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)
The first player on our list that ended up below where he originally went is van Riemsdyk, who drops six spots but remains in the top-10. The big winger from New Jersey would have fit in perfectly alongside some of the other impressive young forwards in Boston and certainly would have been an upgrade over Zach Hamill. Alas, he was already gone when the actual draft happened and the Bruins didn’t have a chance to put van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel together—a duo that would find themselves skating together in Toronto years later.
While Hamill played just 20 NHL games and never recorded a single goal, van Riemsdyk has made a living off of putting the puck in the net. The 30-year old winger has scored 228 goals in his 675-game career, putting him sixth among all players drafted in 2007. Interestingly his 441 points put him ninth however, behind several names that we’ve yet to see in our redraft series.
Still, it’s easy to see why our voters believe he’s the right choice here. After scoring a career-high 36 goals in 2017-18, van Riemsdyk ended up back in Philadelphia where he registered another solid season. With 27 goals and 48 points in just 66 games he showed he could still be an effective top-six option and deserving of the $35MM contract he signed in 2018.
After Boston whiffed on their pick, the San Jose Sharks were on the clock. Not only would they pick one of the best players from the draft with their first selection, but San Jose would have one of the best drafts in the entire league. Logan Couture was the ninth selection of the first round, five spots after he went in our redraft. The OHL center was actually considered something of a reach by the Sharks given he was ranked #19 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The team actually traded up to secure Couture, sending the St. Louis Blues an extra second-round selection to swap picks in the first (the Sharks had already added an extra first by trading Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell to the Toronto Maple Leafs).
After going back to the Ottawa 67’s for two seasons there were actually some who doubted whether Couture would really be a top offensive player at the professional level. After all he never really did have a dominant OHL season, trailing John Tavares in the scoring race by 14 points in 2008-09 despite being two years older. He never even got the chance to suit up for Team Canada at the U20 World Juniors.
Maybe junior hockey just wasn’t made for Couture though, as it didn’t take long for him to show the world what he was all about when he reached the professional ranks. In his first full season he recorded 53 points in 42 games for the AHL’s Worcester Sharks and made his presence known in the playoffs for San Jose with four goals in 15 games. The following year he recorded his first 30+ goal season and finished second in Calder Trophy voting to Jeff Skinner. He never looked back. Though Couture’s 240 career regular season goals are impressive, it’s his postseason performances that have made him into such a superstar in the league. With 48 goals and 101 points in 116 playoff game he has put himself among the elite in terms of “clutch” players in the NHL. Add in that he’s capable at both center and the wing and can play the powerplay and penalty kill and there isn’t a team in the league that wouldn’t pay up to get Couture on their roster.
Unfortunately in our redraft, the Sharks will never get a chance to pick him. The talent is getting thinner but there are still several names worth considering.
With the ninth pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, who should the San Jose Sharks select? Cast your vote below!
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