutes per game.
After later career stops with the Sabres, Sharks and now Edmonton Oilers, Kane has some well-documented defensive weaknesses but still brings an intriguing blend of shooting ability and physicality to the table. In 853 games, he’s scored 302 goals – third among the 2009 class behind Tavares and Duchene. His 573 career points are sixth in the class.
There’s an argument to be made that the Thrashers made the right pick, but Duchene could have also been a more intriguing option had he been available for the Thrashers to select at fourth overall. They don’t have very long to decide, though, as Atlanta is now on the clock – who should they select with the fourth-overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft? Make your voice heard below:
If you can’t access the built-in poll, click here to vote.