The 2005 NHL Draft was without a doubt one of the most pivotal draft years in the last 20 years; a draft year that was studded with All-Stars and struck with tragedy, and a year lined with pleasant surprises alongside head-scratcher disappointments.
With the Penguins and Kings coming out of the 2005 draft with the likes of Sydney Crosby (Penguins) and Anze Kopitar (Kings) in the first round, and stealing Kris Letang (Penguins) and Jonathan Quick (Quick) in the later rounds, it's easy to make the connection between this draft year and each team's league dominance since; which would see to the Penguins 2009 and 2016 Stanley Cup wins, and the Kings' 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup wins.
This is the perfect time for us to dive into this draft year and analyze it because most of the elite players that came out of this draft are just coming into their prime, currently in their prime, or just coming out of it. We are going to take a look at their stats, play styles, accomplishments, and career trajectories.
This list counts down the worst picks to the best picks in the 2005 NHL Draft based on my own personal opinion. My opinions are largely based on NHL career, statistics, and player's role to their respective teams.
So with all that out of the way, let's dive into The 30 First Round Picks From The 2005 NHL Draft From Worst To Best!
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30 Joe Finley (27th Overall)
I don’t know what they’re feeding the boys in Edina, Minnesota, but it’s obviously nutritious and high in protein. Drafted 27th overall by the Washington Capitals, Joe Finley stands at 6’8” and weighs in at 245 lbs. Playing only 21 games throughout his two-season NHL career, the big fella only managed to put up one assist, which was tallied with the New York Islanders in the 2013-14 season where he played his last game as an NHL defenceman. Where Joe lacks in point production, he makes up for it with his fighting abilities, overall gritty, and tough-to-play-against style. Beating the likes of Matt Martin, Brandon Prust, and Zack Stortini, Joe Finley simply needs to be recognized as a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, as the game changed, Joe’s role simply became obsolete. He is currently playing in the Finnish Liga for HIFK.
29 Vladimir Mihalik (30th Overall)
With a virtually identical size to Joe Finley, drafted 30th overall by the Tampa Bay Lighting, Vladimir Mihalik stands at 6’8” and 246 lbs. Playing only two seasons with the Lighting and ending his NHL career in the 2009-10 season, Mihalik put up only three points in 15 games. Another tough customer, Mihalik spent the eight following seasons after being drafted, in the WHL and AHL trying to earn a spot on the Lightning, before heading east to the KHL where he has spent the majority of his career. Much like Joe Finley, Mihalik’s role was swept under the rug in the changing style of the NHL; speed is now more valuable than grit. He currently resides in Slovakia, playing for the Banska Bystrica HC 05.
28 Matt Pelech (26th Overall)
Drafted 26th overall by the Calgary Flames, Matt Pelech’s NHL career lasted only five games with the Flames, and eight with the Sharks, accumulating a mere four points. Matt Pelech had a genuine love for chucking knuckles though, chalking up 110 fights through 12 seasons of play! Pelech tried to earn a roster spot for many seasons; he played five seasons in the OHL where he tallied 12 fights, and eight seasons in the AHL where he really realized his role and stepped in the ring 90 times. He quickly became known as, if not the toughest, one of the toughest in the league. Matt Pelech is yet another late first round draft pick that found his role replaced. He now plays in Austria for the Graz EC.
27 Ryan Parent (18th Overall)
One of the bigger disappoints of the draft, I am ranking Ryan Parent 27th despite being selected 18th overall by the Nashville Predators. Parent played 106 games through five NHL seasons, putting up only seven points, and finishing his NHL career in 2010-11 with the Vancouver Canucks. His career best NHL season was with the Flyers in 2008-09 where he put up four assists in 31 games. Winning consecutive gold medals with Canada in the 2006 and 2007 World Junior Championships, Parent showed a lot of promise as a dominant shut down d-man. Throughout the tournament he was paired with Marc Staal, who had a different career trajectory and will come up later in this list. Perhaps his lack of physicality was a factor in his lackluster professional career, leaving him sitting on a -18.
26 Kenndal McArdle (20th Overall)
Selected 20th overall by the Florida Panthers, Kenndal McArdle showed a lot of potential, putting up 74 points in 70 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors in the season prior to being drafted. He maintained that level of production for another year with the Warriors. He was then traded to the Vancouver Giants in 2006, and later that year won gold with Canada at the World Junior Championships, and then went on to the Memorial Cup with the Giants. However, his production steeply declined in the following and remaining seasons of his career once he was assigned to the Rochester Americans of AHL. He went on to play 42 games in the NHL over four seasons, where he only managed to produce three points. He tried to find a role as an enforcer, dropping the gloves several times, but ultimately was not up to par.
25 Ryan O'Marra (15th Overall)
Japanese born Ryan O’Marra was drafted 15th overall by the New York Islanders. Standing at 6’2” and 220 lbs, the Islanders definitely had hopes of O’Marra being a big and productive power forward; much like Milan Lucic of the Oilers or Brian Boyle of the Lightning. Unfortunately, where O’Marra didn’t lack in size, he definitely lacked in productivity, putting up only seven points through 33 games. After winning consecutive gold medals with Canada in the 2006 and 2007 World Junior Championships, O’Marra showed nothing but promise. Once he reached the big leagues though, his promise quickly turned to doubt inevitably leading to his conclusion of professional hockey. He now works out of National Bank Financial in Toronto, Canada.
24 Matt Lashoff (22nd Overall)
Matt Lashoff was drafted by the Boston Bruins 22nd overall. Lashoff played 74 games over six NHL seasons, and put up 16 points before finishing up his NHL days with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2010-11. Lashoff was known to be a well-rounded defenseman that likes to play with an edge. As a defenseman, Lashoff tallied an impressive 47 points in 56 games with the Kitchener Rangers during the 2005-06 season, with his partner and #17 on the list, Jakub Kindl. Outside of hockey, Lashoff is also a talented musician and released his first album called Living On Heart in May of 2011. He is currently playing for the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL where he is sitting on seven points in 19 games.
23 Jack Skille (7th Overall)
The biggest disappointment of the draft, Jack Skille was drafted seventh overall by the Chicago Blackhawks. Skille is currently playing in Vancouver during his 11th NHL season. He has produced 82 points in 347 big league games, and is currently sitting on a dreadful -52 rating. The Blackhawks without a doubt thought they had picked up a great and tenacious 2-way forward, but were quick to notice Skille’s inconsistent play and injury tendencies. A hopeful great second line forward has now withered away into an average third line grinder with occasional flares of raw offensive talent. In 34 games this season with the Canucks, Jack Skille has produced seven points but is playing pretty decently as of late - showing off a more diverse and complete game.
22 Marek Zagrapan (13th Overall)
Marek Zagrapan, a talented Slovakian center was drafted 13th overall by the Buffalo Sabres, but never actually played in the NHL. Marek Zagrapan has played across the map from International Play, the QMJHL, the AHL, the KHL, and various other European leagues for a total of 22 seasons; In these 22 seasons, he has accumulated 495 points in 715 games. Zagrapan is without a doubt a talented hockey player with a knack for putting points on the board, but has displayed constant inconsistencies in all aspects of his game. His career best season was in 2005/6 with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL where he threw down 87 points in 59 games! In the prior season with the same team, he marked down 82 points in 59 games. He is currently a member of the Poprad HK SKP of Slovakia where he has put up 29 points in 37 games.
21 Sasha Pokulok (14th Overall)
Sasha Pokulok is another player drafted that never played in the show; he was drafted 14th overall by the Washington Capitals. A massive physical presence, Washington had hopes of a productive player that could also bang bodies. #10 on this list, Martin Hanzal has a very similar play style and size but was much more productive. Much like the man drafted before him, the 6’5” 220 lbs beast Pokulok, played all over the world in numerous countries ranging from Ontario, Canada all the way to Kokshetau, Kazakhstan. He played 14 seasons of professional hockey where he put up 141 points in 311 games; that is not too bad for a man of that size! In his final two AHL seasons, Pokulok only played 15 games combined, where he put up a total of eight points.
20 Niclas Bergfors (23rd Overall)
Niclas Bergfors was drafted 23rd overall by the New Jersey Devils. Bergfors played a total of 173 games over seven NHL seasons that ended in the 2011-12 season with the Nashville Predators. In those 173 games, he managed to net 83 points; 24 of those points being on the power play. Bergfors was a definite offensive player, and a proven weapon on the power play. In the 2008-09 season with the Lowell Devils of the AHL, Bergfors reached a career high of 51 points in 66 games. Evidently not being an elite goal scorer, his decent point production was often hidden behind his poor defensive play; in his most productive seasons, he had his worst +/- ratings with a career rating of -53. Bergfors is currently a member of the Linkopings HC of the SweHL where he has a rating of -13 and only five points in 28 games.
19 Brian Lee (9th Overall)
Brian Lee was drafted ninth overall by the Ottawa Senators, and did not live up to anywhere near his potential. Lee played seven seasons in the NHL where he put up 36 points in 209 games and sat on a dismal -37 rating. Drafted as a college-bound high school senior, Brian Lee radiated potential as a talented puck-moving defenseman - very similar to #9 and #8 on the list, Matt Niskanen of the Capitals and Jack Johnson of the Blue Jackets. Unfortunately, despite his smooth skating abilities, his career was not as smooth, constantly being dropped down to the AHL for further development, until it was realized there was nothing left to harness. Lee simply fell off, and finished his career in 2012-13 with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.
18 Gilbert Brulé (6th Overall)
Gilbert Brulé was picked up sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Through eight NHL seasons, he tallied 95 points in 299 games, and maintained a 49.8 FO% as a center. During his junior career with the Quesnel Millionaires of the BCHL and the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, Brulé was consistently putting up great numbers; He finished over a point-per-game in all but one season with the Giants. Once he was called up to the Blue Jackets, his point production dropped off significantly. He was then sent back down to the AHL where he was then moved to the Oilers where point production was still lackluster. After the stint with the Oilers, he was shipped to the Coyotes where he finished his NHL career in 2013/14, putting up 14 points in 36 games with the Coyotes. Brulé is currently in the KHL playing for the Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik where he has produced 27 points in 28 games.
17 Jakub Kindl (19th Overall)
Jakub Kindl was drafted 19th overall by the Detroit Red Wings. Kindl is currently a member of the Florida Panthers organization during his ninth HL season; in the NHL he has produced 72 points in 312 games and has a -17 rating. Having played with the Detroit Red Wings, Kindl was given an experience most defenseman would only dream of; Getting to not only be on the same ice surface as Niklas Lidstrom but wear the same uniform as him and learn from him - one of the best defenseman to ever play the game. His career-best season was in 2005-06 with the Kitchener Rangers where he tallied 58 points in 60 games as a defence man. He also played along side #24 on the list Matt Lashoff, who also had a career high season with the Rangers that year. This season with the Panthers, Kindl has two points in 23 games, and a -9 rating.
16 Steve Downie (29th Overall)
Drafted 29th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers, Steve Downie was a very pleasant surprise in this draft year. Downie played 12 NHL seasons during a 14-year career for five different teams where he played 434 games, chalking up 196 points and 1057 PIM. Downie was a high-flying, tenacious, and hard working player that played with an edge; the type of guy you loved to have on your team, and the type of guy you hated playing against. Steve Downie was a coach’s dream that could play in both ends, and was an asset to any third or fourth he was thrown into. He last played in the 2015-16 season with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL where he put up two points and 24 PIM in eight games.
15 Luc Bourdon (10th Overall)
A touchy subject for Vancouver Canucks fans, and hockey fans everywhere. Drafted 10th overall by the Vancouver Canucks, Luc Bourdon’s potential was never reached as he was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident May 29, 2008. I’ve placed him in the #15 spot simply because we just don’t know where he would have ended up. Based on his career up until his death, I’d project him to be a top pair defenseman on the Vancouver Canucks and a great asset to any team he'd play for. Bourdon won gold in back-to-back years with Canada during the World Junior Championships in 2006 and 2007. Luc’s death shook up the hockey world, and it’s a shame we never got to see him reach his full potential. Elite, Stanley Cup winning defenseman, Kris Letang (drafted 62nd overall) and Luc's best friend, continues to carry his death with him, but also plays for his lost friend.
14 Alex Bourret (16th Overall)
Drafted 16th overall by the Atlanta Thrashers, Alex Bourret is a player I really wish I got to see playing in the NHL. Bourret is a genuinely offensively talented player that also plays with an edge. The most productive years of his career were the four he spent in the QMJHL; his career best season was in the 2005-06 season with the Shawinigan Cataractes where he chalked up an impressive 44 goals and 114 points along with 133 P.I.M. in 67 games played! Bourret has played 21 seasons total in which he put up 636 points in 691 games. He is known as point producer, and also a bit of a bruiser – laying out countless big hits and then not being afraid to drop the gloves either as he has done so over 50 times in his career. Bourret is currently a member of the Jonquiere Marquis in the LNAH.
13 Benoit Pouliot (4th Overall)
Benoit Pouliot was selected fourth overall by the Minnesota Wild. A bit of a suitcase, he is currently on his sixth NHL team in 12 seasons. Pouliot is currently with the Edmonton Oilers, and is in his third season with the organization. His most productive season was in the OHL during the 2004-05 season with the Sudbury Wolves where he tallied 29 goals and 67 points in 67 games. Once he began his professional career, he had some trouble finding his stride. In the 2014/-5 season however, he put on that Oilers Jersey and has had his most productive professional seasons with the Oilers, putting up 86 points in 150 games so far as an Oiler. Pouliot is a talented big forward standing at 6’3”, and his success is found when he is using that size as an advantage; driving the net, and not working the outside too much.
12 Devin Setoguchi (8th Overall)
Devin Setoguchi was drafted eighth overall by the San Jose Sharks. Currently in his ninth NHL season, he is in his first season with the Los Angeles Kings – his fifth team. Not necessarily known as a point producer, Setoguchi has scored 258 points in 505 games. His career best season, which was a bit of an anomaly, was with the San Jose Sharks in 2008-09 where he tallied 31 goals and 65 points in 81 games. What he is known for though, is simply versatility. He is a tool that a coach can use in any situation including special teams, as 69 of his points have been tallied on the power play. A good insert on just about any third or fourth line, Setoguchi is a great chip and chase player who’s style works well with his current team – the Kings.
11 Andrew Cogliano (25th Overall)
Andrew Cogliano, the small and speedy center was drafted 25th overall by the Edmonton Oilers. Being one of the fastest players in the game, Cogliano has proven to be one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL. A coach’s dream, he can play any situation and be a weapon in all of them – he has scored 15 SHG and will without a doubt score more as his career rolls on. Cogliano is currently playing in his 10th NHL season, and his sixth with the Anaheim Ducks. In those 10 seasons, he has chalked up 317 points in 591 games. An iron man, Cogliano has played in all 82 regular season games in all but one of his NHL seasons (not including the on-going season)!
10 Martin Hanzal (17th Overall)
Ever seen a bear on skates? Drafted 17th overall by the Phoenix (Arizona) Coyotes, standing at 6’6” and 226 lbs, Martin Hanzal is a great NHL power forward. Hanzal is currently playing in his 10th NHL season – all of which have been played with his draft team, the Coyotes. In 591 games, he has scored 302 points and 531 PIM in 591 games played. Hanzal has put up an average of 30 points in all of his seasons, and is consistently filling his roll with the Coyotes. His career best season was in the WHL during the 2006/7 season with the Red Deer Rebels where he put up 85 points in 60 games. He is currently on pace for one of his worst seasons as a pro, so hopefully he can turn that around in the back half of the season.
9 Matt Niskanen (28th Overall)
Drafted 28th overall by the Dallas Stars, Matt Niskanen is a proven great offensive defenseman. Niskanen is currently playing on his third NHL team, the Washington Capitals, in his 11th season in the show. With great vision and smooth skating, Niskanen is a great quarterback on the power play tallying 82 PPP , and has been a part of some of the most dangerous power plays in the past decade; he’s played with the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and T.J. Oshie. His best NHL season was the the Penguins in the 2013-14 season where he put up 46 points, including 15 PPP in 81 games. A playoff veteran, Niskanen has played in 81 post season games where he has put up 25 points; Hoping for another deep playoff run, those numbers will surely rise this season.
8 Jack Johnson (3rd Overall)
Drafted third overall by the Carolina Hurricanes, Jack Johnson is a speedy offensive defenseman. Johnson is currently in his 12th NHL season, with his second team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. In those seasons, he has played a total of 668 games, and tallied 255 points- 118 of which have been on the power play. Much like Niskanen, Johnson is a great puck moving quarterback on the power play and his known more for his offensive production, rather than his defensive game. His career best season was in 2010-11 with the Los Angeles Kings where he put up 42 points in 82 games. Currently playing on the best team in the NHL, Johnson is looking at a good chance at making a run deep into the playoffs.
7 T.J. Oshie (24th Overall)
Drafted 24th overall by the St. Louis Blues, T.J. Oshie has proven to be a great offensive player. Oshie consistently puts up around 40-60 points per season, assuming he stays healthy; he has only dropped below 20 points once in a season, where he only played 30 games. With good size, good skating ability, and soft hands, Oshie is a very dangerous offensive threat that you’ve probably seen in a few highlight reels. In 556 games played, he has scored 384 points. He is a very good first line addition, and an amazing second line player. In his best season, Oshie put up 60 points in 79 games with the Blues during the 2013-14 season. He is currently playing in his second season with the Washington Capitals, and is looking to beat his point production last year of 51 points in 80 games.
6 Marc Staal (12th Overall)
Drafted 12th overall by the New York Rangers, Marc Staal is a great shut down defenseman, and a staple in the Ranger’s blue line. Currently in his 10th season as a Ranger, he has produced 152 points in 657 games played. However, he is not known for his offensive game, but rather his ability to log big minutes against opposing team’s star players. Standing at 6’4”, Staal’s reach, long strides, and overall size make him a tough defender to dance around, feather passes by or through, or out battle in the corners and around the net. With a career rating of 40 so far in his career, it’s safe to say he’s doing his job. Marc Staal would be an asset to any blue line in the league, but has found a good fit with the Rangers, and is hopeful for another long playoff run.
5 Bobby Ryan (2nd Overall)
Drafted second overall by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Bobby Ryan is one of the best pure goal scorers in the league today. Bobby Ryan is currently in his 10th NHL season and his fourth with the Ottawa Senators. During his six seasons with the Ducks, Ryan scored 31 goals or more in four seasons, and put up 26 or more assists in those seasons as well. Ryan began his run with the Senators in 2012-13 where his goal production has faltered slightly, only reaching 23 goals as a high so far as a Senator. He is consistently good for over 40 points a season, and had his best NHL season in 2010/-1 with the Ducks where he scored 34 goals and 71 points. Bobby Ryan’s goal scoring touch is a rarity, and he has scored some of the prettiest goals I’ve ever witnessed.
4 Tuukka Rask (21st Overall)
The 2013-14 Vezina Trophy winner and 2010-11 Stanley Cup Winner, Tuukka Rask was drafted 21st overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rask is currently in his fourth ason as a starter for the Boston Bruins, where he has played in all 10 of his NHL seasons. Up until this point, his career GAA is 2.22 and his career SV% is .924. Rask really emerged as the goalie he is today in 2013-14 in his Vezina Trophy winning season; Rask had a GAA of 2.04 and a SV% of .930 where we won 36 of 58 starts and posted seven shutouts! So far this season, Rask has won 20 of his 32 starts and sits on a 1.93 GAA with a SV% of .928.
3 Anze Kopitar (11th Overall)
Drafted 11th overall by the Los Angeles Kings, and now the King’s captain, Anze Kopitar has proven to be an elite NHL center. Currently in his 11th season with the Kings, Kopitar has won two Stanley Cups with the Kings; One in 2011-12 and one in 2013-14. When he stays healthy, Kopitar can be expected to produce 70-80 points and be an offensively dominant player that can beat you driving wide with his speed and size, or simply dangling you into next week with his soft hands. Kopitar has produced 702 points in 799 games with a career best season in 2009-10 where he put up 34 goals and 81 points in 82 games. His most impressive season though, has to be the 2015-16 season where he chalked up 74 points, and took home some hardware including the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, and the Frank J Selke Trophy.
2 Carey Price (5th Overall)
The best goalie in the world and arguably the biggest asset in the NHL, drafted fifth overall by the Montreal Canadiens is Carey Price. Amazing, incredible, miraculous, are a few of the words you can use to describe Carey Price. Price’s best season was without a doubt the 2014-15 season where he won 44 of his 66 starts which included nine shutouts, posted a 1.96 GAA, dropped a .933 SV%, and cleaned up at the NHL awards where he won: The Vezina Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, William M. Jennings Trophy, and the Hart Memorial Trophy. To add to his resume, Price has won: The World Junior Championships Gold Medal, the Calder Cup, an Olympic Gold Medal, and The World Cup of Hockey. It seems the only thing he hasn’t won is the all elusive Stanley Cup.
1 Sidney Crosby (1st Overall)
Drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins, does he even need an introduction? Sidney Crosby takes the #1 spot on this list with no contest. Cracking the 100-point mark five times, Crosby has proved to be one of the most offensively gifted players to ever hit the ice. Having Mario Lemieux has a mentor probably didn’t hurt this legend’s career trajectory, being named the Penguin’s captain at the tender age of 20. Crosby’s resume is honestly just incredible; winning the Stanley Cup twice – once as the youngest captain ever, the Mark Messier NHL leadership award, the Art Ross Trophy twice, the Maurice Richard Trophy, the Ted Lindsay Award three times, the Hart Memorial Trophy twice, the Conn Smythe Trophy, World Junior Championships Gold Medal, and an Olympic Gold medal – there’s more, but you get the picture. Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world, and that resume will only continue to get more and more impressive.
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