Revisionist History: Redrafting the 2014 class with the benefit of hindsight
Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

A few months out from the three-year anniversary of the 2014 NHL draft, it's one worth looking back on.

While the top four selections have already played over 150 NHL games, it's clear some highly questionable decisions were made among the first 16 picks, and that some teams would love a mulligan.

Here's a look at how the lottery portion of the draft played out in reality:

Drafted Team Player GP Points Per Game
1 Panthers D Aaron Ekblad 227 0.42
2 Sabres F Sam Reinhart 160 0.54
3 Oilers F Leon Draisaitl 183 0.70
4 Flames F Sam Bennett 151 0.40
5 Islanders F Michael Dal Colle 0 N/A
6 Canucks F Jake Virtanen 65 0.22
7 Hurricanes D Haydn Fleury 0 N/A
8 Maple Leafs F William Nylander 94 0.73
9 Jets F Nikolaj Ehlers 146 0.66
10 Ducks F Nick Ritchie 102 0.27
11 Predators F Kevin Fiala 51 0.27
12 Coyotes F Brendan Perlini 49 0.39
13 Capitals F Jakub Vrana 21 0.29
14 Stars D Julius Honka 10 0.40

The draft, of course, is an inexact science. These guys are kids, after all. There were, however, some notables that went later in the first and in later rounds:

Drafted Team Player GP Points Per Game
15 Red Wings F Dylan Larkin 150 0.48
21 Blues F Robby Fabbri 123 0.54
25 Bruins F David Pastrnak 164 0.71
79 Lightning F Brayden Point 59 0.53
112 Predators F Viktor Arvidsson 133 0.52

Some takeaways:

  • Draisaitl and Pastrnak have 89 and 70 games on Nylander, respectively, but Nylander's the top producer, so far, on a points-per-game basis.
  • The Maple Leafs getting Nylander at No. 8 may be one of the most significant footnotes of Toronto's rebuild.
  • In his first full AHL season, Dal Colle has 14 goals and 21 assists in 35 games. Not exactly worth writing home about, but there's nothing wrong with the Islanders taking their time with the kid, who will be 21 in June.
  • Fleury's in his first full AHL season, and since defensemen take longer to marinate, it's too early to say Carolina erred here.
  • The Canucks and Ducks aren't looking too bright right now. Especially the Canucks.
  • The Jets getting Ehlers at No. 9 was a massive steal.

Redraft

Now that we know what we know, how about we do it again?

With the benefit of hindsight, here's what we think a redraft of the lottery portion of the 2014 class would look like:

1. Panthers: D Aaron Ekblad

Vaswani: There's a reason why Ekblad went first overall, and while there was no consensus first overall choice ahead of the 2014 draft, it's clear Ekblad is a franchise cornerstone defender. He plays in all situations, and he's already been locked up on an eight-year extension. We're going with the scouts on this one. Ekblad remains the top pick, even knowing what we know today.

2. Sabres: F Leon Draisaitl

Cuthbert: The Sabres' rebuild would look a lot different with Draisaitl, who appears to be the most complete forward to come out of the draft.

3. Oilers: F William Nylander

Vaswani: Edmonton was clearly after skill with the No. 3 pick, and perhaps Pastrnak didn't wow because of his draft-year totals in Sweden.

Nylander only had a goal and six assists in 22 games with Modo in 2013-14, while Pastrnak had eight goals and 24 points in 36 games with Sodertalje SK, in Sweden's second-highest league.

Hindsight, though, has gifted us the fact that Nylander is clearly a dynamic offensive talent, and, boy, wouldn't he look good playing alongside Connor McDavid.

4. Flames: F David Pastrnak

Cuthbert: The first player - and only, so far - chosen from the class to hit the 50-goal mark, he has to go in the top five.

Calgary found Johnny Gaudreau in the fourth round in 2011, and took Sean Monahan sixth overall in 2013. Imagine what the Flames would look like up front with Pastrnak in tow.

5. Islanders: F Nikolaj Ehlers

Vaswani: You know who would look great on John Tavares' wing? Young Nikolaj Ehlers, who ripped apart the QMJHL in 2013-14, scoring 49 goals in 63 games and finishing with 104 points. He added 11 goals and 28 points in 16 playoff games. And based on early returns in the NHL, he may be a steal at No. 5, too.

6. Canucks: F Sam Reinhart

Cuthbert: There's nothing wrong with Reinhart's 0.54 points-per-game average, and he's the perfect player to complement a star. Question is, does Vancouver have any beyond the twins? (While he may get there, Bo Horvat's not at that level just yet.)

7. Hurricanes: F Dylan Larkin

Vaswani: Carolina's selected a defenseman with its top pick in three straight drafts and four since 2011. Sorry, but drafting by positional need's a no-no. They're taking Larkin, who has the speed and offensive talent to be a consistent force in the league with time.

8. Maple Leafs: F Robby Fabbri

Cuthbert: Sam Bennett may have greater upside, but whether he reaches his potential is up in the air. Fabbri, pending his recovery from a torn ACL, is a lock to be a productive top-six forward for a long time.

9. Jets: F Sam Bennett

Vaswani: The kid infamous for being unable to do a pull-up ends up in Winnipeg alongside some top offensive talent.

10. Ducks: F Viktor Arvidsson

Cuthbert: Already drowning in solid, young talent, imagine what the Ducks would look like with Arvidsson instead of Nick Ritchie. The Las Vegas Golden Knights would certainly be pleased had things worked out this way.

11. Predators: F Michael Dal Colle

Vaswani: Dal Colle impressed as a 16-year-old in the OHL, and finished sixth in league scoring as a 17-year-old, leading his Oshawa club in scoring with 95 points in 67 games. He falls out of the top 10, but lands on a good team in the process.

12. Coyotes: G Thatcher Demko

Cuthbert: Is there a succession plan in the crease in Arizona? There should be.

13. Capitals: F Jake Virtanen

Vaswani: There has to be more to Virtanen than pure evil. He was the sixth-rated North American skater, and there'd be a hell of a lot less pressure on him in D.C.

14. Stars: D Haydn Fleury

Cuthbert: Defensemen take time. Even at No. 7, there's no reason to suggest Fleury won't live up to his draft position, so the Stars would be ecstatic to land him at 14.

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Revisionist History: Redrafting the 2014 class with the benefit of hindsight
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