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Re-Drafting the Top 20 Picks of the 2003 NHL Draft

Every sport has its great draft classes that have a deep amount of talent and multiple potential Hall of Famers that span over all of the rounds. The NFL had the class of 1983, while the NBA has had great ones such as 1984, 1996 and 2004. It’s hard to pick just one draft class in NHL history that stands out as the best, but the deepest one in recent memory has to be the famed 2003 class.

One thing that analysts like to do is look back at the draft and see how teams would have made their selections if they were given a second chance. Often times, people like to do that too early, not letting the players' careers play out. This draft class though , can really be revised, as all the players are established and we know which teams are still struggling 12 years later. It’s tough for the 2003 NHL Draft Class, because there would have been great names all the way from the top to the bottom in the first round.

To give you an idea of how good the first 20 picks were, here are some of the names that didn’t make it in our re-draft: Nathan Horton, Thomas Vanek, Loui Eriksson, Brian Elliott and Tobias Enstrom. That’s really saying something. So how would GMs change their course of action if they could travel back to 2003? Here are what the first 20 picks of that year’s draft might look like in hindsight.

20 Pittsburgh Penguins - Ryan Getzlaf

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

19 Carolina Hurricanes - Eric Staal

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

18 Florida Panthers - Shea Weber

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

17 Columbus Blue Jackets - Marc-Andre Fleury

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

16 Buffalo Sabres - Corey Perry

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

15 San Jose Sharks - Zach Parise

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

14 Nashville Predators - Brent Seabrook

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

13 Atlanta Thrashers - Corey Crawford

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

12 Calgary Flames - Dustin Byfuglien

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

11 Montreal Canadiens - Patrice Bergeron

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

10 Philadelphia Flyers - Ryan Suter

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

9 New York Rangers - Dion Phaneuf

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

8 Los Angeles Kings - Dustin Brown

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

7 Chicago Blackhawks - Jimmy Howard

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

6 New York Islanders - Mike Richards

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5 San Jose Sharks - Joe Pavelski

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

4 New Jersey Devils - David Backes

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

3 Washington Capitals - Ryan Kesler

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

2 Anaheim Ducks - Jeff Carter

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

1 Minnesota Wild - Jaroslav Halak

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota got some solid production out of Brent Burns, who was their 20th selection in the draft. The Wild did not have a strong goalie rotation at the time, so they would have preferred to have Jaroslav Halak, as Niklas Backstrom would not be signed by the team until 2006. So far in his career, Halak has posted a goalie record of 182-102 with an average goals allowed of 2.39 per game. Halak was named to the 2015 All-Star Game, and won the William M. Jennings Trophy for the lowest GAA during the 2011-12 season.

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Re-Drafting the Top 20 Picks of the 2003 NHL Draft