10 years after the Sidney Crosby lottery, we revisit the first round of the 2005 draft. Does he still go No. 1 overall? Who would rise and who would fall in a redraft today?
Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the Sidney Crosby draft lottery. We’ve already celebrated by reviewing Sid the Kid’s best career moments. Now it’s time to delve into the 2005 draft. It’s famous for giving us Crosby and Carey Price, two of the best players at their positions this generation. Looking back, though, reveals the 2005 draft class is also memorable for being, well, so forgettable. Drafting Price and other stars such as Anze Kopitar meant navigating a minefield of busts.
A look at 2005’s first round, pick by pick:
1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks
3. Jack Johnson, Carolina Hurricanes
4. Benoit Pouliot, Minnesota Wild
5. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
6. Gilbert Brule, Columbus Blue Jackets
7. Jack Skille, Chicago Blackhawks
8. Devin Setoguchi, San Jose Sharks
9. Brian Lee, Ottawa Senators
10. Luc Bourdon, Vancouver Canucks
11. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
12. Marc Staal, New York Rangers
13. Marek Zagrapan, Buffalo Sabres
14. Sasha Pokulok, Washington Capitals
15. Ryan O’Marra, New York Islanders
16. Alex Bourret, Atlanta Thrashers
17. Martin Hanzal, Phoenix Coyotes
18. Ryan Parent, Nashville Predators
19. Jakub Kindl, Detroit Red Wings
20. Kenndal McArdle, Florida Panthers
21. Tuukka Rask, Toronto Maple Leafs
22. Matt Lashoff, Boston Bruins
23. Niclas Bergfors, New Jersey Devils
24. T.J. Oshie, St. Louis Blues
25. Andrew Cogliano, Edmonton Oilers
26. Matt Pelech, Calgary Flames
27. Joe Finley, Washington Capitals
28. Matt Niskanen, Dallas Stars
29. Steve Downie, Philadelphia Flyers
30. Vladimir Mihalik, Tampa Bay Lightning
Woof. Of that draft class, three first rounders, Zagrapan, Pokulok and Bourret, never played an NHL game. Ten players, or one third, failed to reach 100 NHL games, albeit the late Luc Bourdon would’ve had he not died tragically in a motorcycle accident. The 2005 first round has produced four skaters with at least 300 NHL points. For perspective, the 2004 and 2006 groups each had four 300-point guys in the first five picks alone.
So how about we give the league a do-over on 2005’s first round? The rules: (a) any player from the class’ seven rounds is eligible; (b) draft order stays the same; (c) team needs at the time will be factored in; (d) hindsight is very much 20/20. This is all in good fun.
Here we go.
1. SIDNEY CROSBY, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (no change)
Crosby was the most hyped prospect in years and has delivered on the hype, with a Stanley Cup and countless individual accolades. This pick remains a no-brainer, so let’s not spend too much time on it.
2. ANZE KOPITAR, ANAHEIM DUCKS (+9)
The Ducks are already two years away from winning a Stanley Cup on the strength of centers Andy McDonald and Ryan Getzlaf, so Kopitar doesn’t put them over the top. They’re already there. Instead, he helps the Ducks stay stronger for longer. They win at least one more Cup under coach Randy Carlyle.
3. KRIS LETANG, CAROLINA HURRICANES (+59)
Grabbing all-around stud defenseman Kris Letang cancels out what would’ve been years of fruitless searches for a bona fide No. 1 defenseman before Justin Faulk comes along. The Canes have to pass on Price since, remember, they’ve drafted a kid named Cam Ward in the first round three years prior.
4. CAREY PRICE, MINNESOTA WILD (+1)
The teams above have Marc-Andre Fleury, Jean-Sebastian Giguere and future starter Ward, so Price only climbs one slot in this hypothetical draft. Price gives the Wild a long-term solution in goal instead of years juggling the likes of Dwayne Roloson, Manny Fernandez, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding.
5. JONATHAN QUICK, MONTREAL CANADIENS (+67)
Armed with magical knowledge that Quick delivers as a No. 1, Montreal nabs Quick with coveted Price off the board. The question is: do they still trade Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues years later, or does Quick go instead?
6. PAUL STASTNY, COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (+38)
Desperate to find a center for budding star Rick Nash, GM Doug MacLean ignores his hunch about Gilbert Brule and takes Peter Stastny’s son instead. Paul isn’t a franchise player, but he’s a more than capable pivot for Nash, who has many great years in Columbus – and remains there.
7. JAMES NEAL, CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (+26)
Already armed with Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, the Hawks start looking for scoring up front. They get trigger man James Neal instead of bust Jack Skille. Neal forms a murder’s row of scorers after the Hawks land Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the next couple drafts. Does drafting Neal prevent a Marian Hossa signing, though?
8. KEITH YANDLE, SAN JOSE SHARKS (+97)
By the time Yandle breaks into the NHL, ‘Jumbo’ Joe Thornton is still in his prime and racking up points. Yandle benefits on the San Jose power play and posts some monster seasons, flirting with 70 points. Hey, if he could get 59 with the Coyotes…
9. TUUKKA RASK, OTTAWA SENATORS (+12)
Do the stacked Sens win the Stanley Cup in 2007 with Rask in net instead of Ray Emery? Probably not. Rask isn’t NHL-ready yet, and the alternate universe Ducks have already added Kopitar. But if Rask gets to the NHL by 2008-09, maybe the Sens don’t crumble as quickly…
10. MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC, VANCOUVER CANUCKS (+25)
How does Vlasic affect the 2010-11 Canucks’ Stanley Cup run? Since he’s a relatively late-blooming defensive defenseman, maybe he doesn’t cost too much by 2011, meaning Vancouver still acquires the likes of Christian Ehrhoff and Dan Hamhuis. And since this team reached Game 7 as is, does Vlasic put the Canucks over the top? And save the city from rioting?
11. Marc Staal, Los Angeles Kings (+1): Does he go on to do great things with Drew Doughty, or does L.A. pass on Doughty in 2008 because it has Staal?
12. Bobby Ryan, New York Rangers (-10): New Jersey native makes the Hudson River Rivalry that much more interesting.
13. Anton Stralman, Buffalo Sabres (+203): Advanced stats aren’t yet mainstream, and he’s probably shipped off the sinking Sabres before the general public realizes his value.
14. Niklas Hjalmarsson, Washington Capitals (+94): Not an ideal fit when Bruce Boudreau’s run-and-gun ways come to town.
15. T.J. Oshie, New York Islanders (+9): Does he ride shotgun with John Tavares instead of Kyle Okposo?
16. Ben Bishop, Atlanta Thrashers (+69): At the very least, ‘Big Ben’ saves Ondrej Pavelec from years of abuse.
17. Matt Niskanen, Phoenix Coyotes (+11): No trade to Pittsburgh, no padded stats, no big pay day?
18. Cody Franson, Nashville Predators (+61): The only guy besides Crosby who ends up with his real team.
19. Jack Johnson, Detroit Red Wings (-16): Imagine how much better he becomes learning from Nicklas Lidstrom.
20. Martin Hanzal, Florida Panthers (+3): A big forward who toils in obscurity and doesn’t produce as much offense as expected. He wouldn’t be the first Panther first-rounder to do that.
21. Patric Hornqvist, Toronto Maple Leafs
22. Kris Russell, Boston Bruins
23. Andrew Cogliano, New Jersey Devils
24. Vladimir Sobotka, St. Louis Blues
25. Adam McQuaid, Edmonton Oilers
26. Benoit Pouliot, Calgary Flames
27. Sergei Kostitsyn, Washington Capitals
28. Justin Abdelkader, Dallas Stars
29. Darren Helm, Philadelphia Flyers
30. Mason Raymond, Tampa Bay Lightning
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin