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NHL Draft

1997 Redraft: Joe Thornton of Sharks remains No. 1

Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell of Blackhawks climb into top five

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com will take a look back at the NHL drafts from five, 10 and 20 years ago this week, leading to the 2017 NHL Draft at United Center in Chicago. How would a redo of those drafts look today?

For the past 12 seasons, the San Jose Sharks have been the biggest winner of the 1997 NHL Draft, which was held at Civic Arena in Pittsburgh.

They selected forward Patrick Marleau at No. 2, and on Nov. 30, 2005, they acquired Joe Thornton, the No. 1 pick, in a trade with the Boston Bruins.

 

[RELATED: Complete NHL Draft coverage]

 

In 927 regular-season games since the trade, no team has more wins than the Sharks' 539. They've reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 11 of the past 12 seasons and advanced to the Final in 2016.

Thornton and Marleau each have played more than 1,000 games and have more than 1,000 points. They'll be 38 years old when next season starts and can become unrestricted free agents July 1, but they remain key contributors.

"Guys like that aren't growing on trees," Sharks defenseman Brent Burns told ESPN.com. "Both those guys; you hear about the age stuff, those guys are both in great shape. Every day they put the work in. They're elite players. Age doesn't matter."

Not every player picked that weekend in Pittsburgh has reached that 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 current teams; original draft position in parenthesis

1. Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks (1)
Thornton continued his march up the NHL's all-time leaderboard this season. He became the 13th NHL player with 1,000 assists March 6 and finished the season with 1,391 points, tied with Brett Hull for 22nd all-time. He had 50 points (seven goals, 43 assists) in 79 games; another 50 points would put him on the precipice of the top 15 in NHL history. Thornton had surgery April 24 to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee but said he plans to play next season.

 

2. Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks (12)
In his 19th NHL season, Hossa, 38, remained a top-line, 200-foot threat. He scored 26 goals, including the 500th of his career on Oct. 18, and he is plus-245 for his career, second-best among active players behind Jaromir Jagr (plus-316). Hossa's 525 goals are the most of any player selected in 1997 and 34th all-time in NHL history. His 1,134 points are second to Thornton in the 1997 draft class.

 

3. Roberto Luongo, G, Florida Panthers (4)
Luongo, 38, is fifth on the NHL's all-time list for wins by a goaltender with 453, one behind Curtis Joseph. He is 34 games from joining Martin Brodeur (1,266) and Patrick Roy (1,029) as the only NHL goalies to play 1,000 games. He's been a Vezina Trophy finalist three times, played in the NHL All-Star Game four times and helped the Vancouver Canucks reach Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

 

4. Patrick Marleau, LW, San Jose Sharks (2)
Marleau, 37, became the 45th NHL player with 500 goals when he scored against the Canucks on Feb. 2. He's spent his entire 19-season NHL career with the Sharks and is their all-time leader in games (1,493), goals (508) and points (1,082). His 27 goals this season were his most since 2013-14, and he played every game for the eighth straight season.

 

5. Brian Campbell, D, Chicago Blackhawks (156)
Campbell, 38, returned to the Blackhawks this season in a reduced role, but had 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) while averaging 18:25 of ice time in 80 games. He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010 and has played in the NHL All-Star Game four times. He leads all defensemen picked in 1997 in points (504) and games played (1,082), and his 87 goals are second to Joe Corvo (92).

6. Olli Jokinen, C, retired (3)
Selected by the Los Angeles Kings, Jokinen, 38, played 17 seasons with 10 teams, finishing with the St. Louis Blues in 2014-15. The most productive part of his career was his seven seasons (2000-08) with the Florida Panthers, when he scored 30 or more goals four times and had an NHL career-best 91 points (39 goals, 52 points) in 2006-07. He's fourth among players in the 1997 draft class in games played (1,231), goals (321) and points (750).

 

7. Brenden Morrow, LW, retired (25)
Morrow, 38, spent 13 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Dallas Stars. He scored at least 20 goals seven times and 30 goals twice. Morrow finished his career by helping the Tampa Bay Lightning reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2015. He played 991 games, and his 265 goals and 575 points are fifth among players picked in 1997.

8. Jason Chimera, LW, New York Islanders (121)
Chimera, 38, scored 20 goals for the second straight season and played all 82 games for the third time in four seasons. A fifth-round pick by the Edmonton Oilers, he didn't become a full-time NHL player until 2002-03, but played his 1,000th NHL game Feb. 3. Long considered one of the best skaters in the League, he has 402 points (183 goals, 219 assists) in 1,033 games with the Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals and Islanders

9. Daniel Cleary, RW, Grand Rapids (AHL) (13)
Cleary, 38, was a practice player and mentor for Grand Rapids, the Detroit Red Wings' American Hockey League affiliate, this season. He never got into a game but celebrated with his teammates when they won the Calder Cup on Tuesday. Cleary played the last 10 of his 17 NHL seasons with the Red Wings, scoring 20 goals three times and helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2008. He played his last NHL game in 2014-15, and had 387 points (165 goals, 222 assists) in 938 games.

10. Sergei Samsonov, LW, retired (8)
Samsonov, 38, was the Bruins' second first-round pick in 1997 and had a better start to his career than Thornton, winning the Calder Trophy in 1998. He scored at least 20 goals four times in his first five seasons, including 29 in 2000-01 and in 2001-02. He played for five other teams before retiring after the 2010-11 season sixth in goals (235) and points (571) among players drafted in 1997.

 

11. Kristian Huselius, LW, retired (47)
A second-round pick by the Panthers, Huselius came to the NHL at age 23 in 2001-02 and finished third in Calder Trophy voting after he had 45 points (23 goals, 22 assists) in 79 games. His best season was with the Calgary Flames in 2006-07, when he had 77 points (34 goals, 43 assists) in 81 games. He scored 20 or more goals seven times in 10 seasons and finished his NHL career with 451 points (190 goals, 261 assists) in 662 games.

12. Maxim Afinogenov, RW, Vityaz (KHL) (69)
Afinogenov, 37, spent nine of his 10 NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, scoring 20 goals four times. He finished with 60 or more points three times, and had 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists) with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009-10. Afinogenov had 395 points (158 goals, 237 assists) in 651 games. He's spent the past seven seasons in his native Russia and is signed through next season with Vityaz.

13. Eric Brewer, D, retired (5)
A steady, defensive-minded defenseman for six teams during 17 NHL seasons, Brewer, 38, had 271 points (77 goals, 194 assists) in 1,009 games. He also won gold medals playing for Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, the 2004 World Cup and the IIHF World Championship in 2003, 2004 and 2007.

14. Joe Corvo, D, retired (83)
Corvo reached the NHL during the 2002-03 season and started shooting pretty much right away. During his 11-season career (2002-14), his 1,547 shots on goal were eighth-most among defensemen. He had four seasons with at least 10 goals and his 92 goals in 708 games are the most of any defenseman in the 1997 draft.

15. Scott Hannan, D, retired (23)
Hannan was a physical, reliable defensive presence for 16 seasons with five teams, including 11 seasons with the Sharks. He finished his NHL career in 2014-15 with 217 points (38 goals, 179 assists) in 1,055 games, second-most of any defenseman drafted in 1997. He also helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2004 World Cup and a silver medal at the 2005 IIHF World Championship. 

16. Matt Cooke, LW, retired (144)
Cooke, 38, played for four teams in 16 NHL seasons. The most productive part of his career was his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2008-13), when he averaged 13 goals and 30 points and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2009. He finished his career with the Minnesota Wild in 2014-15 and retired with 398 points (167 goals, 231 assists) in 1,046 games.

17. Andrew Ference, D, inactive (208)
Ference, 38, was an eighth-round pick by the Penguins but didn't establish himself as a full-time NHL player until 2003-04 with the Flames when he helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final. He then became a key part of the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup championship team. Ference signed with the Oilers in 2013 but a hip injury sustained during the 2015-16 season likely has ended his career. He had 225 points (43 goals, 182 assists) in 907 games.

18. Shawn Thornton, LW, retired (190)
Thornton, 39, had four points (two goals, two assists) in 50 games with the Panthers this season, his 14th and final one in the League. He won the Stanley Cup twice, with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 and the Bruins in 2011. His best offensive season was 2010-11, when he had 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 79 games. Thornton's job wasn't to score as much as it was to be a physical presence and protect his teammates. He finished with 102 points (42 goals, 60 assists) and 1,103 penalty minutes in 705 games. 

19. Kyle Calder, LW, retired (130)
Calder, 38, spent six of his 10 NHL seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, and had back-to-back 20-goal seasons in 2003-04 and 2004-05. He also played for the Philadelphia Flyers, Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Ducks. He had 294 points (114 goals, 180 assists) in 590 games.

20. Ladislav Nagy, LW, Kosice (SVK) (177)
Nagy, 38, scored at least 20 goals three times in nine NHL seasons with the Blues, Phoenix Coyotes, Stars and Kings. He's played in Europe since leaving the League in 2008 and had 61 points (29 goals, 32 assists) as captain of Kosice in his native Slovakia this season. He is expected to play for them again next season.

21. Mike York, LW, retired (136)
York, 39, had 50 points (26 goals, 24 assists) with the New York Rangers and was third in Calder Trophy voting in 1999-2000. He had two more 20-goal seasons and finished his NHL career with 322 points (127 goals, 195 assists) in 579 games. York continued to play after leaving the NHL, spending time in the AHL, Finland and Germany before retiring after the 2015-16 season.

22. Scott Clemmensen, G, retired (215)
Clemmensen, 39, never played more than 13 games in any of his first five NHL seasons, most of them as Martin Brodeur's backup with the New Jersey Devils. But when Brodeur tore his biceps during the 2008-09 season, Clemmensen finished in the top 10 in the League with a 2.39 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. He had a solid run after that with the Panthers and finished his NHL career 73-59-24 with 25 shutouts in 191 games (137 starts).

23. Henrik Tallinder, D, TPS (FIN) (48)
Tallinder, 39, was a key part of the Buffalo Sabres' defense when they reached the Eastern Conference Final in 2006 and 2007. A durable, defensive-minded player, he had 142 points (28 goals, 114 assists) in 678 games with the Sabres and Devils. Since leaving the League in 2014 he's played in Europe. He had 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) this season with TPS and is signed through next season.

24. Antti Laaksonen, LW, retired (191)
Laaksonen was 24 when he was selected in the eighth round by the Bruins. His best NHL seasons were the four he spent with the Minnesota Wild (2000-04), where he was a dependable complementary scorer and penalty-killer who helped them reach the 2003 Western Conference Final. Laaksonen, 43, had 168 points (81 goals, 87 assists) in 483 games during eight NHL seasons.

25. Paul Mara, D, retired (7)
Mara, 37, used his big frame (6-foot-4, 211 pounds) to success on the offensive end. His best season was 2005-06, when he had 47 points (15 goals, 32 assists) in 78 games with the Phoenix Coyotes. His 64 goals in 734 NHL games are fourth among defenseman drafted in 1997.

 

26. Nick Boynton, D, retired (9)
Boynton, 38, was selected by the Washington Capitals in the first round in 1997 but never signed, and the Bruins made him the 21st pick of the 1999 draft. He played 11 seasons with six teams and won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010. Boynton had three seasons with at least 20 points and retired after the 2010-11 season with 144 points (34 goals, 110 assists) in 605 games.

Missing first-round picks: Daniel Tkaczuk, Calgary Flames (6); Brad Ference, Vancouver Canucks (10); Jason Ward, Montreal Canadiens (11); Michel Riesen, Edmonton Oilers (14); Matt Zultek, Los Angeles Kings (15); Ty Jones, Chicago Blackhawks (16); Robert Dome, Pittsburgh Penguins (17); Michael Holmqvist, Anaheim Ducks (18); Stefan Cherneski, New York Rangers (19); Mike Brown, Florida Panthers (20); Mika Noronen, Buffalo Sabres (21); Nikos Tselios, Carolina Hurricanes (22); Jean-Francois Damphousse, New Jersey Devils (24); Kevin Grimes, Colorado Avalanche (26)

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