Run it Back: Redrafting the 2008 NHL Entry Draft
Redrafting 10 years of Entry Drafts
Throughout the previous decades, analysts and fans alike have noticed a growing certainty in the starpower of a top of draft prospect. While recent drafts have seen bonafide stars blossom almost immediately out of the June draft, the uncertainty that preceded this period of prospect riches makes hindsight very interesting. At least in this year’s draft, the first two picks can be seen as successes unlike some other picks… but there are still some surprisingly bad choices and that is why we are doing this series, to try and right the wrong, or at least make it better.
Of course, a prospect is always a gamble, there are so many different factors that go into it from an organizational standpoint as well as personal. These are young teenagers who are being awarded for all of their hard work throughout their lives, to be drafted at all is a huge accomplishment and this series is not mean to take anything away from them. Unfortunately, some players just don’t live up to the hype or expectations for whatever reason, while some blossom into superstars. So, we are not going to hold anything against these players, but we will essentially be taking a look at the top 15 players from the 2008 draft.
1st: Tampa Bay Lightning – Steven Stamkos
Originally: Steven Stamkos
Picked in ‘08: 1st (1st round)
Well this was an easy one, despite NHL posting on social media that in a redraft they would take Doughty over Stamkos, still don’t understand that one. Although Stamkos has run into some injury troubles throughout his career (and most of which were freak accidents), he still leads this draft in goals and points while sitting second in assists behind the player I decided should go second. Outside of his rookie year, Stamkos has been over a point per game in 9 of those 11 seasons, including 4 90+ point seasons during that time. I mean he should be a lock for a redraft every time, sorry NHL.
2nd: Los Angeles Kings – Erik Karlsson
Originally: Drew Doughty
Picked in ‘08: 15th (1st round)
And we already have our first change, I am sure many would disagree with this, especially after the rough season Karlsson had (although his defensive game has dropped, he still put up 40 points in 56 games this past season). However, I am not of the mind set of “Well Doughty has two cups so he is obviously better), sure he played a major role for the Kings during those cup finals, but we need to isolate team bias and analyze each player according to their skill set. With that being said, I think Karlsson in his prime was one of the best players in the world, both offensively and defensively. Ankle and groin injuries have seemed to slow him down as of late, but for those 6 years in Ottawa he was outstanding, winning the Norris in 2011/2012 and 2014/2015.
3rd: Atlanta Thrashers – Drew Doughty
Originally: Zach Bogosian
Picked in ‘08: 2nd (1st round)
I think we can all agree that Zach Bogosian was uhh… a reach here, still solid a player but compared to the defencemen available for this pick, yikes. I have Drew Doughty here and although I argued that I would take Karlsson at number 2, this is a no brainer for 3rd overall. Norris trophy winner in 2015/2016, which came after his two Stanley cups by the way, goes to show how good this guy is. He plays one of the rarest positions at right side defence while having everything you look for, skill, physicality, and sound positioning. His game has also declined over the past few seasons, but during his heyday, he was in the mid to high 50’s in corsi for percentage.
4th: St. Louis Blues – Alex Pietrangelo
Originally: Alex Pietrangelo
Picked in ‘08: 4th (1st round)
These next 3 picks were probably the hardest for me to make, there could be an argument made for putting them in any order because they are all fantastic. I ended up keeping Pietrangelo here because he has been a defensive stalwart, not the best offensive player compared to other guys in this draft but his defensive abilities surely make up for that. Over his career, he has been able to be a positive in scoring chances for vs scoring chances against (only negative twice), while also being a positive in high danger chances for vs against (only three times was he negative). I know that is a very simple way of putting it, but the fact of the matter is, for majority of his career, when he is on the ice, your team is offensively and defensively better.
5th: Toronto Maple Leafs – Roman Josi
Originally: Luke Schenn
Picked in ‘08: 38th (2nd round)
I think I flipped between Josi and Carlson for this pick more times than I can count, but Josi came out on top in the end. Honestly, just go read the next part to see why. Plus, I really don’t want to relive the Luke Schenn experience again, thanks Burke.
6th: Columbus Blue Jackets – John Carlson
Originally: Nikita Filatov
Picked in ‘08: 27th (1st round)
Nikita Filatov you ask. Well same, I honestly never even heard of this guy because he only played 53 games in the NHL before going to the KHL, and even there he bounced around a lot. If you read our end of season awards article you would see that I picked Josi over Carlson for the Norris. Why you ask? Although Calrson is putting up outstanding numbers in points, he is a defensive liability, and although he makes up for it with his offence, he is a defenceman, ultimately that should be your priority. I said on our first podcast that the Norris trophy focuses too much on points and offensive upside now a days, when it should focus more on defence with offensive ability being added in. I won’t get too into it here (because you should go listen to the podcast), but Carlson is sort of a late bloomer. This past season, before being put on hold, had 75 points in 69 games played, that is phenomenal. The season before that, 70 points in 80 games, before that, 68 in 82… before that? And I promise this is the last one, he was a perennial 30-point guy only hitting 50 once in that time. But hell, I would sure love this guy on my team any day, especially now.
7th: Nashville Predators – Brayden Holtby
Originally: Collin Wilson
Picked in ‘08: 93rd (4th round)
Holtby has been one of the most consistent goalies throughout his career and although he usually had a very good team in front of him, he had a lot to do with their success. He has a career 0.916 save percentage and 2.52 goals against average, outside of the last 3 seasons (where we have started to see a decline in his game), he only dipped below a 0.920 SV% once, meaning he was above that 6 out 10 seasons. However, that does include his first two seasons where he did bounce back and forth between the NHL and AHL. The 2015/16 Vezina winner has had a very successful career and deserves to be a top 10 pick in any 2008 re-draft.
8th: Phoenix Coyotes – Jordan Eberle
Originally: Mikkel Boedker
Picked in ‘08: 22nd (1st round)
Jordan Eberle is third in points and second in goals amongst his fellow draftees. This draft, as I am sure you can already tell, was very defence heavy, and Eberle is without a doubt the second-best forward to come out of this draft, only behind the first overall pick. Although he was never able to come close to matching his sophomore year with the Oilers (76 points in 78 games), he has been able to stay consistent as a 40-50-point player, while reaching 60 points twice since (and 59 in his first year with the Islanders). Still don’t understand that trade with the Islanders, but that’s a discussion for another time.
9th: New York Islanders – Cam Atkinson
Originally: Joshua Bailey
Picked in ‘08: 157th (6th round)
Atkinson has quietly had himself a very good career with the Blue Jackets putting up respectable point totals while also being quite effective in his own end. For the most part, over his career, he has been able to out chance his opponent when on the ice, especially in regard to high danger scoring chances and high danger goals. Although that may not tell the whole story, if you can be a positive in those categories, that is pretty good.
10th: Vancouver Canucks – Josh Bailey
Originally: Cody Hodgson
Picked in ‘08: 9th (1st round)
Honestly, this is where things started to become a little murky, where most of these players could be moved around. Although I could have put Bailey in his original draft spot, I opted to push him down a spot because his stats just don’t compare to Atkinson. For example, his offensive production has always been in waves, as the first time he surpassed 40 points was in 2014/15, his 7th season with the club. However, after a down season following that year, he has been able to put up very respectable numbers, but his career high of 71 is a huge outlier, which in part is due to player with Anders Lee and former captain John Tavares. His defensive stats really aren’t much better either, as his CF% has been below 50 around 75% of his career. I know this blurb sounds a little harsh, so I do want to say that he is still a top 10 pick in my eyes and a very good middle 6 player on almost any team and he has been much better under coach Barry Trotz who I believe has been able to optimize Bailey’s skillset.
11th: Chicago Blackhawks – Jacob Marsktrom
Originally: Kyle Beach
Picked in ‘08: 31st (2nd round)
Without a doubt the second-best goalie in this draft and although goalies tend to fall in the draft because they are seen as “voodoo,” Markstrom has clearly worked out. Unlike Holtby who came out of the gate flying, Markstom struggled to find his footing in Florida before being traded to Vancouver (as part of the Luongo deal). Since the trade he sports a respectable 2.91 GAA in 227 games with the Canucks but it is his last 3 seasons that convinced me to bump him in the draft to #11. With a 0.918 SV% and 2.77 GAA in 43 games this season, I suspect he will get a few Vezina votes thrown his way.
12th: Buffalo Sabres – Jared Spurgeon
Originally: Tyler Myers
Picked in ‘08: 156th (6th round)
Spurgeon would be a great pick at #12 because of his defensive abilities. Here comes a lot of nerdy stats so brace yourself…
Instead of describing what each category means, feel free to check out Natural Stat Trick for more stats and descriptions on each category. The point I am trying to make here is how big the gap is between all the categories ending with F (meaning for) and A (meaning against) throughout his career. He has gotten better and better each and every year and is a perfect two-way defenceman.
13th: Los Angeles Kings – TJ Brodie
Originally: Colten Teubert
Picked in ‘08: 114th (4th round)
And here we have another defenceman, we have certainly seen lots of them in this re-draft. Brodie is a very good defenceman but struggled earlier on in his career when it comes to defending high danger opportunities against. However, the last three season he has been much better in almost every way possible but especially defensively. I don’t want to sound too repetitive with defensive stats and all that, so let’s move on here.
14th: Carolina Hurricanes – Derek Stepan
Originally: Zach Boychuk
Picked in ‘08: 51st (2nd round)
Derek Stepan scored a hattrick in his first career game, enough said. Kidding, but as far as forwards go in this draft, he has been one of the most productive players in point production. A perennial 50-point player with great defensive underlying numbers makes him a solid second line centre on a lot of teams. He sits 5th in total points and goals out of all players from this draft and has been a great leader for both the Rangers and now with a young Coyotes team.
15th: Ottawa Senators – Gustav Nyquist
Originally: Erik Karlsson
Picked in ‘08: 121st (4th round)
To round off the top 15, I decided to go with Gustav Nyquist because although there are other guys like Mikkel Boedker and Tyler Ennis who were quite productive earlier on in their careers, they have fallen off much faster than Nyquist. Although he was never an offensive powerhouse, he has been able to sustain his production to this day as a 40-50-point player. I was initially going to put Adam Henrique here but then I compared the two and noticed how much better Nyquist was in entries and exits, take a look:
Honourable Mentions Adam Henrique (82nd, 3rd round), Tyler Myers (12th, 1st round), Jake Gardiner (17th, 1st round), and Travis Hamonic (53rd, 2nd round)
Stats and charts courtesy of http://www.naturalstattrick.com/, https://public.tableau.com/profile/christopher.turtoro#!/vizhome/2-yearA3ZPlayerComps/ComparisonDashboard, and https://www.hockeydb.com/
Photo courtesy of rawcharge.com