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NHL Draft

1998 Redraft: Datsyuk would be No. 1 pick, Lecavalier second

Forward was selected in sixth round by Red Wings

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor will take a look back at the NHL drafts from five, 10 and 20 years ago this week, leading to the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center in Dallas. How would a redo of those drafts look today?

Pavel Datsyuk had been passed over twice when the Detroit Red Wings selected him in the sixth round of the 1998 NHL Draft at Marine Midland Arena in Buffalo.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland long has been lauded for finding a superstar like Datsyuk so late in the draft. But as he always said, if he really was that smart he wouldn't have waited until the sixth round to select him.


[RELATED: Complete NHL Draft Coverage]


In his 14 NHL seasons, Datsyuk became the preeminent two-way forward in the League and helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup twice in three trips to the Final.

But not every player picked that weekend in Buffalo reached lofty status. So with 20 years of hindsight, how would that draft go if the same players were made available today?

Note: Players listed with teams that drafted them; original draft position in parenthesis


1. Pavel Datsyuk, C, Detroit Red Wings (171)

Datsyuk, 39, is one of two players to win the Selke Trophy three consecutive seasons (2008-10), joining Bob Gainey, who won it the first four times the trophy was awarded (1978-81). Datsyuk also won the Lady Byng Trophy four straight times (2006-09). He's third among players from the 1998 draft with 918 points (314 goals, 604 assists), despite being 15th in games played (953). He left the NHL in 2016 and played the past two seasons in his native Russia.

Video: Pavel Datsyuk won Stanley Cup twice with Red Wings

2. Vincent Lecavalier, C, Tampa Bay Lightning (1)

Lecavalier, 38, leads all players from the 1998 draft class in goals (421), points (949) and games played (1,212). He helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in 2004, is Tampa Bay's all-time leader in goals (383) and had his No. 4 retired by the Lightning on Feb. 10. Lecavalier retired after the 2015-16 season.

3. Brad Richards, C, Tampa Bay Lightning (64)

The Lightning drafted Richards, Lecavalier's teammate with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey, in the third round. He led the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 23 games and won the Conn Smythe Trophy. He's second among players drafted in 1998 with 932 points (298 goals, 634 assists). He retired after the 2015-16 season after playing 1,126 games with the Lightning, Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Red Wings.

Video: DET@BUF: Richards opens the scoring on the break

4. Simon Gagne, LW, Philadelphia Flyers (22)

Gagne, 38, scored 291 goals, fourth among players selected in 1998, but his average of 0.35 goals per game is first. He scored more than 40 goals in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and had at least 20 seven times in 14 seasons. He scored the game-winning goal for the Flyers in Game 7 of the second round against the Boston Bruins in 2010 to cap their comeback after trailing 3-0 in the best-of-7 series and helped the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2012. Gagne retired after the 2014-15 season.

5. Andrei Markov, D, Montreal Canadiens (162)

Markov, 39, tops all defensemen in the 1998 draft class in goals (119), assists (453) and points (572) in 16 seasons with the Canadiens. He's second among Canadiens defensemen in points, behind Larry Robinson (883), who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995. Markov played in his native Russia this season.

6. Scott Gomez, C, New Jersey Devils (27)

Gomez, 38, won the Calder Trophy in 1999-2000 after leading rookies with 70 points (19 goals, 51 assists). It was the first of his 16 seasons in the NHL, and his 1,079 games played are seventh among players picked in 1998. He was part of two Stanley Cup championships with the Devils (2000, 2003). Gomez retired after the 2015-16 season and was an assistant with the New York Islanders this season.

7. Alex Tanguay, LW, Colorado Avalanche (12)

Tanguay, 38, retired after the 2015-16 season and is fourth among players from his draft class with 863 points (283 goals, 580 assists). He had 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 23 games to help the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in 2001. He scored 20 goals seven times in 16 seasons.

8. Brian Gionta, RW, New Jersey Devils (82)

Gionta, 39, had seven points (two goals, five assists) in 20 games with the Boston Bruins, his 16th in the NHL. He has seven 20-goal seasons, including a Devils single-season best 48 goals in 2005-06. He helped the Devils win the Stanley Cup in 2003. Gionta's 291 goals are tied with Gagne for fourth among players in the 1998 draft.

9. Mike Fisher, C, Ottawa Senators (44)

Fisher, 39, came out of retirement to rejoin the Nashville Predators in January and had four points (two goals, two assists) in 16 regular-season games and one goal in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He retired again after the Predators lost in the second round of the playoffs after playing 1,104 games, fourth among players in his draft class.

Video: NYI@NSH: Fisher slams home a nice dish from Wilson

10. Erik Cole, LW, Carolina Hurricanes (71)

Cole, 39, is best remembered for returning three months after fracturing a vertebrae in his neck to play the final two games for the Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final and helping them win the championship. He retired after the 2014-15 season and is eighth in goals among players drafted in 1998 with 265.

11. Francois Beauchemin, D, Montreal Canadiens (75)

Beauchemin, 38, had 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) in 67 games with the Anaheim Ducks this season, his 14th in the NHL. He helped the Ducks win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and is fourth among defensemen from the 1998 draft with 288 points (76 goals, 212 assists) and 903 games played.

12. David Legwand, C, Nashville Predators (2)

Legwand, 37, was a durable bottom-six forward for 17 seasons with the Predators, Red Wings, Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres. He scored at least 15 goals seven times and had 20 goals twice. Legwand is second among players picked in 1998 with 1,136 games, and his 618 points are seventh (228 goals, 390 assists). He last played in the NHL in 2015-16 and was an associate coach with Sarnia in the Ontario Hockey League this season.

Video: BUF@CBJ: Legwand scores from in his own zone

13. Mike Ribeiro, C, Montreal Canadiens (45)

Ribeiro, 38, played in the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, when he had his best NHL season with 83 points (27 goals, 56 assists) in 76 games with the Dallas Stars. He last played in 2016-17 and is fifth among players picked in 1998 with 793 points (228 goals, 565 points).

14. Manny Malhotra, C, New York Rangers (7)

Malhotra, 38, stepped into the Rangers lineup immediately and had 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 73 games in 1998-99. He spent 16 NHL seasons as a dependable penalty killer and face-off specialist with seven teams (Rangers, Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Hurricanes and Canadiens). Malhotra's 56.4 winning percentage is first among players from the 1998 draft class to take at least 500 face-offs. He last played in the NHL in 2014-15 and was an assistant for the Canucks this season.

15. Michael Ryder, RW, Montreal Canadiens (216)

An eighth-round pick, Ryder, 38, climbed from the ECHL to reach the NHL in 2003-04 and finish second in voting for the Calder Trophy with an NHL rookie-best 63 points (25 goals, 38 assists). He scored at least 20 goals five times and helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011. He last played in the NHL in 2014-15.

16. Jaroslav Spacek, D, Florida Panthers (117)

Spacek, 44, was selected by the Panthers in the fifth round at age 24 and stepped into their lineup in 1998-99. He reached 40 points three times and had at least 10 goals twice. His 355 points (82 goals, 273 assists) are second among defensemen from the 1998 draft class.

17. Rob Scuderi, D, Pittsburgh Penguins (134)

Scuderi, 39, was a solid defensive presence for Stanley Cup championship teams with the Penguins in 2009 and the Kings in 2012. His 1,174 blocked shots are third among players drafted in 1998, behind Beauchemin (1,686) and Markov (1,203).

18. Robyn Regehr, D, Colorado Avalanche (19)

Regehr, 38, was selected by the Avalanche but was part of a trade to the Calgary Flames for Theo Fleury on Feb. 28, 1999. He helped the Flames reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2004 and was part of the Kings' championship team in 2014. Regehr retired after 15 seasons in 2014-15, and his 1,590 hits are third among players in his draft class.

19. Jonathan Cheechoo, RW, San Jose Sharks (29)

Cheechoo, 37, won the Rocket Richard Trophy with 56 goals in 2005-06, and he scored 37 goals the following season. He last played in the NHL in 2009-10, but his 0.34 goals per game average is third among players picked in 1998.

20. Brad Stuart, D, San Jose Sharks (3)

Stuart, 38, was acquired by the Red Wings late in the 2007-08 season and helped them win the Stanley Cup. He played 1,056 games, second among defensemen picked in 1998, and his 335 points are third (80 goals, 255 assists).

21. Karlis Skrastins, D, Nashville Predators (230)

Skrastins was a ninth-round pick who reached the NHL in 1998-99 at age 24. He played at least 80 games six times in 12 seasons and last played in the NHL in 2010-11. He was 37 when he died in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash in 2011.

22. Mike Rupp, LW, New York Islanders (8)

Rupp, 38, was selected by the Islanders but never signed with them, and the Devils picked him in the third round (No. 76) of the 2000 NHL Draft. He scored the winning goal and had two assists for the Devils in their 3-0 win against the Ducks in Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final. He last played in the NHL in 2013-14.

23. Chris Neil, RW, Ottawa Senators (161)

Neil, 38, played his entire 15-season NHL career with the Senators. He had 250 points (112 goals, 138 assists) in 1,026 games, third-most in Senators history. His 2,522 penalty minutes are 20th in NHL history, and most among players in the 1998 draft.

Video: The crew discusses Chris Neil's retirement

24. Shawn Horcoff, C, Edmonton Oilers (99)

Horcoff, 39, had a personal NHL-best 73 points (22 goals, 51 assists) in 2005-06 and had 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 24 games to help the Oilers reach the Cup Final. He last played in the NHL in 2015-16 and has been director of player development for the Red Wings the past two seasons.

25. Jiri Fischer, D, Detroit Red Wings (25)

Fischer, 37, played his last game Nov. 19, 2005, because of a heart issue. It came right as he was developing into a player Detroit hoped would serve as a future building block. He's been the Red Wings director of player development since 2007 and was the general manager for his native Czech Republic for the 2018 IIHF World Championship.

26. Ales Kotalik, RW, Buffalo Sabres (164)

Kotalik, 39, had at least 15 goals six times in nine NHL seasons, topped by 25 in 2005-06 with the Sabres. He also helped his native Czech Republic win a bronze medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics. He last played in the NHL in 2010-11, and after three additional seasons playing in the Czech Republic, he is assistant GM of Ceske Budjovice in the Czech Republic's second division.

27. Nik Antropov, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (10)

Antropov, 38, played nine of his 13 seasons with the Maple Leafs, and had a personal NHL-best 59 points (28 goals, 31 assists) in 2008-09. He last played in the NHL in 2012-13 and retired after playing two seasons in Russia.

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