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)
21st Overall: Pat Maroon, Edmonton Oilers (161)
22nd Overall: Paul Byron, Montreal Canadiens (179)
23rd Overall: Sam Gagner, Nashville Predators (6)
24th Overall: Justin Braun, Calgary Flames (201)
We finally have our first seventh-round selection jumping up the board, as Braun was nearly left undrafted completely back in 2007. Picked just ten spots before the end of the draft, he was one of five players in that round to ever suit up in the NHL—surprisingly though, not the only one to break the 500-game mark.
The thing was, it wouldn’t have been the first time that Braun went unselected by an NHL team if he had fallen out of the 2007 draft. He had already gone undrafted in his first two years of eligibility and had already completed his freshman year at UMass (Amherst). Despite being more than two years older than many of the prospects available, Braun still slipped onto the NHL Central Scouting list as the 209th-best North American skater (210 were ranked).
Though he wasn’t a star in college, the Sharks must have seen something they liked in the right-handed defenseman as not only did they pick him, but decided to offer him an NHL contract after his college career finished. Stepping almost directly into the NHL, he would play 28 games with San Jose during his first professional season and recorded 11 points doing it. Rather quickly, Braun would become a dependable option for the team and ended up playing more than 600 games for the Sharks before ending up with the Philadelphia Flyers this offseason.
While his 155 career points don’t pop off the page, that’s actually the sixth-highest total by any defenseman drafted in 2007. Braun has also played in 18th-most games by any player from that class, justifying his place here in the first round of our redraft. Not bad for a seventh-round pick in his final year of eligibility.
Vancouver, who picked next back in 2007, surely would have liked to know that Braun would turn out so well. When they strode up to the podium they had a different name in mind, one that would never play a single game in the NHL.
Patrick White was an American center who was actually ranked 23rd by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters, and was supposed to give the Canucks another weapon down the middle. Unfortunately, the offense that was supposed to develop in college never did, and White finished his four-year career at the University of Minnesota with just 53 points in 147 games.
When it became apparent to Vancouver that it wasn’t coming together, White was included in what was basically a salary dump with the San Jose Sharks, taking on Christian Ehrhoff a year into his three-year, $9.3MM deal. Ehrhoff ended up playing extremely well for the Canucks, while White was never even tendered a contract by the Sharks and ended up playing in half a dozen different European leagues.
If they had another chance, the Canucks certainly would have decided to go in a different direction with their pick. But in our redraft, the talent pool is getting shallow. With the twenty-fifth pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, who should the Vancouver Canucks 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.