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Backdraft 2005: Redoing the top 10 picks from the '05 NHL draft

Pittsburgh selected Sidney Crosby first overall in 2005. Good pick. Montreal snagged Carey Price at No. 5. Another good pick. But the rest of the top 10 is nowhere to be found in the updated version.
USA Today

USA Today

The 2005 NHL draft was all about Sidney Crosby and, yeah, it looks like he’s going to work out just fine. Good pick, Pittsburgh. The rest of the top 10 gets a little dicey, but at least Montreal grabbed Carey Price as a rare goalie drafted early in the first round.

Here’s a look at the original top 10 draft picks in 2005, followed by a redo of the top 10 with the benefit of hockey hindsight.

2005 NHL draft: The original top 10

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
2. Bobby Ryan, Anaheim
3. Jack Johnson, Carolina
4. Benoit Pouliot, Minnesota
5. Carey Price, Montreal
6. Gilbert Brule, Columbus
7. Jack Skille, Chicago
8. Devin Setoguchi, San Jose
9. Brian Lee, Ottawa
10. Luc Bourdon, Vancouver

2005 NHL draft: The top 10 do-over (with original draft position in parentheses)

1. Sidney Crosby (1st, Pittsburgh)
2. Carey Price (5th, Montreal)
3. Anze Kopitar (11th, Los Angeles)
4. Tuukka Rask (21st, Toronto)
5. Jonathan Quick (72nd, Los Angeles)
6. Kris Letang (62nd, Pittsburgh)
7. Ben Bishop (85th, St. Louis)
8. T.J. Oshie (24th, St. Louis)
9. Paul Stastny (44th, Colorado)
10. Patric Hornqvist (230th, Nashville)

Honorable mentions: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (35th, San Jose); Keith Yandle (105th, Phoenix); James Neal (33rd, Dallas); Matt Niskanen (28th, Dallas); Andrew Cogliano (25th, Edmonton).


  • The best then, the best now: Crosby was and remains the No. 1 pick of the 2005 NHL draft. Next question.
  • Magnificent masks: It was a great year for goalies, producing four of the best stoppers of this generation. No netminder has been drafted higher since Price went fifth overall in 2005, and he joins Rask and Quick as potential Hall of Famers. Bishop’s NHL arrival came a little later but he has been dominant across the past six or seven seasons.
  • King of Slovenia: Kopitar, the first-ever Slovenian to be drafted in the first round, has rewarded Los Angeles’ faith in him by moving up from his original No. 11 position to No. 3. Not to mention, much of the Kings’ Stanley Cup success can be attributed to landing Kopitar and Quick in the same draft.
  • When Penguins fly: It was a championship draft for Pittsburgh, too. They scored Crosby at No. 1, then plucked Letang in the third round at 62nd overall. And while they didn’t draft Hornqvist, he’s been a key component of the Pens’ roster for years.
  • Speaking of Hornqvist, Part 1: You’ve probably heard this before but it bears repeating -- Hornqvist was the very last pick of the draft when Nashville nabbed him at 230th overall. Fifteen years later, he ranks sixth in goals (238) and ninth in points (480) among 2005-drafted players.
  • Speaking of Hornqvist, Part 2: You could make a strong case for San Jose’s Vlasic bumping Hornqvist for the No. 10 spot, and thereby accuse me of Hornqvist bias because I just wanted to have the fun of pointing out he was the last player drafted in 2005. If so, you wouldn’t be totally wrong. Vlasic, the Sharks’ ever-defensive defenseman, sits second in NHL games played (1,035) behind only Kopitar (1,073) among 2005-drafted players. Cogliano, it should be noted, ranks third (1,012) ahead of Crosby (984).
  • Two for 10: Everyone in the original top 10 went on to play in the NHL, but it’s safe to say that only Crosby and Price lived up to -- or in their case, wildly exceeded -- expectations. The paths for Ryan and Johnson have been fraught with off-ice peril. Pouliot bounced from seven teams over 10-plus seasons, never reaching 20 goals or 40 points. Brule and Skille failed to deliver on their offensive promise at the NHL level. Setoguchi scored 31 goals in his first full season and never approached that number again. Lee barely played 200 games. And, tragically, Bourdon died in a motorcycle accident in the summer of 2008.


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