Over the course of this week, I’ll be putting out a re-draft of the NHL Entry Drafts from 2006-2012, re-picking the lottery picks (Top 14) of each draft, with the benefit of hindsight. First off, we go all the way back to 2006…
The 2006 Draft saw defenseman Erik Johnson selected first overall, followed by centres Jordan Staal and Jonathan Toews. 11 years later, few would consider Johnson and Staal to be worthy of Top 3 picks, however, in this re-draft, are they worthy of a lottery pick? Are Johnson and Staal in the Top 14? Where did Toews fall on the list? Who goes 1st overall? Let’s find out…
1. Nicklas Backstrom (4)
Nicklas Backstrom, originally drafted 4th overall, leads all players in his draft class in assists (540) and points (728), and is 4th in goals (188). His 0.992 points per game is also first among the 2006 Draft Class (minimum 100 games played). He owns a career 53.7 5v5 CF%, +2.9 relative to his team. He’s also been a solid playoff performer, with 26 goals and 75 points in 96 career playoff games. He’s finished Top 10 in league scoring 5 times, Top 10 in league assists 7 times, and despite never winning any individual awards, is a really good defensive player.
2. Jonathan Toews (3)
Jonathan Toews, originally drafted 3rd overall, comes in 2nd overall in this redraft. He’s 3rd in points among his draft class (622), 2nd in goals (272), and 4th in assists (350). His 0.868 points per game is 3rd among 2006 draftees. He has a career 5v5 CF% of 56.1, +3.5 relative to his team, and has a Selke Trophy and a Conn Smythe Trophy. He’s been a key member of 3 Stanley Cups, and has 110 points in 128 playoff games. Both Toews and Backstrom are great defensively, but Backstrom’s offensive game puts him over Toews in this re-draft.
3. Brad Marchand (71)
Brad Marchand, originally drafted 71st overall, is the biggest riser in this re-draft, coming in at 3rd overall. Marchand is 10th in the draft class in points, but 3rd in goals, and has 192 goals and 373 points in 534 games. However, he ranks 5th in points per game with 0.700. Before the 2015/2016 season, most redrafts would have Marchand much lower, but he’s recently exploded offensively, with seasons of 37 goals and 39 goals, and 61 and 85 points. He’s a career 57.3 5v5 CF% player, +6.2 relative to his team, and helped the Bruins to a Stanley Cup in 2011 with 19 points in 25 games those playoffs. He’s finished Top 10 in league goals twice, and has 1 Top 10 finish in points. There’s no doubt Marchand has been an elite player these past 2 years, but his shorter track record prevents him from finishing higher in this re-draft.
4. Claude Giroux (22)
Claude Giroux, originally drafted 22nd overall, jumps up to 4th in this re-draft. He ranks 4th in points in his draft class (575), 8th in goals (180), and 2nd in assists (395). His points per game of 0.877 also ranks 2nd in his draft class. He’s got a 53.1 5v5 CF% in his career, +3.4 relative to his team, and has finished Top 10 in league assists 5 times, and Top 10 in points 3 times. Giroux has been a consistent scorer and elite player in the league, but Marchand’s recent scoring surge and Backstrom’s and Toews’ superior defensive play leave Giroux at number 4 in this re-draft.
5. Phil Kessel (5)
Phil Kessel, originally drafted 5th overall, stayed in the same spot in this re-draft. He ranks 2nd in the 2006 class in points (649), 1st in goals (296), and 3rd in assists (353). His 0.780 points per game rank 4th in the draft class. Kessel’s possession metrics aren’t as strong as the other players above him, with a career 5v5 CF% of 49.6, which is still +0.2 relative to his team. It could be his 6 years in Toronto that bring his numbers down though, as he had a 5v5 CF% of 48.3 during his time there, which was still +0.5 relative to his team. He’s finished Top 10 in goals league-wide twice, Top 10 in points thrice, and finished Top 10 in shots 7 times. Kessel’s got a strong track record of scoring, but his weaker underlying numbers drag him down to fifth in this re-draft.
6. Bryan Little (12)
Bryan Little, originally drafted 12th overall, jumps up to 6th in this re-draft. Little ranks 7th in points in the draft (432), 6th in goals (184), and 8th in assists (248). His points per game of 0.643 ranks 7th overall. He’s been a good possession player, with a career 5v5 CF% of 51.8, +1.6 relative to his team. Little’s struggled with injuries the past 2 years, but still put up 89 points in 116 games over the last 2 seasons, a 62.9-point pace over 82 games. Since Atlanta’s move to Winnipeg, Little’s gotten much better as well, as he had a 5v5 CF% of 49.6 in his 4 years in Atlanta, compared to a 53.1 in his 6 years in Winnipeg. Simply put, Little’s been an underrated scorer and possession player over his 10-year career, but his lack of truly elite offensive seasons prevents him from appearing higher on this list.
7. Kyle Okposo (7)
Kyle Okposo, like Phil Kessel, also didn’t change positions on this re-draft, coming in at number 7. Okposo ranks 8th in points in his draft class (414), 9th in goals (158), and 6th in assists (256). However, Okposo ranks 6th in points per game with 0.697, and would likely rank higher in the draft class in points had he been healthier. Okposo has a career 5v5 CF% of 50.3, +1.3 relative to his team. He’s really only taken off offensively in the past 4 years, putting up 229 points in 275 games (a 68.3-point pace over 82 games), compared to his previous 185 points over 319 games previous to that (a 47.6-point pace). Okposo’s recent track record of solid play puts him up at number 7 on this list, but, like Bryan Little, his lack of elite scoring seasons hold him back from being any higher on this list.
8. Erik Johnson (1)
Erik Johnson, originally the first overall pick in this draft, falls all the way to 8 on this re-draft. Johnson ranks 18th overall in scoring in the draft class (237), but ranks 1st in goals (61), assists (176), and points in this draft among defensemen. He has a 49.6 career 5v5 CF%, +1.8 relative to his team, but Johnson was actually not too bad possession wise on the tire fire Avalanche last year, keeping his head above water with a 51.2 5v5 CF%, +2.1 relative to his team. Johnson’s 0.412 points per game ranks 21st among 2006 draftees, but among defenders, Johnson again ranks 1st. Johnson is definitely the best defender of this draft, and a Top 10 pick, but is definitely not deserving of the number 1 pick.
9. Jordan Staal (2)
Jordan Staal, originally drafted 2nd overall, drops down to 9th in this re-draft. Staal ranks 6th in the draft class for points (436), 5th in goals (187), and 7th in assists (249). His 0.571 points per game rank 10th. Overall, Staal has been a good possession player, with a 5v5 CF% of 53.4, +3.2 relative to his team. Staal has only hit 50 points once in his career, but has reached 49 twice and 48 once, and is a 5-time 20 goal scorer. Staal has also finished Top 10 in Selke voting 3 times, and was in the Top 15 3 additional times. Overall, Staal hasn’t been an elite offensive talent, but has been a good defensive player. His lack of high-end offense leads to Staal’s fall in the re-draft, but he remains a Top 10 pick due to his defensive ability.
10. Derick Brassard (6)
Derick Brassard, originally drafted 6th overall, slips down to 10th in the re-draft. Brassard ranks 9th overall in points (382), 13th in goals (141), and 9th in assists (241). Brassard ranks 10th overall in points per game, at 0.593. He has a career 5v5 CF% of 51.2, a +2.4 relative to his team. His final 2 years with the Rangers saw him hit point totals of 60 and 58, and he scored a career high 27 goals in the 2015/2016 season, other than that, he’s never reached 20 goals. Brassard’s first year in Ottawa wasn’t the greatest, only scoring 14 goals and 39 points in 81 games, but over the course of his career, Brassard has been a solid offensive contributor. His possession metrics indicate a solid defensive player as well. Although Brassard is a marginally better offensive player than Staal, Staal is the much better defensive player, leading to Staal’s being ranked just ahead of Brassard.
11. Milan Lucic (50)
Milan Lucic, originally drafted 50th overall, is the second player to jump in to the first round of this re-draft. Lucic ranks 5th in the draft in points (447), 7th in goals (182), and 5th in assists (265). His points per game of 0.613 rank 8th in the draft class. Lucic has also been a good possession player over his career, with a 5v5 CF% of 54.1, +1.5 relative to his team. However, although the 54.1 looks high, Lucic has generally played on strong possession teams throughout his career and, for 4 of the 8 seasons he played in Boston, he was actually a negative relative Corsi player. Overall, Lucic has been a solid possession player who has shown offensive ability, but given his multiple negative relative Corsi seasons, he slips just behind Staal and Brassard, despite being a better offensive player than them.
12. Jeff Petry (45)
Jeff Petry, originally drafted 45th overall, jumps up to 12th overall in this re-draft. Petry ranks third overall in the draft in terms of points (125), 2nd overall in goals (33), and third in assists (92). Petry also ranks 2nd among defensemen in points per game, at 0.281. Petry owns a 49.5 5v5 CF% over his career, +0.2 relative to his team. However, he spent 5 years of his career in Edmonton, a weak team, and only managed to put up a 47.6 CF%, which was still +0.1 relative to his team. After his trade to Montreal, he greatly improved, posting a 53.0 CF% in the three years he’s been there, +1.7 relative to his team. Overall, Petry has been a solid defender, but lacks the offense of Erik Johnson, and has worse possession numbers as well, leading to him being the second defenseman drafted in this re-draft.
13. Michael Frolik (10)
Michael Frolik, originally drafted 10th overall, slips down to number 13 in this re-draft. Frolik ranks 12th overall in points from the 2006 draft (311), 16th in goals (127), and 11th in assists (184). His points per game of 0.473 puts him at 16th overall in the draft class. However, despite his career highs of 21 goals and 45 points, both of which came in his rookie year, Frolik has been a great possession player. His career 5v5 CF% of 52.4 is +2.4 relative to his team, and his time in Calgary has also been great, with a 53.8 CF%, with a +5.9 relative to his team, in his 3 years there. Overall, Frolik is a great defensive forward who can contribute offensively. While he’s one of the better defensive forwards in this draft, his lack of high-end offensive ability drops him down to 13th overall, as forwards such as Staal and Brassard have shown more offensive ability than Frolik, leading to their higher ranking.
14. Semyon Varlamov (23)
Semyon Varlamov, originally drafted 23rd overall, closes out the list at number 14. In his 348-game career, Varlamov has won 169 games, registered 21 shutouts, and has a career save percentage of 0.916. Varlamov has been a little inconsistent in terms of his career, with a career year in 2013/2014, where he registered a 0.927 save percentage and was the runner up for the Vezina, compared to last year when he had a 0.898 save percentage. Overall, out of his 9-year career, Varlamov has had a positive GSAA (Goals Saved Above Average) in only 3 of those years, peaking in his career year where he had a GSAA of 27.45, which led the league. Varlamov hasn’t had the best career, but had a short 2-year window in which he was one of the best goalies in the NHL, whether he gets back on track is to be seen, but that peak got him a spot on the Top 14 of 2006, but his inconsistency prevents him from climbing any higher than 14th overall.