Erik Karlsson Among The NHL’s Elite In 2008 Re-Draft

Two days ago, I looked at the 2010 NHL draft and did my best to “re-draft” a very strong draft class in terms of depth.

Mark Stone’s rookie season has him looking like a top 10 pick from that draft, and looking back at the ’08 draft class that took place in Ottawa, Sens pick, Erik Karlsson is clearly among the elite.

The top 10:

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Steven Stamkos easily takes the cake here. He’s held over a PPG average and as a 25-year-old, he’s set to hit the 500 point mark very soon. Stamkos isn’t contested with as he remains one of the league’s best players.

Close, or maybe not so close behind him is Drew Doughty. Doughty, along with rank #3 player, Erik Karlsson and 2007 draftee, P.K. Subban are up for this seasons Norris trophy. The Norris is an award that has not graced the hands of L.A’s dynamic defender, but I have a feeling that two stanley cups make up for the lack of a Norris. Doughty has remained one of the league’s top defenders, not being a product of L.A’s success, but he himself being a major contributing factor the success in Los Angeles over the past 5 seasons.

At no. 3 is Erik Karlsson, Ottawa’s very own. Karlsson has been the league’s best offensive defender for quite some time, leading to a Norris nod of his own as a 22-year-old. It is an absolute treat to watch him frequently as a Senators’ fan. Just behind Karlsson is Alex Pietrangelo, a defender in St. Louis who hasn’t seen the success like Doughty or Karlsson, but remains among the league’s best. Pietrangelo and Doughty were considered top prospects in the 08 class, with Karlsson rising and even being a surprise pick at 15.

In terms of the 08 draft class, defence is the big story here as 4 of the top 5 on this re-draft list are elite defenders in today’s game.

Moving down the list just emphasizes how impressive of a class this one is. I went hard in putting Roman Josi at #5, just ahead of Jordan Eberle. Josi perhaps hasn’t been recognized as much as the 3 ahead of him, but Josi just put up a season worthy of a Norris trophy.

John Carlson at 7th overall rounds out the crew of high-end defenders as Washington’s two picks in Carlson and Holtby (8th in re-draft) have proven to be franchise pieces. Rounding out the top 10 is Derek Stepan and Gustav Nyquist, as New York and Detroit found themselves fantastic pieces later on in the draft.

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Here’s how I saw the rest of the draft playing out. A lot of these are interchangeable, certainly the defenders around the 20-25 spot such as Justin Schultz, Jake Gardiner, and Marco Scandella.

Looking back at the 2008 draft class, it really has been one of the elite classes in recent memory. The depth on D mixed with high end talent is something you don’t see every draft class, and you see it here.

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A name I threw in at the bottom as Michael Del Zotto, who two years ago would have been much higher on this list. Del Zotto started having struggles in New York last season, leading him to be shipped off to Nashville where he was non-tendered in the off-season. Del Zotto had a turn around year with 31 points and may find himself garnering a better contract this off-season as an RFA. In a defence desperate market, it wouldn’t be crazy to see Del Zotto get a deal over 3.5-4.0 million dollars. 

An interesting name who didn’t pop up on the list was former Leafs pick, Luke Schenn. Schenn has played over 450 NHL games now but has yet to show anything spectacular, leaving him off the list. Once being held as a future franchise saver in Toronto, Schenn was shipped out and has remained nothing but a bottom pairing defender in Philly.

An interesting comparison is Ottawa’s pick 10 spots later. Of course, Erik Karlsson has become a perennial Norris contender and many other great defenders were passed over for Schenn. In 2012, the Senators and Leafs selected at the 15 and 5 spots again, this time each taking a defender again. Ottawa took Cody Ceci who has played in the NHL over the past two seasons whereas the Leafs went for Morgan Rielly, a player Brian Burke touted as holding the promise to go number 1 in the draft.

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A strong draft class with Erik Karlsson near the top. Easily Bryan Murray’s best draft ever as he was also able to scoop up players like Derek Grant, Patrick Wiercioch, and Mark Borowiecki in later rounds.