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.

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30 St. Louis Blues - Jonathan Toews

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The St. Louis Blues took American defenceman Erik Johnson first overall back in 2006, but without a shadow of a doubt would be taking Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews if they could do it all over again. Erik Johnson may not be a bad player, but the former product of the USNT development program didn’t last three seasons with the Blues before he was shipped to Colorado. Toews, the Hawks’ captain, has led his team to three Stanley Cups. He’s also the third leading scorer from the draft with 555 points in 635 contests and has added 102 points in 117 postseason games. And let’s not forget Toews has won the Conn Smythe, and Frank J. Selke Trophies as well as the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. He was originally drafted third by Chicago.

29 Pittsburgh Penguins - Nicklas Backstrom

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It may surprise some fans to hear that Washington centre Niklas Backstrom is the top-scoring player from the 2006 draft. The native of Sweden was taken fourth overall by the Capitals, but would go second now. He’s a consistent scorer with 635 points in 643 career games with 51 more in 71 playoff outings. He’s an excellent setup man who’s had the benefit of playing with Alexander Ovechkin and at the age of 28 still has several good years ahead of him. The Penguins originally chose dependable forward Jordan Staal, but he was dealt to Carolina after five seasons in Pittsburgh.

28 Chicago Blackhawks - Claude Giroux

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With Jonathan Toews going first overall in this re-draft, the Hawks will be taking high-scoring centre Claude Giroux, who’s currently skating with Philadelphia. Giroux is the fourth-leading scorer of the 2006 draft and was originally taken 22nd by the Flyers out of Gatineau, Quebec. He’s racked up 509 points in 562 games since then and has 59 points in 66 contests so far this year while wearing the "C" for his team. He’s definitely risen in the rankings since the original draft.

27 Washington Capitals - Phil Kessel

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The Capitals took Nicklas Backstrom originally in 2006, but he was taken second overall by Pittsburgh in the re-draft. However, they’d still be able to grab a high-scoring player and sniper in right-winger Phil Kessel. The U.S.-born Kessel may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but he knows how to put the puck in the net even if he’s struggled over the past couple of seasons. He was drafted fifth by Boston in 2006 and was dealt to Toronto after three seasons. He spent six campaign in Hogtown with 20 goals being his worst output in the 48-game season of 2012-13. Kessel had 21 goals and 26 assists after 70 games with Pittsburgh this season after being dealt there last summer. He has 268 goals and 299 assists in 737 regular-season games which ranks him the second leading scorer of the 2006 draft. He also has 21 points in 22 postseason contests. Kessel won the 2007 Bill Masterton Trophy after beating testicular cancer and is now playing his sixth consecutive season without missing a game.

26 Boston Bruins - Milan Lucic

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The Bruins originally took winger Milan Lucic in the second round with the 50th pick after selecting Phil Kessel in the first round with the fifth choice. Kessel’s gone to Washington with the fourth pick though so Boston will still take Lucic, but 45 choices higher than he originally went. He’s the fifth-leading scorer of the draft class with 387 points in 634 games and has 61 points in 96 playoff games as well as a Stanley Cup ring with Boston. Lucic is a tough, power winger who averages about 100 penalty minutes per season. He was traded to Los Angeles in the offseason and had 17 goals and 26 assists with the Kings after his first 68 games.

25 Columbus Blue Jackets - Brad Marchand 

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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 New York Islanders - Jordan Staal

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Jordan Staal was originally drafted second overall by Pittsburgh, but Nicklas Backstrom was a better option for the Penguins in the re-draft. Staal is still available at number seven and will go to the Islanders. Staal is one of the league’s best two-way forwards, but has still posted has 384 points on the board in 678 regular-season contests and is the seventh top scorer from the draft. He’s hit the 20-goalmark four times including 29 as a rookie. The Penguins traded him to Carolina in the summer of 2012 after he helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2008-09 and he should reach 20 goals with the Hurricanes for the first time this season as he had 18 goals and 23 assists after 71 games. The Islanders originally took forward Kyle Okposo with the seventh pick, who's been solid, but Staal is better defensively.

23 Phoenix Coyotes - Brian Little 

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Forward Bryan Little may not be as well known as many other 2006 draftees, but he’s been a consistent scorer since the Atlanta Thrashers originally took him with the 12th pick. Little has moved up the rankings due to his fine play and his 385 points in 613 games have him ranked sixth overall in scoring from his draft class. He’s reached the 20-goal mark four times and hit 31 back in the 2008-09 campaign with Atlanta. The Thrashers became the Winnipeg Jets and Little should hit 20 goals once again as he had 17 goals and 25 assists after 57 outings this year. Phoenix originally chose forward Peter Mueller in 2006, but he didn't turn out how they hoped.

22 Minnesota Wild - Steve Mason

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Goaltender Steve Mason originally went in the third round with the 69th overall pick to Columbus in 2006. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 2008-09 with a 33-20-7 record along with 10 shutouts, 2.29 goals-against average, and 91.6 save percentage. His GAA was over 3.00 for the next three seasons and Mason was dealt to Philadelphia in 2012-13. He regained his touch there and posted a 2.50 and 2.25 GAA in first two full seasons after going 1.90 at the end of 2012-13. His current record stands at 168-152-53 in 393 games with a 2.70 GAA and .911 save percentage. The Wild originally drafted center James Sheppard, who scored 91 points in 394 games with Minnesota, San Jose, and the Rangers before heading to Europe.

21 Florida Panthers - Derick Brassard

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Center Derick Brassard originally went sixth to Columbus in 2006 and played almost six seasons there until being traded to the Rangers. He’s slipped to 10th in the re-draft as Florida will take him ahead of fellow forward Michael Frolik, who they originally took with their pick 10 years ago. Brassard has 336 points in 552 games with another 40 in 54 playoff outings. He’s not a big scorer, but he's definitely a solid player. Brassard has cracked the 20-goal mark this year for the first time with a career-high 25 goals in 69 games and is ninth overall in scoring from 2006.

20 Los Angeles Kings - Kyle Okposo

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The Kings chose goaltender Jonathan Bernier 11th in 2006 and while he’s a solid goalie when he’s on his game, he’s been stuck with some brutal teams in front of him in Toronto. This time around they’ll take right-winger Kyle Okposo who went seventh overall to the Islanders a decade ago. He’s still with the Islanders and has 360 points in 517 career games to rank eighth in scoring from 2006. He’s scored at least 24 goals twice and usually hovers around 20 per season. Okposo has 19 this year after 67 games and had 18 last season in 60 outings.

19 Atlanta Thrashers - Semyon Varlamov

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The Thrashers, now the Winnipeg Jets, selected forward Bryan Little in 2006, but he went eight in the re-draft. This time they’ll be taking goaltender Semyon Varlamov with the 12th pick. Varlamov originally went 23rd overall to Washington in the draft, where he played parts of three seasons in the American capital before moving to Colorado. He’s been the top man with the Avalanche ever since and will post his third-straight winning season this year. Varlamov may have has some off-ice issues, but he’s been fine on it with a career record of 161-110-35 with a goals-against average of 2.56, a save percentage of .918 and 20 shutouts.

18 Toronto Maple Leafs - Erik Johnson

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Defenceman Erik Johnson was the first overall pick in 2006 by St. Louis, but he’s slipped all the way to 13th in 2016. He’s still the top-scoring defenceman from the class of 2006 with 217 points in 518 games, but just didn’t live up to his top ranking. Johnson played almost three seasons with the Blues before being dealt to Colorado, where he’s still playing. He averages about 30 points each full season, but is a - 37 for his career. The Leafs originally took defensive-minded forward Jiri Tlusty in 2006, who’s now with the Devils.

17 Vancouver Canucks - Mathieu Perreault

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Mathieu Perreault wasn’t chosen until the sixth round in 2006 when Washington took him 177th overall. He’s 5-foot-10 and underrated, but has shown he can handle the rigors of the NHL with 194 points in just 359 games. Perreault played with Washington until 2013-14 when he joined Anaheim for one season. Perreault has averaged about 15 goals and 40 points in his last three seasons, but in an average of 65 games per year. He’s pretty good in his own end too with a +26 career rating. The Canucks took Michael Grabner in 2006, but Perrault’s been better offensively.

16 Tampa Bay Lightning - Nick Foligno

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Tampa chose Riku Helenius in 2006, but he played a grand total of one NHL game. Given a second chance, they’ll take Nick Foligno, who’s now with Columbus and was chosen 28th by Ottawa. Foligno played five years with the Senators before heading to the Blue Jackets where he wears the "C" on his sweater. Foligno is pretty good in both ends of the rink, but isn’t a natural goalscorer even though he netted 31 goals and 42 assists last season for career highs. . Foligno has 313 points in 613 career contests to rank 10th from the class of 2006 and had 34 points in 61 games this season.

15 San Jose Sharks - Chris Stewart

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Chris Stewart has been a pretty solid NHLer since being drafted 18th overall by Colorado in 2006. He’s moved a couple of rungs up the ladder a decade later as the Sharks will be taking him with the 16th pick after originally selecting defenceman Ty Wishart. Their original choice played just 26 NHL games with Tampa and the Islanders before heading to Europe a few years ago. Stewart played three seasons in Colorado before moving to St. Louis in 2010-11. He was then dealt to Buffalo in 2013-14, spent last season with Minnesota, and is now with Anaheim. Stewart has 282 points in 510 games with his best year being 26 goals and 36 assists in 2009-10 and is 11th overall in scoring from the 2006 draft.

14 Los Angeles Kings - Artem Anisimov

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The Kings took Kyle Okposo in the re-draft with pick number 11 and will choose Artem Anisimov with their second selection of the draft. They originally took Trevor Lewis, who is still with the team and has 88 points in 412 games. Anisimov was taken in the second round by the Rangers with the 54th pick 10 years ago and has averaged close to .5 points per game since. He played three years with the Rangers before moving to Columbus in 2012-13 and joined Chicago last summer. He reached 20 goals for the first time two years ago and has 19 this year after 70 games, as well as 18 assists. Anisimov’s 229 points in 482 games ranks 16th overall from 2006.

13 Colorado Avalanche - Michael Frolik

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Michael Frolik is generally known as a good penalty killer and defensive right-winger, but also has a decent touch around the net. Frolik has 267 points in 570 games to rank 13th in scoring from his draft class. He was originally taken 10th by Florida, so has dropped down the list. Meanwhile, Colorado took Chris Stewart originally in 2006, but he was taken 17th by the Kings in the re-draft just before the Avalanche had a chance to draft. Frolik spent almost three years with Florida and hit 20 goals in each of his first two seasons. Hehad 19 goals last season and has 15 goals and 17 assists this year.

12 Anaheim Ducks - Patrik Berglund

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Anaheim chose defenceman Mark Mitera in 2006 and he never played a shift in the NHL, spending his entire career in the minors. The Ducks will be taking left-winger Patrik Berglund this time. Berglund has racked up a total of 260 points in 545 regular-season games to rank 14th overall in scoring from the 2006 draft. He originally went 25th to St. Louis and he’s still with the Blues. Berglund has hit the 20-goalmark twice and had 19 and 17 once each. He was out of action for four months because of shoulder surgery last year and had 13 points in just 32 games this season.

11 Montreal Canadiens - Nikolai Kulemin

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Left-winger Nikolai Kulemin is the 15th highest scorer from the 2006 draf,t even though he was taken by Toronto in the second round with the 44th pick. He scored 15 and 16 goals in his first two seasons and then hit 30 in his third. He then slumped for his next three seasons before signing as a free agent with the Islanders in the summer of 2014. Kulemin netted 15 goals and 16 assists in his first year with New York, but has just six goals and 10 assists this season. He’s often used as a checking winger, but still has 242 points in 572 games. Montreal originally took defenceman David Fischer a decade ago and he moved to Europe after never playing an NHL game.

10 New York Rangers - Jeff Petry

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The Rangers took defenceman Bobby Sanguinetti in the original draft and he has played just 45 NHL games with the Rangers and Carolina and is now in the minors with the Sabres organization. The Rangers will be taking fellow blue liner Jeff Petry this time around. Petry now plays with Montreal after be chosen in the second round, 45th overall by Edmonton. Petry played just over four seasons with the Oilers before being sent to the Habs. He has 97 points in 365 career games which ranks as the fourth-highest output for defencemen from the draft. However, he has a career mark of-74, which will blame on his time with the Oilers.

9 Philadelphia Flyers - Jamie McGinn

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The Flyers drafted extremely well in 2006 by taking Claude Giroux 22nd overall. He’s long gone in the re-draft as he was snapped up third by Chicago. Instead, Philadelphia will be taking left-winger Jamie McGinn, who was taken 36th overall by San Jose originally. McGinn played close to four seasons with the Sharks before being dealt to Colorado midway through 2011-12. He hit 20 goals that season for the only time, but hit 19 in 2013-14. He started the current campaign with Buffalo and was traded to Anaheim in February. McGinn could hit 20 goals again this season as he had 17 after 71 games. His 159 points in 437 games rank 23rd overall from 2006.

8 Washington Capitals - Cal Clutterbuck

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This is Washington’s second pick of the draft and they originally chose goaltender Seymon Varlamov, who’s now with Colorado. Varlamov was taken 12th in the re-draft by Atlanta while the Capitals grabbed Phil Kessel with their first choice, fourth overall. This leaves right-winger Cal Clutterbuck available. Clutterbuck went to Minnesota in 2006 with the 72nd overall pick. He spent six seasons in the Midwest before joining the Islanders in the summer of 2013. He has 165 points in 562 career games which ranks him 21st in scoring from his draft class. Clutterbuck usually hits double digits in goals with his career high being 19 in a season.

7 Buffalo Sabres - Michael Grabner

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Michael Grabner wasn’t around at number 24 back in 2006 as Vancouver took the winger 14th overall. He may rank 20th overall in scoring from the draft with 170 points in 385 games, but he isn’t helping his cause this year with just 15 points after 68 contests with Toronto. Grabner broke into the NHL in 2009 and played just one year with the Canucks before heading to the Islanders. He played five years in New York and has seasons of 34, 20, and 16 goals before losing his touch. Grabner has 27 goals in his last 166 games, but he’s just 28 years old and has the speed to turn things around next year. Buffalo took defenceman Dennis Persson in 2006 and he spent his North American career in the AHL before going home to play in Sweden.

6 St. Louis Blues - Matt Beleskey 

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The Blues had the first overall pick and took Jonathan Toews in the re-draft rather than their original choice of Erik Johnson. They took forward Patrik Berglund with the 25th pick in 2006, but Anaheim grabbed him 19th in the re-draft. They’ll be taking left-winger Matt Beleskey this time after he originally went in the fourth round to Anaheim with the 112th pick. He stayed with the Ducks until last summer when he signed as a free agent with Boston. Beleskey had a career-high 22 goals last year and had 13 this year after 69 outings. He has 145 points in 398 career games to rank 26th in scoring from the 2006 draft. He also has 17 points in 34 playoff contests.

5 Calgary Flames - Viktor Stalberg

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Calgary will take Left-winger Viktor Stalberg, who went 161st overall to Toronto in the 2006 draft. However, he ranks 25th in scoring from that class with 151 points in 403 games. Stalberg played just one year with the Leafs before moving to Chicago where he played three seasons. He also spent two seasons in Nashville and is now with the Rangers. Stalberg has speed to burn and had a career-best 22 goals and 21 assists in the Windy City in 2011-12. He also won the Stanley Cup with the Hawks in 2012-13 when he had 23 points in 47 regular-season games. The Flames originally selected goaltender Leland Irving with the 26th pick and he played 13 NHL games before heading to Europe.

4 Dallas Stars - Jamie McBain

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Defenceman Jamie McBain is still available for Dallas to take after he went 63rd overall to Carolina in 2006. He spent four seasons with the Hurricanes before moving to Buffalo in 2013-14. McBain patrolled the blue line there for a year before heading to the West Coast and Los Angeles. He has 109 points in 349 career games to rank as the second-highest scoring defenceman from his draft year behind number one overall pick Erik Johnson. The Stars originally selected defenceman Ivan Vishnevskiy in 2006 and he played a grand total of five NHL games before heading to the KHL.

3 Ottawa Senators - Jonathan Bernier

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Maple Leafs’ goaltender Jonathan Bernier has had a rough year, but he’s playing with the NHL’s worst team. He still has three shutouts with a goals-against average 2.92 and a 90.5 save percentage. Bernier was chosen 11th overall by the Kings, where he played just 62 games in LA as Jonathan Quick’s backup in parts of five seasons before being dealt to Toronto in the summer of 2013. Bernier had an excellent first season with the Leafs and a decent second, but has struggled this year. However, when he’s on his game, he’s one of the toughest goalies to beat in the league. Bernier has a career record of 85-86-23 with a GAA of 2.68, a .914 save percentage, and 12 shutouts. Ottawa originally took another good player in 2006 in Nick Foligno, but he went 15th in the re-draft to Tampa.

2 Phoenix Coyotes - Leo Komarov

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The Coyotes are picking for the second time in the draft. They originally took defenceman Chris Summers 10 years ago and he has nine points in 70 NHL games. He’s now in the minors with the New York Rangers organization. They’ll do a lot better this time by taking winger Leo Komarov, who’s currently with the Maple Leafs. Komarov is small and a royal pain to play against as he hits anyone who moves. He’s also added scoring to his repertoire this season with 19 goals and 17 assists in 66 games. Komarov went 180th overall to the Leafs in 2006 and has 71 points in 170 career games. He left the NHL to go back to the KHL in 2013-14, but returned to the Leafs the next year.

1 New Jersey Devils - James Reimer

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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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