By: Jack Fenty
The 2015 NHL Entry Draft saw a lot of talent selected that are now stars on their respective NHL teams. However, some General Managers struck out on their picks and definitely would love nothing more than to have a do over. Well, unfortunately for them there is no do overs, but there is in the world of fantasy hypotheticals. So in that case I have decided to redraft the top ten from the 2015 draft. Boy am I glad I’m not a GM…
#1. Edmonton Oilers Select- Connor McDavid
(Original Selection: Connor McDavid)
This is clear-cut. Not only was Connor McDavid the top player in the 2015 NHL Draft, but he is the most gifted player on the planet at this moment. Peter Chiarelli, former Oilers GM, had a simple choice, either draft Connor McDavid or draft Connor McDavid. And that’s exaclty what he did, drafted Connor McDavid.
In McDavid’s first full season, 2016-2017, he tallied 30 goals and 70 assists for a combined 100 points. That year he won the Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Award. In 2017-2018 McDavid had 108 points (41 G, 67 A). In the 2018-2019 season, McDavid only became a better player, tallying a career high 116 points (41 G, 75 A). This season, before being put on pause, McDavid he had 97 points (34 G, 63 A) through 64 games.
McDavid’s offensive ability is evident through the numbers, but if he can grew in the defensive end of the ice he will become one of, if not the best, hockey players of all time.
#2 Buffalo Sabres Select- Mitchell Marner
(Original Selection: Jack Eichel)
It was a tough decision on this one between Marner and the player that will be selected number three on this list, but I went with Mitch Marner at #2. Marner moves up two spots in the draft, from selection #4 to selection #2. Marner is no McDavid, but he is one hell of a player. There is also no denying Marner has much more weapons around him in Toronto compared to what Eichel has in Buffalo, but I can only work with what I have seen so far in both guys NHL careers.
Marner started his career in Toronto in 2016-2017. That season he tallied 61 points (19 G, 42 A). In 2017-2018 Marner had 69 points (22 G, 47 A). Lastly, in the 2018-2019 season he put up a career high 94 points (16 G, 51 A).
Jack Eichel, who was originally selected #2 overall by the Buffalo Sabres is not a pick the Sabres are complaining about one bit. Eichel, the now captain of Buffalo, is the team’s leader both literally and in the points category.
#3 Arizona Coyotes Select- Jack Eichel
(Original Selection: Dylan Strome)
This is a pick Arizona wants back, since the original selection, Dylan Strome, is no longer on the team after a trade with the Hawks that sent him to Chicago. If the Coyotes did not draft Strome they would have likely got a really good player like Mitch Marner or in our case, Jack Eichel. The now captain of the Buffalo Sabres has been one of the few bright spots for the struggling franchise.
In his rookie season, 2015-2016, Eichel had 56 points (24 G, 32 A). In 2016-2017 Eichel had 57 points (24 G, 33 A) in only 61 games. With 20 less games he still had more points than his rookie season. In 2017-2018 Eichel tallied 64 points (25 G, 39 A). This season, Eichel has 78 points (36 G, 42 A) through 68 games, clearly on pace for his best season so far.
The original selection, Dylan Strome, has had a rocky start to his NHL career. Strome spent the majority of his “rookie season” playing for the Erie Otters of the OHL, with Erie he tallied 75 points (22 G, 53 A). In the 2017-2018 season, Strome had the potential to carve out a permanent role on the Coyotes. That was not the case, he spent the majority of the season in AHL with the Tucson Roadrunners. The 2018-2019 season would be the end of the road for Strome in Arizona, 20 games into the season he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks.
It’s evident that Strome was drafted way too early by the Coyotes, but that does not mean he cannot become a solid player in the league.
#4 Toronto Maple Leafs Select- Thomas Chabot
(Original Selection: Mitchell Marner)
Looking at the Toronto Maple Leafs today, 2020, they could really use a Thomas Chabot to push them over the hump or in other words, beat the Bruins. Chabot, drafted 18th by the Ottawa Senators, is one of the biggest steals of the 1st round.
Let’s get one thing out of the way really quick, Thomas Chabot is not surrounded by talent in Ottawa. The lack of team success has not stopped Chabot from becoming a rising star in the NHL. In the 2017-2017 season Chabot had 25 points (9 G, 16 A). In the 2018-2019 season, Chabot put up a career high in points, 55, (14 G, 41 A). This guy is the definition of a elite two-way defenseman, he is not shy to chip in offensively, but can shut the door on the back hand. He can also move the puck with ease.
What really stands out to me for Thomas Chabot is his Time On Ice. This season, 2019-2020, his average TOI is 26:00 minutes. This shows he could be a #1 defenseman for any team. You will start hearing more of Thomas Chabot’s name when Ottawa is relevant again.
#5 Carolina Hurricanes Select- Mikko Rantanen
(Original Selection: Noah Hanifin)
Stud. Stud. Stud. What else can you say about Mikko Rantanen? Originally drafted #10 by the Avalanche, Rantanen has been nothing but a star for the Avs. You think the Hurricanes are a fun team to watch now? Think about that team with Rantanen on it.
In his rookie season, 2016-2017, Rantanen tallied 38 points (20 G, 18 A). A weak year compared to the numbers coming next. In the 2017-2018 Rantanen recorded 84 points (29 G, 55 A). The next season, with seven less games played, he topped his career record with a 87 point campaign (31 G, 56 A). Now does it hurt that Rantanen is playing with Mackinnon and Landeskog? Of course not, but at the end of the day he is putting up the numbers.
The Hurricane’s original selection, Noah Hanifin, is no longer on the team after being traded to the Calgary Flames. Hanifin is a solid player but to pass on some of the talent the Hurricanes did must really hurt.
#6 New Jersey Devils Select- Zach Werenski
(Original Selection: Pavel Zacha)
Originally drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets at #8, Werenski jumps two spots and goes to the New Jersey Devils. Werenski is a top 2 defensman on any team in the league and that’s exactly what he is for the Blue Jackets today.
In his rookie season, 2016-2017, Werenski had 47 points (11 G, 36 A). In the 2017-2018 season his points regressed, tallying 37 (16 G, 21 A). Werenski in the 2018-2019 season had 11 Goals and 33 Assists.
The original selection, Pavel Zacha, has been a bust for the Devils for where they drafted him. He’s still only 22 years old, sometimes we forget that about these players, but it’s looking like he is going to be more of a 3rd line player throughout his playing career. His top season point total in his career is 32 points. A number he was likely going to add to before COVID-19 led to the suspension and potentially ending of the 2019-2020 season. Even so, the Devils are going to want this pick back.
#7 Philadelphia Flyers Select- Mathew Barzal
(Original Selection: Ivan Provorov)
Originally drafted by the New York Islanders at #16, Mat Barzal has been nothing but a star for the Islanders. The Flyers, who drafted Ivan Provorov in this spot did not strike out, but having the talent of Barzal would have been huge for the Flyers.
In his rookie season, his best statistical season so far, 2017-2018, Barzal won the Calder Trophy (ROTY). Barzal tallied 85 points in 82 games (22 G, 63 A). In the 2018-2019 season put-up 62 points (18 G, 44 A). His regression in points can be in part-blamed on Barry Trotz’s “defense-first” mentality and system. The offensive side of Barzal’s game is there, but if he can step up his play in both zones the sky’s the limit for him.
#8 Columbus Blue Jackets Select- Ivan Provorov
(Original Selection: Zach Werenski)
If you told the Columbus Blue Jackets on draft night that they would either draft Werenski or Provorov I don’t think they would be disappointed. In this case, I had Werenski getting drafted by the Devils at #6, so there must be a defensive fall-back plan for the Blue Jackets. That guy being number the number one defensmen on the current Flyers, Ivan Provorov.
In his Provorov’s rookie season, 2016-2017, he tallied 30 points (6 G, 24 A). In season number two he had a career high in points with 41 (17 G, 24 A). In the 2018-2019 season Provorov regressed a bit, only putting up 26 points and have a Plus/Minus of -16. This season, before the suspension due to the Coronavirus, Provorov was playing really good hockey, with 36 points (13 G, 23 A).
#9 San Jose Sharks Select- Brock Boeser
(Original Selection: Timo Meier)
Originally drafted #23 in the draft by the Vancouver Canucks, Brock Boeser was overlooked by the teams that picked before the Canucks. Looking back, I’m sure many GMs are disappointed for not choosing Boeser, but one team that is likely satisfied with their original pick is the San Jose Sharks.
In Boeser’s rookie season, 2017-2018, he tallied 55 points (29 G, 26A) in 62 games. In the 2018-2019 campaign Boeser had 56 points (26 G, 30 A) in 69 games. This season, he has tallied 45 points (16 G, 29 A) in 57 games. The key for Brock Boeser’s career going forward is staying on the ice. If Boeser can stay healthy, he will be one of the key pieces that brings the cup to Vancouver.
The original selection, Timo Meier, has been no dud for the San Jose Sharks. In his first full season, 2017-2018, Meier tallied 36 points (21 G, 15 A). In his second season Meier’s production grew immensely. He doubled his point total from the year before with 66 points (30 G, 36 A). After this season, if the NHL season resumes, it will be interesting to see what the San Jose Sharks do moving forward…One thing is clear, Timo Meier should be part of the plan.
#10 Colorado Avalanche- Kyle Connor
(Original Selection: Mikko Rantanen)
Originally drafted #17 by the Winnipeg Jets, Kyle Connor has been a stud on a very talented team. Looking back, the Avalanche, who hold the #10 pick, would still want Rantanen over Connor, but for our purposes Rantanten has already been selected.
In Connor’s first full season with Winnipeg he put up 57 points (31 G, 26 A). In his second season he tallied 66 points (34 G, 32 A). This season, before it was put on pause, Connor was on pace to crack the 80 point mark. In 71 games he had 73 points (38 G, 35 A).
Listen, there is no denying that playing with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler doesn’t hurt Connor’s production, but at the end of the day to play with those two guys consistently you have to be putting up the points. The mainstream NHL fan doesn’t hear Kyle Connor being talked about enough and that needs to change…What a player.