Run it Back: Redrafting the 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Redrafting 10 Years of NHL 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.
While the draft inevitably produces booms and busts, we don’t mean to disparage any of the defined busts. I mean, they played higher level hockey than I ever did…
Nevertheless, a little over half of our top 15 has changed in the 11 years since these teenagers were drafted, so without further ado, first the third year in a row, a surefire 1st overall pick - pajama boy (they were bedsheets).
1st: New York Islanders - John Tavares
Originally: John Tavares
Picked in ‘09: 1st (1st round)
Really, I don’t see how anyone else could unseat Tavares from the number one spot in this
draft class. With 345 goals and a 0.94 point per game clip across his career, there is no need to try to be cute with this pick. Tavares has been exactly what every GM wants out of their first overall pick. He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down a decade into his career either – in his first season with Toronto, Tavares set his personal high in goals and points. Toronto has a chance to do something special with two of the premier centers in the league on their depth chart.
2nd: Tampa Bay Lightning - Victor Hedman
Originally: Victor Hedman
Picked in ‘09: 2nd (1st round)
Again, it’s often best to not overthink the simple things. Aside from Tavares, Hedman has shown that there is no one else in this class teams would want to have on their roster more. He’s clearly the best D-man in the draft, leading the class in points and games played for the position. A Norris winner, capable of shutting down opposing offenses while running his own from the back end, who is also extremely durable is exactly what Tampa needed to help accelerate their rebuild. The combination of Stamkos and Hedman in back to back drafts is exactly what a team dreams of to build around. The first two picks of this redraft are absolutely no-brainers.
3rd: Colorado Avalanche - Ryan O’Reilly
Originally: Matt Duchene
Picked in ‘09: 33rd (2nd round)
Here’s where things start to change. While Duchene was productive for the Avs, I think they opt for the balanced player in O’Reilly given the opportunity. ROR really showed his versatility as he was a driving force for St. Louis on their run to the Cup – collecting a well-deserved Selke and Conn Smythe along the way. He also was a major problem offensively for other teams, with 23 points in just 26 games in hoisting Lord Stanley. A complete two-way game, as well as 560 career points, makes him just too attractive for Colorado to pass up in the number 3 spot.
4th: Atlanta Thrashers - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Originally: Evander Kane
Picked in ‘09: 6th (1st round)
In 2009, Duchene falling to fourth for the Thrashers would have been an ideal scenario for Atlanta. However, knowing what we know now, I can’t see the Thrashers or any team in the 4-spot here passing up on Ekman-Larsson. He has solidified himself as a top-pairing player in this league. If not for Hedman, OEL would lead this class in points for defensemen with 364. He also averages a full minute more per game than Hedman, and has somehow only missed 17 games throughout his career. A team couldn’t possibly pass up on this kind of reliability on the blueline. And yes, I only feel slightly bad for moving Ekman-Larsson from a team constantly rumored to be on the move to a team that moved two years later.
5th: Los Angeles Kings - Matt Duchene
Originally: Brayden Schenn
Picked in ‘09: 3rd (1st round)
For all of the turmoil that has followed Duchene throughout his career, he still remains far too talented to drop any further. The Kings would be ecstatic to land an elite center. Putting Duchene on a team with Doughty, Kopitar, Brown, and a prime Quick would have still set up LA for their success in the early 2010’s. Duchene’s 589 career points show just how dynamic he can be. The Haliburton, Ontario native has consistently impressed with his offensive gameplay during his career, while also using his skills to rank 3rd in this class in takeaways. Duchene may have dropped in this re-draft, but arguably it could have set him up to accomplish more.
6th: Phoenix Coyotes - Evander Kane
Originally: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Picked in ‘09: 4th (1st round)
Poor Phoenix. The first team in this re-draft to lose their original pick due to him being too
good to drop to them. The Coyotes aren’t completely out of luck here, landing one of the league’s top power forwards for the last decade. While Kane hasn’t produced like Duchene or Tavaras, he has still been able to impress with his offensive instinct, showcased with a career 457 points. Kane has also been able to consistently bring a physical element to his game with over 1,600 hits. He is an excellent example of a player fans love to have on their team, and hate to see wearing another uniform. While there are questions surrounding Kane’s decision-making and hot-headedness that can leave his team undermanned, most teams aren’t going to let him pass them by.
7th: Toronto Maple Leafs - Brayden Schenn
Originally: Nazem Kadri
Picked in ‘09: 5th (1st round)
Another Schenn in Toronto! I’ll be honest, I’m a little upset with myself that I let Schenn fall to seventh for the Leafs. Schenn has some of the most balanced stats of any player from this draft; while he’s been able get 430 points, he has also shown his value defensively. There is no better example than Schenn being on the ice for almost half of the 3rd period in game 7 to ensure the Blues victory. He has been able to bring physicality while scoring for his team, Brian Burke would have sprinted to the podium if he had the chance to pick Schenn back in ’09.
8th: Dallas Stars - Tyson Barrie
Originally: Scott Glennie
Picked in ‘09: 64th (3rd round)
The first true bust of the 2009 draft. The Stars would be lucky to replace Scott Glennie with a scoring presence like Barrie on the blueline. Barrie is the type of player that, it always seems, contending teams are looking for at the trade deadline. He’s incredibly smooth in transition, and more than capable of orchestrating a team’s power-play with 129 career points with the man advantage. Barrie can play in the top four of any team in the NHL, and there’s no way he falls all the way to the third round in the re-do of 2009.
9th: Ottawa Senators - Ryan Ellis
Originally: Jared Cowan
Picked in ‘09: 11th (1st round)
This one is a little personal for me. As a Sens fan, I remember being quite pleased with the selection of Cowen, since he was being touted as someone who could have a Chris Philips-esque career. So when it comes to re-draft, I’m not hesitating to choose Ellis instead. Ellis has been an effective defensemen during his career, being 5th in points and 4th goals among 2009 d-men. He has also shown that he is capable of playing in any situation, as well as being able to modify his game to adjust for his superstar teammates. Oh, to think what could have been: a blueline with Ellis and Erik Karlsson.
10th: Edmonton Oilers - Mike Hoffman
Originally: Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson
Picked in ‘09: 130th (5th round)
Picking Hoffman for the Oilers here seemed to be a no-brainer as well. Hoffman has shown
that he can be an offensive threat, with 359 points thus far throughout his career. This number becomes even more impressive considering he didn’t play his first full year in the league until 2014-15. The idea of McDavid and Hoffman together would surely be giving opposing teams nightmares. Even if there are some questions about his defensive game, there’s no way Hoffman slips out of the top-ten here; especially considering the destination and the offensive talent he would be joining eventually.
11th: Nashville Predators - Chris Kreider
Originally: Ryan Ellis
Picked in ‘09: 19th (1st round)
Similar to Hoffman, Kreider has also been of a late-bloomer in the league. He brings intensity and physicality along with a scoring touch. Kreider’s steady improvement, with some of his best years coming most recently, would give Nashville some nice left-wing depth. He has the perfect play style to fit in with Smashville, and would have certainly made an impact in the 2017 Cup finals.
12th: New York Islanders - Nazem Kadri
Originally: Calvin De Haan
Picked in ‘07: 7th (1st round)
The Islanders pairing Kadri with their Tavares pick would have given them stability down the middle throughout the 2010’s. Kadri is in the same boat as Kane, gifted in getting under other players’ skin with physical play or an opportune goal. His 393 career points show just how talented he is, forcing other teams to focus on both his offense and his antics. He has been versatile throughout his career, being playable in all situations and willing to do whatever it takes to win. While Kadri has cost his team at times, the good far outweighs the bad.
13th: Buffalo Sabres - Tomas Tatar
Originally: Zach Kassian
Picked in ‘09: 60th (2nd round)
Tatar has been a gifted scorer and playmaker over the course of his time in the NHL. He has
been able to be both the set-up man as well as the sniper. With 347 points, this injection of scoring into the Sabres line-up alongside Derek Roy, Vanek, and Pominville would have helped them immensely. Adding Tatar to this line-up would have helped the Buffalo’s transition to the new-guard and gotten more out of the tail-end of Ryan Miller’s time with them.
14th: Florida Panthers - Jakob Silfverberg
Originally: Dmitri Kulikov
Picked in ‘09: 39th (2nd round)
Florida would have had to wait for Silfverberg to come into his own in the league, but they would be rewarded big-time. Since the 2015-16 season, he has four 20 goal seasons. Consistent offensive production like that is hard to find, and given that he is also trustworthy in defensive situations, Silfverberg to the Panthers here is a great pick. While he may never be a team's leading scorer, he provides great depth and reliability.
15th: Anaheim Ducks - Reilly Smith
Originally: Peter Holland
Picked in ‘09: 69th (3rd round)
This was a toss-up for me between Smith and Anders Lee. Ultimately, Smith won out for his consistent production, and would have been in the line-up sooner than Lee. Smith has been able to provide firepower since entering the league, with no stat standing out more than his 41 points in just 45 playoff games. He was a main reason why Vegas was able to reach the Cup final in their inaugural year, and adding him to a Ducks team with Bobby Ryan, veteran Teemu Selanne, and prime Getzlaf and Perry would have provided the Ducks with some frightening depth. Overall, Smith would have been a nice option for the Ducks core.
Honourable Mentions: Kyle Palmieri (26th, 1st round), Robin Lehner (46th, 2nd round), Anders Lee (152nd, 6th round), Darcy Kuemper (161st, 6th round), Matthias Ekholm (102nd, 4th round), Erik Haula (182nd, 7th round)