What if we could take a mulligan on a Tampa Bay Lightning draft, and re-do the picks the team made? Maybe the team isn’t where it is now. Maybe some of it’s future draft picks don’t get made because the team ended up being better and got worse picks in future drafts. Maybe the team has another Stanley Cup in the trophy case. There are lots of trickle down effects that could happen in such a case. But it’s still fun to ask “What If?”
We’ve looked at the 2009, 2008, and 2007 drafts. This one is going to be a little bit different as we look at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. This draft class only has four picks that totaled seven games played in the NHL. So there should be plenty of potential gain. However, all of the picks that were traded away from this draft, were done so long before the draft. Because of there, there will be no take backs on any of the draft pick trades. The 2nd, 4th, and 5th round picks from 2006 were traded at the 2005 draft for picks in that draft.
The rules for this Mulligan are that I can only select a player that was drafted within the next 20 draft picks after the Lightning’s selection. This is to give some reality to the possibility of having made the “right” pick according to who was available and who might have been on the draft board at the time. That means that I can’t turn a bust of a first round pick into a super star long shot seventh rounder. Any trades that were made at the draft, including trading draft picks away, can be undone if there is no player worthy of the pick the team traded for, or if there is a star player the team could have selected instead of trading away the pick.
Now with the rules out of the way, let’s get to the fun part!
All NHL Career stats as of 1/2/2019.
First Round, 15th Pick, 15th Overall
Original Pick: G Riku Helenius, 1 GP, 0-0-0, 100% SV%, 0.00 GAA
New Pick: G Semyon Varlamov, 265 GP, 174-145-34, .916 SV%, 2.70 GAA
While Helenius is technically the Lightning’s franchise record holder for save percentage and goals against average, he only faced two shots in one relief appearance in his career in the NHL. This choice was fairly difficult to make because there was a very obvious forward pick in Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers. However, since the Lightning went for a goalie in the first round, I thought going with a pretty good starting goalie in Varlamov was a good choice here.
Varlamov is not an elite goaltender in the NHL, with only one truly spectacular season when he was the 2nd All-Star and finished 2nd in the Vezina voting and 4th in the Hart voting. But he has been a solid starting goaltender now in his 8th season as a starter and 11th season overall in the NHL.
Third Round, 15th Pick, 78th Overall
Original Pick: D Kevin Quick, 6 GP, 0G, 1A, 1P
New Pick: F Kaspars Daugavins, 91GP, 6G, 9A, 15P
Well, there isn’t a lot here. The choices are a goon forward that has been suspended and has almost 500 career PIMs in 154 games, or Daugavins. There are three other skaters and one goalie available with this pick that have appeared in the NHL, but none more than 15 games and 2 points. Daugavins played pretty well in the AHL with 112 points in 189 games to go with his 15 points in 91 games. He last appeared in the NHL in 2012-13 with the Boston Bruins playing six games and six more in the playoffs. After the season, he returned to Europe. He played one season in Switzerland in 2013-14 and has spent the past five season in the KHL.
Sixth Round, 15th Pick, 168th Overall
Original Pick: D Dane Crowley, Never appeared in the NHL
New Pick: F Mathieu Perreault, 535 GP, 116G, 178A, 294P
Unlike the third round pick, there were actually a couple of nice options. Perreault was the easy choice, but bottom six forward Leo Komarov was also an option. Perreault has turned into a consistent 40 point scorer for the Winnipeg Jets after being drafted by the Washington Capitals, traded to the Anaheim Ducks, and then allowed to become an unrestricted free agent after the Ducks declined to tender a qualifying offer. Perreault is very much an Alex Killorn type scoring in the teens in goals and consistently scoring right around 40 points every year.
Seventh Round, 15th Pick, 198th Overall
Original Pick: F Denis Kazionov, Never appeared in the NHL
New Pick: F Erik Condra, 366 GP, 39G, 59A, 98P
Condra should be a familiar name to Lightning fans as he was signed to a three-year contract. After one year and part of a second, he fell out of favor in Tampa and spent the rest of his contract in the AHL when he served as the Syracuse Crunch captain. In his NHL career, Condra spent some time as a third line player for the Ottawa Senators, but eventually settled in as a fourth line winger. He has been a superior penalty killer as well.
Due to the Lightning front office trading away three picks from this draft so they could make more picks in a disappointing 2005 draft, this draft was pretty easy. The only really hard choice was the first round pick going with Varlamov over Giroux. There are certainly arguments on both sides of that. Considering that the Lightning were obviously looking for a goaltender at that pick, and the lack of production for the Lightning in net, that for me tipped the scales. Otherwise, there should be little to argue with the other three picks.