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NHL Draft

2006 Redraft: Toews selected No. 1

Lucic, Marchand, Varlamov move into top 10

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor will take a look back at the NHL drafts from five, 10 and 25 years ago this week, leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft at First Niagara Center in Buffalo. How would a redo of those drafts look today?

Heading into the 2006 NHL Draft, Dale Tallon, then general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, knew exactly which player he wanted.

But with the No. 3 pick of the first round, he wasn't sure University of North Dakota freshman center Jonathan Toews would still be available.

Video: We turn back the clock to the 2006 NHL Draft

"We wanted Toews the whole time," Tallon told the Chicago Tribune in 2015. "Of all the drafts I've been at, I had a sleepless night because I was worried he was going to go first or second. I don't know what we would have done if Toews hadn't been there. He was our guy."

Toews has been the leader of three Stanley Cup championship teams and the face of the franchise since he arrived with the Blackhawks.

Not every player picked that weekend at Rogers Arena in Vancouver has reached that lofty status. So with 10 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. Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago Blackhawks (3)

Toews was so respected he was made captain at age 20, the start of his second season. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2010 and the Selke Trophy in 2013. He also has two Olympic gold medals and was named the Best Forward at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Toews' 251 goals are second among players picked in 2006, and he is considered one of the top two-way players in the League.

2. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Washington Capitals (4)

In nine seasons, Backstrom has become the perfect setup man for Alex Ovechkin; he's assisted on 196 of Ovechkin's League-best 427 goals since 2007 (45.9 percent), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Backstrom's 477 assists and 642 points are the most of any player picked in 2006.

3. Claude Giroux, C, Philadelphia Flyers (22)

No player in the League has more than Giroux's 443 points since the start of the 2010-11 season. He's also been nearly a point-per-game player during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with 62 points in 63 games. He plays in all situations for the Flyers and is an emotional leader.

4. Phil Kessel, RW, Pittsburgh Penguins (5)

Drafted by the Boston Bruins, Kessel scored at least 30 goals five times in 10 seasons with the Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Penguins, including 37 goals in 2011-12 and 2013-14. He led Pittsburgh with 10 goals and 22 points during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. His 273 goals are the most by any player in the 2006 draft class, and his 579 points are second.

5. Jordan Staal, C, Carolina Hurricanes (2)

Drafted by the Penguins, Staal helped Pittsburgh win the Stanley Cup in 2009 as a shut-down third-line center. He was a Calder Trophy finalist in 2007 after scoring a career-high 29 goals. He's scored at least 20 goals five times in 10 seasons with the Penguins and Hurricanes.

6. Milan Lucic, LW, Los Angeles Kings (50)

The second-round pick helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011 when he had personal NHL-bests of 30 goals and 62 points. In nine seasons with the Bruins and Kings, Lucic has mixed nasty, physical play with hands skilled enough that he's scored at least 20 goals four times.

7. Brad Marchand, LW, Boston Bruins (71)

The third-round pick became a full-time NHL player in 2010-11 and established himself as an undersized complementary scorer and an out-sized pest. This season he stepped into a top offensive role and scored 37 goals, sixth-most in the League and tied with Kessel for the most goals in a season by a 2006 draft pick.

8. Bryan Little, C, Winnipeg Jets (12)

Drafted when the franchise was the Atlanta Thrashers, he had his best season in 2008-09, his first full NHL season, when he had 31 goals in 79 games. He's scored at least 20 goals in three of the past four 82-game seasons, and he's been durable. Until 2015-16, when injuries limited him to 57 games, Little had missed 29 games in the seven previous seasons combined. He ranks in the top seven in the draft class in goals and points.

9. Derick Brassard, C, New York Rangers (6)

Brassard was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets and, after parts of six seasons, was traded to the Rangers on April 3, 2013 for Marian Gaborik. Brassard has blossomed into a top-six center in three full seasons with the Rangers, topped by his personal NHL-best 27 goals this season. He also won more than 50 percent of his faceoffs for the first time in 2015-16. He's been a reliable playoff performer with 44 points and a 52.04 shot attempts-for percentage in 59 games.

10. Semyon Varlamov, G, Colorado Avalanche (23)

Varlamov was drafted by the Washington Capitals and, after parts of three seasons, was traded to the Avalanche prior to the 2011-12 season. His best season was 2013-14 when he was second in voting for the Vezina Trophy, had a League-high 41 wins, and a .927 save percentage despite facing a League-high 2,013 shots. His NHL career .917 save percentage is the best among goalies drafted in 2006 to play at least 10 games.

11. Kyle Okposo, RW, New York Islanders (7)

Okposo has developed into a strong sidekick for Islanders captain John Tavares and has scored at least 22 goals in three of the past four 82-game seasons. He ranks in the top 10 in the 2006 draft class in goals (139) and points (369).

12. Erik Johnson, D, Colorado Avalanche (1)

Johnson was drafted by the St. Louis Blues and, after parts of three seasons, was traded to the Avalanche during the 2010-11 season. He's grown into a cornerstone player for the Avalanche, scoring at least 10 goals in each of the past two seasons. He also helped the United States win the silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. His 59 goals and 220 points make him the leading offensive performer among defensemen selected in 2006.

13. Patrik Berglund, C, St. Louis Blues (25)

Until offseason shoulder surgery kept Berglund out until January, he had been a solid, durable contributor in his eight NHL seasons; Berglund missed 27 games in his first seven seasons. He's scored 20 goals twice and helped Sweden win the silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

14. Nick Foligno, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets (28)

One of the Blue Jackets' better trades was acquiring Foligno from the Ottawa Senators, who had drafted him, for defenseman Marc Methot in July 2012. Foligno scored 31 goals in 2014-15 and played in his first NHL All-Star Game, and was named captain for Columbus prior to the start of this season.

15. Steve Mason, G, Philadelphia Flyers (69)

Mason, a third-round pick of the Blue Jackets, won the Calder Trophy and was a Vezina Trophy finalist with Columbus in 2009. But he struggled to regain that level in the four ensuing seasons and was traded to the Flyers on April 3, 2013, and the move has allowed him to get his career back on track. Among goalies to play at least 75 games the past two seasons, Mason's .936 even-strength save percentage is second in the League (Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, .941).

16. James Reimer, G, San Jose Sharks (99)

A fourth-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Reimer emerged as a full-time NHL player in 2010-11 with 20 wins in 35 games, and led Toronto to the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons in 2012-13. Traded to the Sharks on Feb. 27, he had a 1.62 goals-against average in eight games to help in their push for a spot in the playoffs.

17. Artem Anisimov, C, Chicago Blackhawks (54)

A second-round pick by the Rangers, Anisimov centered arguably the best line in hockey this season with the Blackhawks, flanked by Art Ross Trophy winner Patrick Kane and Calder Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin. Anisimov scored 20 goals, his second season in the past three with at least 20.

18. Leo Komarov, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs (180)

This season, Komarov scored a career-high 19 goals and played in the 2016 NHL All-Star Game. He's also a physical presence; Komarov's NHL career average of 4.1 hits per game is second in the League among players since 2012-13 with at least 150 games played (Matt Martin, New York Islanders, 4.7).

19. Michael Grabner, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (14)

Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks, Grabner was with the Islanders, his third team, when he scored 34 goals and was a Calder Trophy finalist in 2010-11. He scored 20 goals the following season but hasn't produced at the same rate since. Instead, Grabner used his blazing speed to become a solid penalty killer. He had nine goals in 80 games this season, his first with the Maple Leafs.

20. Michal Neuvirth, G, Philadelphia Flyers (34)

A second-round pick by the Capitals, Neuvirth had his best season in 2015-16, the first with the Flyers. Among goalies to play at least 30 games, Neuvirth's .924 save percentage was fourth in the League and his 2.27 GAA was eighth. Injuries are a reason he's played more than 40 games once in the NHL, but Neuvirth said he plans on changing his offseason training in hopes of staying healthy next season.

21. Matt Beleskey, LW, Boston Bruins (112)

A fourth-round pick of the Ducks, Beleskey had an career-high 22 goals in 2014-15 with Anaheim and followed that with 15 goals and a career-high 37 points this season, his first with the Bruins.

22. Nikolay Kulemin, LW, New York Islanders (44)

A second-round pick of the Maple Leafs, Kulemin's best season was in 2010-11 when he had 30 goals and 57 points for Toronto. He hasn't approached that level since, but has been a dependable performer the past two seasons with the Islanders, playing 163 of 164 regular-season games, and 18 games in the playoffs.

23. Cal Clutterbuck, RW, New York Islanders (72)

A third-round pick of the Minnesota Wild, Clutterbuck has established himself as a physical, energy player during his nine NHL seasons with the Wild and Islanders. He had 15 goals in 77 games this season, and formed arguably the Islanders' most consistent line with center Casey Cizikas and left wing Matt Martin.

24. Michal Frolik, RW, Calgary Flames (10)

Frolik was drafted by the Florida Panthers and started his NHL career with back-to-back 20-goal seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10. After a few bumps in the road, he helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2013 and has scored at least 15 goals in each of the past three seasons, including 15 this season, his first with the Flames.

25. Chris Stewart, RW, Anaheim Ducks (18)

Stewart is playing for his fifth team after being drafted by the Avalanche. He had consecutive 28-goal seasons for Colorado in 2009-10 and 2010-11, but hasn't gotten back to that level since. At 6-foot-2 and 231 pounds he remains a physical presence, and played well this season with Ducks top-line center Ryan Getzlaf, showing he can raise his game when skating with high-end players.

26. Mathieu Perreault, C, Winnipeg Jets (177)

A sixth-round pick of the Capitals, Perreault had consecutive 18-goal seasons with the Ducks and Jets in 2013-14 and 2014-15, but dipped to nine goals this season. He is a speedy, versatile forward who has a career shot-attempts percentage of 55.2 in 361 games.

27. Trevor Lewis, C, Los Angeles Kings (17)

Lewis has been a fourth-line center on two Stanley Cup championship teams for the Kings in 2012 and 2014. After scoring 18 goals in his first six seasons, he has 17 in the past two. He's also one of Los Angeles' top penalty-killing forwards.

28. Jamie McGinn, LW, Anaheim Ducks (36)

A second-round pick of the Sharks, McGinn had his best offensive season in 2015-16. He scored 14 goals in 63 games with the Buffalo Sabres, and had eight goals, including two game-winners, in 21 games with the Ducks, who acquired him before the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline.

29. Andrew MacDonald, D, Philadelphia Flyers (160)

A sixth-round pick by the Islanders, MacDonald has developed into a dependable, stay-at-home defender. Since becoming a full-time NHL player in 2010-11, his 2.5 blocked shots per game is tied for third among players with at least 350 games. Despite playing 28 games with the Flyers this season he averaged a team-best 2.6 blocked shots per game.

30. Viktor Stalberg, LW, New York Rangers (161)

A sixth-round pick of the Maple Leafs, Stalberg scored 22 goals with the Blackhawks in 2011-12 and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2013. He was a dependable bottom-six forward and penalty killer in 75 games with the Rangers this season.

Missing first-round picks: Peter Mueller, Arizona Coyotes (8); James Sheppard, Minnesota Wild (9); Jonathan Bernier, Los Angeles Kings (11); Jiri Tlusty, Toronto Maple Leafs (13); Riku Helenius, Tampa Bay Lightning (15); Ty Wishart, San Jose Sharks (16); Mark Mitera, Anaheim Ducks (19); David Fischer, Montreal Canadiens (20); Bobby Sanguinetti, New York Rangers (21); Dennis Persson, Buffalo Sabres (24), Leland Irving, Calgary Flames (26); Ivan Vishnevskiy, Dallas Stars (27); Chris Summers, Arizona Coyotes (29); Matthew Corrente, New Jersey Devils (30).

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