Re-Drafting The Entire First Round Of The 2000 NHL Draft

Looking back at the 2000 NHL Draft it’s easy to see that most teams were more interested in size rather than skill as the majority of first-rounders taken were done so because they stood over six-feet tall. It wasn’t a strong draft though, in fact it was one of the weakest ever, and may yield just one Hall of Famer. That is if goaltender Henrik Lundqvist eventually gets voted in. The original number one pick Rick DiPietro will go down as one of the biggest ever busts for a top-overall draft choice. He was an injury-prone goalie who was eventually signed to one of the league’s biggest ever and worst contracts.

Almost 17 years have gone by since the original draft so we’ll do it all over again, knowing what we know now. Several players have jumped up dramatically from the later rounds of the original draft while a few have jumped up several spots and a couple have dropped a few places. There were some fine NHL players taken in 2000, but just 19 of the 30 players taken played 100 games in the league. Many of them returned to Europe to continue their careers and some of them are still playing there. In addition, 13 of the players taken in the re-draft are still skating in the NHL today.

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30 New York Islanders: Henrik Lundqvist 

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Original Pick: Rick DiPietro

The Islanders had two top-five picks in 2000 and basically blew them both with Raffi Torres going fifth in 2000 and on goalie Rick DiPietro going first. DiPietro played 319 games with the Islanders, but was injury prone and cost them a fortune because of the contract they handed him. The Islanders now take another goalie as they’ll select Sweden’s Henrik Lundqvist, who went 205th overall in the seventh round to the Rangers. Remarkably, King Henrik was the 22nd goalie taken in the draft. He’s easily the best goalie of 2000 and arguably the only member of the class who will make it to the Hall of Fame. With numerous awards and milestones under his belt, Lundqvist should go down in history as the greatest Rangers’ goalie and one of the best ever in the NHL and will soon celebrate his 400th career win

29 Atlanta Thrashers: Marian Gaborik 

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Original Pick: Dany Heatley

Atlanta took Dany Heatley second in the original draft, but Marian Gaborik of Slovakia is the better choice after going third to Minnesota in 2000. Heatley was a productive player, but Gaborik will soon pass him as the top point getter of the draft. He’s already the top goalscorer and will soon celebrate his 400th goal, 400th assist, 800th point and 1,000th NHL game. Gaborik spent eight seasons with Minnesota, four with the Rangers, a pair in Columbus and is now in his fourth campaign with the Kings. His 22 points in 26 playoff games in 2013-14 helped LA win the Stanley Cup. Gaborik has been labeled lazy and a floater by some, and if that’s true, imagine how great of a player he’d be if he put his mind to it.

28 Minnesota Wild: Justin Williams

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Original Pick: Marian Gaborik

Minnesota took Marian Gaborik in 2000, but he just went to Atlanta in the re-draft. This means fellow forward Justin Williams is still available after going 28th to Philadelphia originally. Williams is still playing in the NHL as he’s been with Washington since last season. He’s still contributing in both ends of the ice and there’s no reason the 35-year-old should stop anytime soon. He’s been a clutch playoff performer over the years with 85 points in 127 postseason contests and helped Los Angeles win a pair of Stanley Cups. He was the playoff MVP in 2013-14 also won a Cup with Carolina. Williams has played over 1,050 NHL games and is currently the fourth-leading scorer from the draft with over 650 points. He doesn’t have Hall of Fame numbers, but has been an excellent player.

27 Columbus Blue Jackets: Dany Heatley

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Original Pick: Rostislav Klesla

Columbus took Rostislav Klesla fourth, but winger Dany Heatley’s still available here after originally going second to Atlanta. Heatley won the Calder trophy and is currently the top scorer in the draft with 791 points in 869 games, but will soon be passed by Marian Gaborik. He was born in Germany, but Heatley represented Canada many times. He hit the 50-goal and 100-point mark twice with Ottawa and holds several Atlanta and Ottawa franchise records. Heatley left a lot to be desired off the ice though. His Atlanta teammate Dan Snyder was killed in a car crash with Heatley speeding in 2003. After being charged with vehicular homicide, he pleaded guilty and was given three years’ probation. The worst thing was, Heatley was made out to be some type of hero by many after the incident.

26 New York Islanders: Scott Hartnell

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Original Pick: Raffi Torres

Yes, the Islanders actually took Raffi Torres with fifth in 2000 and we all know what type of player he turned out to be. It’s a shame really, since Torres was effective when he wasn’t trying to take his opponents’ heads off. New York takes forward Scott Hartnell instead after he went one pick later in 2000 at number six to Nashville. Hartnell is number one from the draft when it comes to games played and third overall in goals and points. He’s may be slowing down a bit now, but Hartnell’s been a fine player for the past 15 seasons with the Preds, Philadelphia and now Columbus. With over 1600 penalty minutes, it’s obvious the gritty power forward likes the rough stuff and he’s typically the heart and soul of every team he plays for.

25 Nashville Predators: Lubomir Visnovsky 

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Original Pick: Scott Hartnell

Nashville didn’t do wrong by taking Scott Hartnell in 2000, but he was taken just before Nashville in the re-draft. They’ll go with defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky, who originally went 118th overall to Los Angeles. He was almost 24 years old when drafted and the Slovakian turned out to be a hell of a pick. He became the top-scoring blueliner in the draft and sixth-highest overall with 495 points in 823 games with LA, Edmonton, Anaheim and the Islanders. He left in 2015-16 for the KHL after failing to make Chicago in a tryout. Visnovsky made the headlines in 2012 when trying to void his trade to the Islanders from Anaheim. He lost the case and was suspended by the Islanders for not reporting. He eventually showed up and signed on for two more years.

24 Boston Bruins: Ron Hainsey

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Original Pick: Lars Jonsson

Boston will take Ron Hainsey seventh this time after selecting fellow defender Lars Jonsson of Sweden originally. Jonsson played just eight NHL games six years later, and with Philadelphia, not Boston. He spent of two years in North America in the AHL and went home to play in 2008. Meanwhile, Hainsey was taken 13th by Montreal. He’s moved up six spots due to his durability and fine play. Hainsey is still in the NHL with Carolina. He played just 32 games with Montreal and was a minor leaguer before making the most of his chance in Columbus in 2005. He’s now played close to 900 NHL games with about 250 points to his name. He’s highly underrated, rarely misses a game and has basically flown under the radar for 17 years.

23 Tampa Bay Lightning: Roman Cechmanek

Original Pick: Nikita Alexeev

Tampa took the wrong player eighth overall in big Russian winger Nikita Alexeev. He was a good scorer in junior, but not as a pro. Alexeev played 159 NHL games with Tampa and Chicago before heading to the KHL in 2007. Tampa’s taking highly-underrated Czech goalie Roman Cechmanek this time. He originally went 171st to Philadelphia as the 19th goalie taken in 2000, but was actually the second best. He was 29 years old when drafted after making a name for himself in his homeland. He played in the All-Star game and was runner up in Vezina Trophy voting his first season and then shared the 2002/03 Jennings trophy with his 1.83 goals-against average. Cechmanek had 25 shutouts in 212 NHL contests with Philly and Los Angeles and won 110 games before heading home in 2004.

22 Calgary Flames: Niklas Kronwall

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Original Pick: Brent Krahn

Calgary inexplicably took goalie Brent Krahn in 2000, probably because he played junior hockey in town with the Hitmen. His 6-foot-5-inch frame allowed him to have a good junior and minor league career, but he played just one NHL game, and that came with Dallas in 2008-09. Krahn allowed three goals on nine shots in a period. Calgary takes defenceman Niklas Kronwall of Sweden this time after he originally went 29th to Detroit, where he’s still playing. Kronwall’s the third-highest scoring defenceman from the draft and 11th-highest overall. He’s steady, contributes in both ends of the ice and doesn’t take many stupid penalties even though he plays physically. Kronwall’s won several international medals and a Stanley Cup. His 47 points in 109 playoff games are impressive and should still be able to play a few more seasons.

21 Chicago Blackhawks: Ilya Bryzgalov

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Original Pick: Mikhail Yakubov

I’m not sure who was scouting for Chicago in 2000, but they went 0-for-2 in the first round by taking Russian winger Mikhail Yakubov right after blowing the 10th pick on Pavel Vorobiev. Yakubov played just 53 NHL games and 40 with Chicago as he was basically a minor leaguer who headed back to Russia in 2006. Chicago selects goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the re-draft after the Russian went 44th to Anaheim originally. Bryzgalov played 465 NHL games and went 221-162-54 with a 2.58 goals-against average and 91.2 save percentage with five different teams. He won several international medals and helped Anaheim win the Stanley Cup in 2006/07. He may have been an enigma and a bit of a nutcase, but the entertaining goalie may be back in the NHL next season after turning 37.

20 Chicago Blackhawks: Brad Boyes

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Original Pick: Pavel Vorobiev

Chicago missed the boat by taking winger Pavel Vorobiev of Kazakhstan 11th in 2000. He was a decent player with 25 points in 57 contests for the Hawks, but not worthy of a first-round pick. After time in the minors he left in 2006 for the KHL where he stayed until last year. He’s now playing in the UK. Chicago takes underrated forward Brad Boyes here after he went 24th to Toronto originally. Boyes is still good enough to be playing in the NHL, but wasn’t signed by anybody after spending last year in Toronto. He’s played 822 career games with 505 points with the Leafs, Florida, Buffalo, St. Louis, Boston and San Jose. Ironically, he didn’t play in Toronto until 15 years after they drafted him. Boyes is the fifth-leading scorer from the draft.

19 Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Alexander Frolov

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Original Pick: Alexei Smirnov

Anaheim made a mistake with Russian centre Alexei Smirnov at 12th as he spent most of his North American days in the AHL. He suited up just 52 times with Anaheim with half a dozen points before returning to Russia in 2005. Let’s compare him to fellow countryman Alexander Frolov, who the Ducks will take this time. Frolov was originally drafted 20th by Los Angeles and had seven productive seasons with them before playing his last NHL season with the Rangers in 2010-11 when signing as a free agent. Frolov scored 397 points in 579 games to rank eighth overall in the draft and then returned to Russia in 2011. He’s still going strong in the KHL this season and has had a great international career, but left LA before they won the Stanley Cup.

18 Montreal Canadiens: Antoine Vermette

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Original Pick: Ron Hainsey

The Habs took a good player in 2000 in defenceman Ron Hainsey, but Boston beat them to it in the re-draft and chose him seventh. Montreal still get a good player in centre Antoine Vermette though. Vermette originally went 55th to Ottawa in the second round. Just six players from the draft have scored more than him and he’s still adding to his total this season with Anaheim. Vermette should reach the 500-point plateau this season after career stops in Ottawa, Columbus, Arizona and Chicago and will soon hit the 1,000-game mark. The four-time 20-goal scorer has also reached 19 twice. He’s been a rental player in the past due to his offensive skills and helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 2014-15. Vermette’s still a useful player who should have a couple more seasons in him.

17 Colorado Avalanche: John-Michael Liles

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Original Pick: Vaclav Nedorost

The Avalanche took Czech centre Vaclav Nedorost with the 14th pick and didn’t get much in return from him other than nine points in 42 games. Nedorost was soon traded to Florida and ended up playing almost as many AHL games as NHL contests, which totaled just 99. He went to play in Europe in 2004 and still plays there in the KHL. Colorado will take offensive defenceman John-Michael Liles this time after he originally went 159th in the fifth round to the same Colorado Avalanche. Liles is still playing in the NHL with Boston this season and is the second-highest scoring defenceman and 10th-highest overall from the 2000 draft. The former college standout has also played with Carolina and Toronto with over 370 career points in more than 825 games.

16 Buffalo Sabres: Jarret Stoll

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Original Pick: Artem Kryukov

The Sabres blew the 15th pick by taking Russian forward Artem Kryukov as he never left Russia during his career. It’s hard to see what Buffalo saw in him other than size since he hardly blew the KHL away with his play. The Sabres won’t make the same mistake as they’re taking forward Jarret Stoll this time. The 34-year-old Stoll recently retired and was originally drafted 46th by Calgary. But like Matthew Lombardi, Stoll couldn’t didn’t sign with his club and went back into the draft in 2002 and was taken 36th by Edmonton. Stoll had a fine career, won two Stanley Cups with Los Angeles, but then embarrassed himself when he was busted in Las Vegas for possession of ecstasy and cocaine. He pleaded guilty to a pair of misdemeanors in the summer of 2015.

15 Montreal Canadiens: Dominic Moore

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Original Pick: Marcel Hossa

If the Habs drafted brother Marian Hossa or even father Frantisek Hossa, the fans might have been happy. Instead, they used the 16th pick in 2000 on Marcel Hossa, a creative offensive winger. He’s scored everywhere he’s played, but didn’t do so in the NHL. He played just 59 games in Montreal before moving on to the Rangers and Arizona and then headed to Europe in 2008, where he’s still racking up the points. Montreal will take highly-underrated forward Dominic Moore this time after being drafted 95th by the Rangers. Moore is with Boston this season after stints with eight other clubs. He’s a defensive specialist with over 800 games experience and more than 250 points. Moore was a standout in college and is a former Masterton Trophy winner. I’d take him on my team any day.

14 Edmonton Oilers: Steve Ott

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Original Pick: Alexei Mikhnov

Edmonton regrets drafting Alexei Mikhnov of Russia 17th in 2000 as he played just two games with them. The 6-foot-5 left-winger also played 27 games in the AHL, but has spent the rest of his career in Russia, where he’s still playing in the KHL. On the other hand, super pest Steve Ott is still getting on everybody’s nerves in the NHL with Detroit. Ott was originally drafted 25th overall by Dallas and spent nine seasons with them. The former NHL captain has also suited up with Buffalo and St. Louis. He’s racked up close to 300 points in over 832 games, but is more known for his leadership skills, his agitating ways, and sticking up for younger teammates. That’s obvious when you consider he’s spent more than 1,530 minutes in the penalty box.

13 Pittsburgh Penguins: Nick Schultz

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Original Pick: Brooks Orpik

Pittsburgh’s original pick, Brooks Orpik is still available in the re-draft. But this time they’re going to mix things up by taking fellow blueliner Nick Schultz, who’s also still playing in the NHL, with Philadelphia this season. Schultz moves up 15 spots as Minnesota originally took him 33rd. Schultz has managed to play in over 1,050 NHL games even though he’s been a healthy scratch quite a few times in Philly this year. He’s another steady, but low-scoring defenceman who takes care of his own end of the ice before thinking offence. Schultz spent 10 seasons in Minnesota, three in Edmonton, one in Columbus and the past three with the Flyers. He’s a former two-time medal winner with the Canadian Juniors and at 34 still has something to offer, but probably not in Philadelphia.

12 Phoenix Coyotes: Paul Martin

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Original Pick: Krys Kolanos

Defenceman Paul Martin is still an effective NHL player with San Jose this season after going 62nd overall to New Jersey in 2000. He’s moved up 43 places and is a better choice than Arizona’s original pick, which was centre Krys Kolanos. Calgary native Kolanos spent most of his pro career in the AHL and Europe, where he’s still playing in Germany. Martin has played over 800 games with the Devils, Pittsburgh and the Sharks with over 300 points to his name. The former Minnesota High School Player of the Years has also been quite effective in the playoffs with 45 points in 109 contests. Martin’s been a steady performer in both ends of the ice and is over +120 for his career. At 35, he’s got a good shot at reaching 1,000 games before retiring.

11 Los Angeles Kings: Brooks Orpik

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Original Pick: Alexander Frolov

The Kings will have to settle for defenceman Brooks Orpik in the re-draft after taking forward Alexander Frolov the first time around. Frolov was taken earlier in this exercise though as his play warranted a higher selection in the draft. Orpik’s not a bad replacement though and he also went in the first round in 2000 when Pittsburgh took him 18th overall. He deserves to be a top-20 pick here even for longevity alone as Orpik’s still playing this season as an alternate captain with Washington. Orpik’s been a low-scoring, but steady defender for over 860 NHL games with Pittsburgh and Washington. The San Francisco native is known for his defensive play and leadership qualities and helped Pittsburgh win the Stanley Cup in 2008-09. He also won a silver medal at the Olympics the next season.

10 Ottawa Senators: Matthew Lombardi

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Original Pick: Anton Volchenkov

Ottawa took Russian defenceman Anton Volchenkov in 2000 at number 21, but will take speedy forward Matthew Lombardi this time around. Volchenkov was still available here, but Lombardi scored about half-a-point per NHL game and offered just a bit more, especially offensively. Lombardi was one of the smaller forwards drafted in 2000 and that’s probably why he wasn’t taken until the seventh round, 215th overall by Edmonton. Lombardi scored 130 points in his final junior season in Quebec, but couldn’t agree on a contract with the Oilers. He was then drafted 90th overall in 2002 by Calgary. He played 536 games in the Show with 262 points to his name during stops in Calgary, Arizona, Nashville, Toronto and Anaheim. Lombardi headed to Switzerland in 2014 after clearing waivers when he failed to make the New York Rangers.

9 New Jersey Devils: Antti Miettinen

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Original Pick: David Hale

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of defenceman David Hale although he played 327 NHL games after being taken 22nd by the Devils. Hale scored a total of four NHL goals in stints with New Jersey, Calgary, Arizona, Tampa and Ottawa. New Jersey takes left-winger Antti Miettien of Finland in the re-draft, after originally going 224th overall to Dallas in the seventh round. Miettien hung around the NHL for 539 games with Dallas, Minnesota and Winnipeg before heading to Europe to play in 2013-14. He was a good playmaker and decent NHL scorer with 97 goals and 230 points. He owns a couple of Olympic and World Championship medals and is now an assistant coach in Europe. Miettinen also plays guitar in a band known as Cement and played at his own wedding.

8 Vancouver Canucks: Tomas Kopecky

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Original Pick: Nathan Smith

Center Nathan Smith went 23rd to Vancouver as another big forward taken at 6-foot-2, but wasn’t an overly physical player. He spent most of his time in the AHL, playing just four games with the Canucks. Smith also played 13 times with Pittsburgh and nine with Minnesota, but didn’t record a point in his 26 NHL outings. A much better choice is big winger Tomas Kopecky of Slovakia who went 38th to Detroit. Kopecky spent four years in the AHL before cracking the Wings roster, but struggled somewhat in Motown even though he won a Stanley Cup there. He performed better in stints with Chicago and Florida, scoring 174 points in 578 NHL outings and won another cup with the Blackhawks. Kopecky returned to Europe in 2015-16 and still plays there in the KHL.

7 Toronto Maple Leafs: Kurtis Foster  

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Original Pick: Brad Boyes

Toronto didn’t waste the 24th pick by taking winger Brad Boyes. However, he was chosen long ago in the re-draft so Toronto will take defenceman Kurtis Foster, who originally went 40th to Calgary. At 6-foot-5 and 225 lbs., Foster was a big, rugged kid who played junior with Peterborough, where he’s currently an assistant coach. Calgary didn’t keep him though as he was traded to Atlanta before his NHL debut. He also had stints in Minnesota, Tampa, Edmonton, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Foster then took off to play in Europe in 2013-14 and ended up winning titles in the AHL and Germany as well as playing All-Star Games in the AHL and KHL. He surprised many with his scoring touch as Foster had 160 points in 405 NHL games with 42 points in Tampa in 2009-10.

6 Dallas Stars: Rostislav Klesla

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Original Pick: Steve Ott

Forward Steve Ott went to Dallas 25th overall in 2000 and turned out to be a good choice since he’s still playing 17 years later. Ott isn’t around at 25 in the re-draft though so the Stars take big defenceman Rostislav Klesla of the Czech Republic. Klesla went fourth overall to Columbus in 2000, but has fallen 21 spots since he didn’t really live up to his potential. The 34-year-old had a decent NHL career though, scoring 159 points in 659 games with Columbus and Arizona. The injury-prone, physical defender left the NHL to play in his homeland in 2014 after refusing to report to Buffalo following a trade. Klesla will go down in the history books as being the first-ever draft choice by the Blue Jackets franchise and made the NHL All-Rookie team in his first year.

5 Washington Capitals: Anton Volchenkov

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Original Pick: Brian Sutherby

The Capitals took centre, Brian Sutherby 26th overall originally in the draft, but would have done better by taking defenceman Anton Volchenkov of Russia. Sutherby wasn’t a bad player and racked up 90 points in 460 games with Washington, Anaheim and Dallas. However, Volchenkov was a solid blueliner with good speed, passing skills, and controlled aggression. He wasn’t offensively gifted though with just 19 goals and 133 points in his 696 regular-season NHL games. Volchenkov represented Russia at various international events and was originally drafted 21st overall in 2000 by Ottawa. Therefore, the big defenceman has seen his ranking fall by five places in the re-draft. Volchenkov also had NHL stints with New Jersey and Nashville and is currently playing with Admiral Vladivostok in the KHL after sitting out last season.

4 Boston Bruins: Paul Gaustad

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Original Pick: Martin Samuelsson

The Bruins gambled on right-winger Martin Samuelsson of Sweden back in 2000, but with a single point in just 14 NHL outings. He obviously didn’t work out for them although he had good size to be a power forward at 6-foot-2 and 210 lbs. This time around they’re taking character forward Paul Gaustad. This is quite a jump for the centre since he originally went 220th overall to Buffalo in the seventh round. The 34-year-old Gaustad carved out a decent NHL career due to his 6-foot-5 frame and willingness to mix it up when needed. He lasted 727 regular-season games for Buffalo and Nashville with 231 points to his name. Fans were drawn to the Preds’ alternate captain because of this and his willingness to show he was a team player.

3 Philadelphia Flyers: Rick DiPietro

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Original Pick: Justin Williams

Philly got a good player in Justin Williams originally and that’s why he’s already taken in the re-draft. Goalie Rick DiPietro went first overall in 2000 to the Islanders and was considered by many to be one of the biggest all-time busts for a first overall pick. However, the problem with DiPietro was health issues and the ridiculous long-term, multimillion dollar contract the Islanders gifted him. He’s still one of the top five goalies and top 30 players of the original draft though. And let’s not forgot that he did manage to play in 318 NHL games, albeit with a losing record and 2.87 goals-against average and 90.2 save percentage. DiPietro definitely wasn’t worthy of his top-pick status, but was still good enough to go in the first round 17 years ago, considering who was available.

2 Detroit Red Wings: Michel Ouellet

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Original Pick: Niklas Kronwall

Detroit took defenceman Niklas Kronwall originally, but he’s long gone in this re-draft. Instead, they take skilled offensive player Michel Ouellet, who went 124th to Pittsburgh. Ouellet was a big enough winger at 6-foot-1 and 210 lbs, and could put the puck in the net. He wasn’t a great skater or physical player though. He scored 309 points in 224 games as a junior in Quebec and then spent his first four pro years in the minors, making the AHL’s All-Rookie Team in 2004. Ouellet played 190 NHL games with Pittsburgh, Tampa and Vancouver then headed to Europe for a couple of years, returned to the AHL for a season and finished his career in the Ligue Nord Americain de Hockey. Ouellet won a Memorial Cup as a Junior and Calder Cup in the AHL.

1 St. Louis Blues: Raffi Torres

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Original Pick: Jeff Taffe

Yes, Raffi Torres may have been a borderline goon and one of the most-suspended players in NHL history and should never have been drafted fifth overall by the New York Islanders in 2000. But on the other side of the coin, he could skate, had some offensive talent, and knew how to hit, of course not always legally. However, you can bet every player on the ice was aware of Torres’ presence when he was skating opposite them. Since 2000 was such a weak draft, Torres actually deserves to go in the first round and his 260 points in 635 games rank him the 15th top-scorer from the entire draft. The original pick at number 30 back then was centre Jeff Taffe, who ended up scoring 46 points in 180 games with the Blues.

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