NHL.com will take a look back at the NHL drafts from five, 10 and 15 years ago this week, leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J. How would a redo of those drafts look today?
In the days leading up to the 2008 NHL Draft, the narrative about the class of prospects came into focus: There was a potential franchise scorer at the top, and a bushel of intriguing defensemen available.
Sure enough, Steven Stamkos was the first pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning, a decision the franchise is unlikely ever to regret. The next four picks were defensemen, and that position provided 12 first-round selections -- including 10 of the first 20 players drafted.
Some of the best young defensemen in the sport came from the 2008 draft, and it's possible it will be remembered as the best class at that position in the history of the League. There are players who still have the potential to join the elite, like Jake Gardiner and Justin Schultz, which would bolster a group that already has at least eight players capable of logging top-pairing minutes and several potential Norris Trophy winners (including Erik Karlsson, who already has won).