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Re-Drafting the First Round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft

The 2006 NHL Entry Draft had some excellent players in it such as Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom, Phil Kessel, Jordan Staal, Claude Giroux, Milan Lucic, Bryan Little, and Brad Marchand. It also had numerous other players who would turn out to be solid, consistent pros as well as a handful of steady goaltenders. There were also a number of busts as several players have left the NHL. We’ll look back at that draft and re-select the top 30 players based on what we know about them now, a decade later.

To be eligible for this 2006 re-draft, the players still need to be currently playing in the NHL today. Some of the 2006 draftees have climbed the rankings and others have slid down them over the years due to their play. There are some players who were originally taken in the first round 10 years ago who didn’t make the top 30 this time around. On the other hand, some players have made the first round of the re-draft after originally being drafted in the second round or later. The draft is basically based on the best player available at the time of selection, not by his specific position.

Many of the 2006 draftees have exceeded expectations while others didn’t live up to them. Some of these players will eventually make it to the Hockey Hall of Fame and others never played a single shift in the NHL. There was a total of 213 players eligible for the 2006 draft and, as of today, 90 of them have played at least one NHL contest, which represents 42.3 per cent. They have played an average of 232 career games with an average of 40 goals and 99 points. The following is a re-draft of the 2006 first round with selections based on the players’ performances over the past decade.

* Stats correct as of March 22nd, 2016.

30 1. St. Louis Blues - Jonathan Toews

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

29 2. Pittsburgh Penguins - Nicklas Backstrom

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

28 3. Chicago Blackhawks - Claude Giroux

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

27 4. Washington Capitals - Phil Kessel

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

26 5. Boston Bruins - Milan Lucic

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

25 6. Columbus Blue Jackets - Brad Marchand 

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jackets went for Derick Brassard, who's been solid, but not as good as the pesty Marchand. Marchand is borderline dirty, plays with an edge, but can also be a great player when focusing on scoring goals and setting up teammates. He has 281 points in 441 career games after being chosen in the third round with the 71st overall pick. He’s just 5-foot-9 and the only time he didn’t reach 20 goals was in the shortened 2012-13 season when he had 18. Marchand has already hit a career-high 34 goals this year after 66 games. He’s scored 39 points in 66 postseason outings and helped Boston win the Stanley Cup in 2010-11 when he added 19 points in 25 playoff games.

24 7. New York Islanders - Jordan Staal

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

23 8. Phoenix Coyotes - Brian Little 

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

22 9. Minnesota Wild - Steve Mason

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

21 10. Florida Panthers - Derick Brassard

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

20 11. Los Angeles Kings - Kyle Okposo

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

19 12. Atlanta Thrashers - Semyon Varlamov

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

18 13. Toronto Maple Leafs - Erik Johnson

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

17 14. Vancouver Canucks - Mathieu Perreault

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

16 15. Tampa Bay Lightning - Nick Foligno

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

15 16. San Jose Sharks - Chris Stewart

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

14 17. Los Angeles Kings - Artem Anisimov

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

13 18. Colorado Avalanche - Michael Frolik

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

12 19. Anaheim Ducks - Patrik Berglund

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

11 20. Montreal Canadiens - Nikolai Kulemin

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

10 21. New York Rangers - Jeff Petry

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

9 22. Philadelphia Flyers - Jamie McGinn

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

8 23. Washington Capitals - Cal Clutterbuck

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

7 24. Buffalo Sabres - Michael Grabner

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

6 25. St. Louis Blues - Matt Beleskey 

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5 26. Calgary Flames - Viktor Stalberg

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

4 27. Dallas Stars - Jamie McBain

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

3 28. Ottawa Senators - Jonathan Bernier

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2 29. Phoenix Coyotes - Leo Komarov

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

1 30. New Jersey Devils - James Reimer

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Devils used their 2006 pick on defenceman Matt Corrente, who has played 34 NHL games since. He’s spent the rest of his time down in the minor leagues. Ten years later they’ll take goaltender James Reimer, who was taken by Toronto with the 99th pick in the 2006 draft. Reimer spent almost six seasons with the Leafs and never had a save percentage below .900. He was dealt to San Jose in February and has one shutout in three games with a 1.69 goals-against average and a 93.7 save percentage. Reimer’s career numbers read 87-77-23 with a 2.82 GAA, a .914 save percentage and 12 shutouts.

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Re-Drafting the First Round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft