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2008 re-draft has Stamkos still on top

by Corey Masisak 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).

Some of the forwards taken immediately after Stamkos haven't worked out as well as might have been hoped. The Class of 2008 also has been a little thin at this point in net -- the Washington Capitals' Braden Holtby is the only clear-cut starter at this point, though there still are high expectations for the Florida Panthers' Jacob Markstrom.

There obviously is some projection for this group considering all of these players still have some level of development left in them, but here's a look at how the Class of 2008 would look if the draft was re-done in the present (actual draft spot in parenthesis):

Note: Players listed on current teams
1 TBL Steven Stamkos, C,
Tampa Bay Lightning (1)
Best goal scorer in the sport and the face of his franchise.
2 LAK Drew Doughty, D,
Los Angeles Kings (2)
Once a Norris finalist, potentially a future multiple-times winner.
3 STL Alex Pietrangelo, D,
St. Louis Blues (4)
Says here he will be a more complete defenseman than the player below him.
4 OTT Eric Karlsson, D,
Ottowa Senators (15)
Norris winner, top offensive blueliner; recovery from injury key.
5 EDM Jordan Eberle, RW,
Edmonton Oilers (23)
Slight, but in discussion for best hands in the League.
6 LAK Slava Voynov, D,
Los Angeles Kings (32)
Aggressive ranking, but a two-way star in the making.
7 WSH John Carlson, D,
Washington Capitals (27)
Already elite on defense, offense could come with more chances.
8 NYR Derek Stepan, C,
New York Rangers (51)
Big year under coach John Tortorella; star-making season coming under new coach Alain Vigneault?
9 BUF Tyler Myers, D,
Buaffalo Sabres (12)
Calder winner in 2010, but slipping down the list since; needs a bounce-back season.
10 NSH Roman Josi, D,
Nashville Predators (38)
Another aggressive rank; looked great at times in 2012-13 next to Shea Weber.
11 WPG Zach Bogosian, D,
Winnipeg Jets (3)
Total package is in there, but can he stay healthy and consistent?
12 WSH Braden Holtby, G,
Washington Capitals (93)
Already a proven playoff performer; next step is becoming a workhorse.
13 NYI Travis Hamonic, D,
New York Islanders (53)
Plays lots on a mediocre defense corps; is it his time to shine now with Mark Streit gone?
14 NYR Michael Del Zotto, D,
New York Rangers (20)
Offense is there, and his minutes rose without Marc Staal; needs consistency.
15 BUF Cody Hodgson, C,
Buffalo Sabres (10)
Canucks draft pick had a strong opening act in Buffalo; is he a No. 1 center or a No. 2?
16 BUF Tyler Ennis, C,
Buffalo Sabres (26)
Tiny but productive; could rise or drop significantly on this list.
17 NYI Josh Bailey, C,
  New York Islanders (9)
Fourth in games played, sixth in points, is he a top-six guy or a tweener?
18 PHI Luke Schenn, D,
Philadelphia Flyers (5)
Not the player he was projected to be when Maple Leafs picked him, but is a useful, physical d-man.
19 MIN Jared Spurgeon, D,
Minnesota Wild (156)
Could settle in as a second-pair player for years in the Twin Cities.
20 FLA Jacob Markstrom, G,
Florida Panthers (31)
Long an elite prospect, his era begins in earnest next season.
21 NJD Adam Henrique, C,
New Jersey Devils (82)
Calder finalist in 2012 had a bit of a sophomore slump in 2012-13.
22 TOR Jake Gardiner, D,
Toronto Maple Leafs (17)
Originally drafted by Anaheim Ducks; went from future star to lost year, but plenty of potential there.
23 EDM Justin Schultz, D,
Edmonton Oilers (43)
Ducks draft pick didn't sign, landed with Oilers and proved to be an offensive dynamo; still needs polish at defensive end.
24 NSH Colin Wilson, C,
Nashville Predators (7)
Feels like there's more offensive potential, but you have to wonder if he'll ever find it.
25 PHX Mikkel Boedker, LW,
Phoenix Coyotes (8)
Speedy, responsible role player has carved a niche with the Coyotes.
26 CBJ Cam Atkinson, RW,
Columbus Blue Jackets (157)
Took the long road, but has shown the ability to score goals at every level.
27 ANA Luca Sbisa, D,
Anaheim Ducks (19)
Steady, unspectacular defenseman originally drafted by Philadelphia who looks like a 4/5 type long term.
28 DET Gustav Nyquist, C,
Detriot Red Wings (121)
Had a strong postseason; has waited his turn, but is a top-six role coming?
29 STL Jake Allen, G,
St. Louis Blues (34)
Looked like a potential No. 1 goalie in a short spell with St. Louis this season.
30 TBL Anders Lindback, G,
Tampa Bay Lightning (207)
Originally picked by Nashville; not the season expected in Tampa, and now has Ben Bishop to compete with.
Missing first-round picks: Nikita Filatov (6), Kyle Beach (11), Colton Teubert (13), Zach Boychuk (14), Joe Colborne (16), Chet Pickard (18), Anton Gustafsson (21), Tyler Cuma (23), Mattias Tedenby (24), Greg Nemisz (25), Viktor Tikhonov (28), Daultan Leveille (29), Tom McCollum (30).


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