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)
Officially the biggest jump of this exercise so far, Bonino moves up over 150 spots into the first round. Originally selected by the San Jose Sharks in the sixth round, the Pittsburgh Penguins are a fitting landing spot for the two-way center. In 2007 Bonino was fresh off a high school season in which he scored 66 points in 26 games and was already committed to Boston University. A “serial winner” to steal a phrase from Mike Babcock, the young forward has found success at basically every level. A state champion as a high school player, Bonino then the BU Terriers to an NCAA National Championship game in 2009 only to set up one goal and score another in the final minute to force overtime. His squad would take home the title, and Bonino would turn pro a year later.
Though his professional career started in the Anaheim Ducks organization, the Penguins are the team likely most associated with Bonino, given his success there. In both seasons he spent in Pittsburgh, the team would take home the Stanley Cup. The first run in 2016 made a star out of the checking center when he was part of the famed “HBK Line” with Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel. Bonino would record 18 points in 24 postseason games for the Penguins that year.
Now in Nashville, Bonino is still a reliable middle-six option that can contribute offensively while being responsible in his own end. He sits 18th among all players from the 2007 draft in scoring with 248 points in 560 games, and certainly deserves a spot in the first round.
After Pittsburgh selected, the Edmonton Oilers were up for the third time in the first round. They had already picked Sam Gagner and Alex Plante, two players that haven’t yet made it onto our list. Instead of taking the American power forward Max Pacioretty that Montreal would snap up next, Edmonton decided to go with one from a little closer to home. Alberta-born Riley Nash would be their third pick of the first round, selected 21st overall. The BCHL forward was ranked 64th among North American skaters by by NHL Central Scouting, but had just dominated his junior league to the tune of 84 points in 55 games. Unfortunately, Nash would never play for the Oilers.
Despite trading up to get him at No. 21, the Oilers and Nash never saw eye-to-eye on the next step in his development and after three years at Cornell University, the team finally decided to move on. Edmonton traded his rights to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a second-round pick (which turned into Martin Marincin), only to see him leave college and sign an entry-level deal a month later. In Carolina he turned into a relatively underrated depth forward, and broke out in 2017-18 with the Boston Bruins to the tune of 15 goals and 41 points.
Though Nash never did turn into a top-end player, getting basically nothing for the pick is an unfortunate outcome for Edmonton. If they had another shot at it they would clearly pick someone else, but with the amount of talent off our redraft board who would go instead? With the twenty-first pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, who should the Edmonton Oilers select? Cast your vote below!
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*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.