Kane still tops Class of 2007

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 12:00 PM
Corey Masisak  - NHL.com Staff Writer

Note: NHL.com will take a look back at the NHL drafts from five, 10 and 15 years ago this week leading up to the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. How would a redux of those drafts look today?

The 2007 draft was the beginning of an American revolution of sorts -- U.S. kids went 1-2 in the draft for the first time and a record 10 went in the first round, a number that was matched the following year.

Another storyline on draft day was the fall of two prominent prospects. Angelo Esposito was considered the top player in this draft class as a 16-year-old, but his stock fell and he ended up at No. 20 to Pittsburgh. Alexei Cherepanov was the top-rated European prospect and another contender for the No. 1 spot, and he dropped to the New York Rangers at No. 17.

Five years later, Patrick Kane is the undisputed top player from the Class of 2007. Choosing the guy who would go No. 2 could be an interesting discussion, but San Jose's Logan Couture has a pretty strong case.

This draft has not produced a lot of impact players to this point, and there are tiered drop-offs right around the Nos. 10 and 20 picks.

Another theme from this draft -- it was a black hole at goaltender. Granted, it is only five years out and it is a position that takes a long time to develop, but the goalies from the 2007 NHL Draft have combined to play in 12 NHL games -- Allen York had 11 for Columbus this past season and Timo Pielmeier played one for Anaheim in 2010-11.

As a reminder after completing this exercise last June, this draft re-do does involve a fair amount of projection. A lot of these players are not fully developed yet, and this list could look dramatically different two years or five years from now. Looking back at the 2002 and 1997 drafts in the coming days will involve a lot less projection.

So, here's what the 2007 NHL Draft might look like if there was a do-over in June 2012:

1. Patrick Kane (Actual draft position: No. 1)

Skinny: Easy choice here -- the only franchise player to come from this draft

2. Logan Couture (9)

Skinny: Got a later start, but back-to-back outstanding seasons for San Jose

3. Jamie Benn (129)

Skinny: Another guy just getting started, could make many all-star teams with Dallas

4. PK Subban (43)

Skinny: Dynamic and fun to watch, the best defenseman in this class …

5. Ryan McDonagh (12)

Skinny: … unless this guy passes him; both can be No. 1 guys in this League

6. Karl Alzner (5)

Skinny: Two great seasons, lacks offensive upside but can be an elite No. 2 d-man

7. David Perron (26)

Skinny: Could still be the No. 2 guy from this class, but concussion slowed him

8. Max Pacioretty (22)

Skinny: Great season, even without the injury from the year before; top-line forward

9. Kevin Shattenkirk (14)

Skinny: Third wheel in Erik Johnson-Chris Stewart trade -- he's better than both of them

10. James van Riemsdyk (2)

Skinny: Injuries and depth have slowed him; still a top-line power forward in there

11. Wayne Simmonds (61)

Skinny: 28 goals might be high, but could score 20-25 consistently with all kinds of jam

12. Brandon Sutter (11)

Skinny: Can be a top shutdown center with a splash of offense

13. Sam Gagner (6)

Skinny: Had one great week in '11-12, otherwise still not a No. 2 center for a contender

14. Kyle Turris (3)

Skinny: Looked like a bust, but move to Ottawa offers hope he's a late bloomer

15. Jakub Voracek (7)

Skinny: Another guy who benefited from a trade; a solid secondary scorer

16. Carl Hagelin (168)

Skinny: Nice rookie season, and he's really, really, really fast

17. Carl Gunnarsson (194)

Skinny: Several d-men in Toronto make more money, but aren't as solid

18. Brendan Smith (27)

Skinny: Red Wings have taken their time, but could be a top-four d-man next year

19. Alec Martinez (95)

Skinny: No. 6 defenseman on a title winner with some room still to grow

20. Lars Eller (13)

Skinny: Could be a nice long-term fit as Montreal's No. 3 center

21. Justin Falk (110)

Skinny: One of several young rearguards with promise in Minnesota

22. T.J. Galiardi (55)

Skinny: Has three more NHL goals, two less points in one less game than Turris

23. Ian Cole (18)

Skinny: Like Smith, Blues have been patient but talent is there

24. Matt Frattin (99)

Skinny: Scored 27 goals in 36 AHL games, should be full-time in Toronto next year

25. Matt Halischuk (117)

Skinny: Had a 15-goal season for Nashville, but sat for much of the postseason

26. Dwight King (109)

Skinny: One of many unsung postseason heroes for the champs

27. Keaton Ellerby (10)

Skinny: Can still be a second-pair defenseman, but has work to do

28. Nick Spaling (58)

Skinny: Less offense than Halischuk, but has Barry Trotz's trust

29. Mikael Backlund (24)

Skinny: Flames have needed him to be scoring-line center, hasn't been yet

30. Dustin Jeffrey (171)

Skinny: Had some chances, but nothing permanent on team stocked at center

Missing first-round picks: Thomas Hickey (4), Zach Hamill (8), Alex Plante (15), Colton Gillies (16), Alexei Cherepanov (17), Logan MacMillan (19), Angelo Esposito (20), Riley Nash (21), Jonathan Blum (23), Patrick White (25), Nick Petrecki (28), Jim O'Brien (29), Nick Ross (30)

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