Originally written April 2015
It’s been almost 15 years since one of the most noteworthy drafts in recent NHL history took place in Ottawa, Ontario. The 2005 NHL Draft was the first one after the lockout that caused the cancellation 2004-05 season. Because of that, every team in the league was put into the lottery for a chance at a player that many believed to be the best rookie since Wayne Gretzky.
The Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets all had the highest odds to draft this prospect named Sidney Crosby. With the Penguins marred in financial problems and relocation a possibility, the team won the lottery, thus earning the right to draft the franchise-saving player. Other than Crosby, however, the first round of the 2005 NHL draft wasn’t exactly star-studded.
Still, there were a number of good-to-great players to come out of this class. Teams like the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings found great players after the first round while Buffalo, Columbus and the Calgary Flames, among others, whiffed on their top picks. That being said, in honor of the upcoming 15th anniversary, it’s time to hold a redraft of the 2005 first round. Enjoy.
The 2005 NHL Draft Re-Done
1. Pittsburgh Penguins — Sidney Crosby, F
This really is as no-brainer as it gets. Crosby helped save the franchise in the city of Pittsburgh, and guided them to Stanley Cup wins in 2009, 2016 and 2017. He’s arguably been the best player in the world throughout his career, and has averaged 1.29 points per game for his career. They’d take him again in an instant, as would any other team.
Original Pick: F Sidney Crosby
2. Anaheim Ducks — Jonathan Quick, G
Bobby Ryan was a nice player for the Ducks during his time there, but Jonathan Quick has been a Duck killer throughout his career. Imagine how much different the Western Conference landscape would be if he would’ve ended up in Anaheim? You think the Kings would have won a Stanley Cup once, let alone twice? I highly doubt it.
Original Pick: F Bobby Ryan
3. Carolina Hurricanes — Carey Price, G
The Hurricanes drafted Jack Johnson in 2005, but he didn’t play a single game for them. In fact, he was traded before ever signing a contract with the team. Instead of going through that fiasco again, Carolina would select Carey Price and get a goaltender that would carry them for years. Sure, they won a Cup with Cam Ward, but how many more could they have won with Price in between the pipes.
Original Pick: D Jack Johnson
4. Minnesota Wild — Anze Kopitar, F
It looks like the Kings will lose their two big fish this time around as Anze Kopitar is heading to the Wild. Pairing Kopitar with Marian Gaborik in Minnesota in the mid-2000s could’ve easily made dominant 1-2 punch on the top line for the Wild for years. If only we could go back in time.
Original Pick: LW Benoit Pouliot
5. Montreal Canadiens — James Neal, F
Price was lost two picks prior, so the Canadiens have to settle for a top offensive talent. In 2005, James Neal was taken with the 33rd overall pick by the Dallas Stars, but played far beyond the talents of a second-round pick. He’d be a cornerstone for the Canadiens for years to come, and likely would be a big part of any playoff success.
Original Pick: G Carey Price
6. Columbus Blue Jackets — Keith Yandle, D
Keith Yandle is one of the best puck-handling defensemen in the NHL. By taking him in this redraft, the Blue Jackets would actually get a player who would contribute to the team heavily. It might’ve even lead them to a playoff berth much sooner than when they actually got there.
Original Pick: C Gilbert Brule
7. Chicago Blackhawks — Kris Letang, D
Chicago gets a great defenseman merely a few years before landing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. His skating, passing and shooting ability is second-to-none in the league, and would be a man that would lead the Blackhawks blue line for the next decade-plus. And don’t worry, his addition wouldn’t impact how Chicago would be on the ice until after the arrival of the two star forwards.
Original Pick: RW Jack Skille
8. San Jose Sharks — Bobby Ryan, F
In 2005, the Sharks traded for Joe Thornton from the Boston Bruins. Pairing a young Bobby Ryan up with Jumbo Joe may have been what the team needed in the future to make a Stanley Cup run. Ryan showed the potential to be a 50-goal scorer in the league early on. Maybe with a great setup man like Thornton on his side, Ryan would’ve actually hit that number by now.
Original Pick: RW Devin Setoguchi
9. Ottawa Senators — Paul Stastny, F
Brian Lee, Ottawa’s actual pick, spent four-and-a-half seasons with Ottawa. Unfortunately, he never turned into anything more than a depth player. By selecting Paul Stastny instead with the ninth overall pick, the Senators would’ve gotten a very good young player to play under/with Daniel Alfredsson as the veteran hit the downward part of his career.
Original Pick: D Brian Lee
10. Vancouver Canucks — T.J. Oshie, F
Imagine T.J. Oshie being bumped to the wing to play with the Sedins? In this re-draft of the 2005 NHL Draft, that thought becomes a reality. Oshie has had a very nice career so far, but it could’ve been even better if given the opportunity to play with two players of that caliber. Maybe Vancouver would’ve actually won the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Original Pick: D Luc Bourdon (Luc passed away, read a tribute to him here)
11. Los Angeles Kings — Marc Staal, D
One thing’s clear – the 2005 NHL Draft class had a number of great defensemen join the league. With a nice balance between his offensive and defensive game, Marc Staal is a player that would’ve been a nice cornerstone piece for the Kings. Though, without landing either Quick or Kopitar in this year’s draft, the Kings likely wouldn’t be in a position for success for many, many more years to come.
Original Pick: Anze Kopitar
12. New York Rangers — Jack Johnson, D
The New York Rangers just miss out on grabbing Marc Staal in this re-draft, but get another nice blueliner. Johnson isn’t, in my opinion, as good as Staal, but that doesn’t mean he can’t fill the same role Staal ultimately filled in New York. I don’t think this pick would’ve done much to change the ultimate fate of the future of the Rangers.
Original Pick: D Marc Staal
13. Buffalo Sabres — Niklas Hjalmarsson, D
Talk about a whiff. Marek Zagrapan never even played a game with the Buffalo Sabres after being drafted in 2005. Instead, the Sabres will grab a defenseman who probably would’ve come in handy during the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals against Carolina. Seriously, nearly 15 years later and it’s still hard to believe how decimated that defensive corps was due to injury in 2006. Hjalmarsson would’ve helped big time.
Original Pick: C Marek Zagrapan
14. Washington Capitals — Tuukka Rask, G
After Olaf Kolzig left, the Washington Capitals struggled at the goaltending position for quite a few years. Taking Tuukka Rask this time around would solve that issue, and provide the team with a franchise goaltender to build around.
Original Pick: D Sasha Pokulok
15. New York Islanders — Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D
Ryan O’Marra did absolutely nothing with the New York Islanders after being drafted by the organization. This time around, how about drafting a player who will actually come in a produce for you for a number of years.
Original Pick: C Ryan O’Marra
16. Winnipeg Jets (Atlanta Thrashers) — Darren Helm, F
We’re continuing a run of picking players that will actually help a team as opposed to never making any impact whatsoever. Darren Helm has been a great depth player for the Detroit Red Wings for a number of years. With Winnipeg (Atlanta at the time), Helm could be given a chance at a bigger role in the lineup.
Original Pick: RW Alex Bourret
17. Arizona Coyotes (Phoenix) — Martin Hanzal, F
The second re-pick of this 2005 NHL re-draft. Martin Hanzal was a very good player for the Coyotes, and I don’t see them passing on him this time around, either.
Original Pick: C Martin Hanzal
18. Nashville Predators — Steve Downie, F
Steve Downie had some success in this league, and he’d bring a nice depth to the Nashville Predators. This is around the time where the Predators consistently started making the playoffs, adding Downie would be a nice way to show teams that they are here to stay.
Original Pick: D Ryan Parent
19. Detroit Red Wings — Sergei Kostitsyn, F
Sergei Kostitsyn’s career fizzled out without ever truly taking off. However, knowing how Detroit grooms its prospects, one could assume they would make something special out of Kostitsyn this time around.
Original Pick: D Jakub Kindl
20. Florida Panthers — Benoit Pouliot, F
Pouliot was taken with the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, but never really lived up to the expectations that come with being that high of a pick. That being said, he’s been a really good player for the teams he’s been a part of, so he’d still be a first-round pick in the re-draft. Plus, the Panthers could use a player who’d produce for them.
Original Pick: LW Kenndal McArdle
21. Toronto Maple Leafs — Matt Niskanen, D
Toronto drafted, then traded, Rask back in 2005. This time, they’ll actually keep the player they take. Matt Niskanen is a very productive offensive defenseman, and would help a Maple Leafs blue line that always seems to have issues.
Original Pick: G Tuukka Rask
22. Boston Bruins — Patric Hornqvist, F
Patric Hornqvist has carved himself out a nice career in the NHL. I don’t see much changing, but he’s a player worthy of being a first-round pick.
Original Pick: D Matt Lashoff
23. New Jersey Devils — Jakub Kindl, D
Jakub Kindl was a nice player for the Red Wings. He won’t light up the score sheet or get noticed defensively, but he goes on the ice and simply does his job. That sounds like the perfect New Jersey Devil.
Original Pick: RW Nicklas Bergfors
24. St. Louis Blues — Kris Russell, D
Face it, no one expected Oshie to fall to St. Louis this time around. But yet again, a defenseman finds himself in the first round of the re-draft. Kris Russell is a great skater on the ice who knows how to move the puck out of the zone. He’d be a perfect man to set up guys like Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Steen.
Original Pick: C T.J. Oshie
25. Edmonton Oilers — Cody Franson, D
Cody Franson was originally taken with pick 79 by the Nashville Predators. However, after the career he’s had, he would almost certainly find his way into the first round in this new draft. And knowing what became of the Oilers, Franson would’ve been a sight for sore eyes.
Original Pick: C Andrew Cogliano
26. Calgary Flames — Andrew Cogliano, F
The Flames now get a guy who is as durable as they come. He won’t blow you away offensively, but he’s a player that will always be available in addition to some offensive production.
Original Pick: D Matt Pelech
27. Washington Capitals — Mason Raymond, F
Actual pick Joe Finley never turned into much more than a giant AHL journeyman whose claim to fame is having something against lawn mowers. Mason Raymond has had a few outlier seasons in terms of production, but would definitely be a much better fit than what Finley was.
Original Pick: D Joe Finley
28. Dallas Stars — Devin Setoguchi, F
Devin Setoguchi took the league by storm in 2008-09 with a 65-point rookie campaign. Since then, his production has dropped almost every year. He’d still likely get taken in the first round this time, but who knows if his career would turn out any different.
Original Pick: D Matt Niskanen
29.Philadelphia Flyers — Mark Fayne, D
Of all the new players to make the first round in this re-draft, no player jumped more than Mark Fayne. Selected originally at pick 155 in the fifth round by the New Jersey Devils, Fayne’s ability as a puck mover and defensive presence gave him the right to be chosen in the first round by Philadelphia.
Original Pick: RW Steve Downie
30. Tampa Bay Lightning — Ondrej Pavelec, G
Ondrej Pavelec has enjoyed a nice career with Atlanta and Winnipeg after being a second-round pick in 2005. His play earned him a bump up to the end of the first round with Tampa Bay. Plus, the Lightning needed someone after losing Nikolai Khabibulin.
Original Pick: D Vladimir Mihalik
Enjoy more great hockey history and ‘Best of’ posts in the THW Archives