The Chicago Blackhawks are the beneficiary of a couple of mistakes made in the 2006 NHL Draft. Looking back on that year brings a smile back to all fans.
The Chicago Blackhawks have made some poor decisions in recent memory. The thing is that before this stretch of poor decisions was about a decade of smart decisions. They have drafted and developed as good as any team in the National Hockey League in that span and it led to them winning the Stanley Cup three times in six seasons. They also had two additional appearances in the Western Conference Finals sprinkled in there.
One of the biggest factors in those glory days was the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. In the season that proceeded that draft, the Blackhawks were awful. Their 23-43-13 record was one of the worst in the entire NHL. They were 29th out of 30 in goals for and 27th out of 30 in goals against. Adrian Aucoin and Martin Lapointe were so-captains in that season and little did Chicago know, they were drafting their future superstar captain that summer.
They ended up with the third overall pick in the draft for their efforts. The selected Jonathan Toews with the pick and the rest, as they say, was history. Erik Johnson went first to the St. Louis Blues and Jordan Staal went second to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nicklas Backstrom then went fourth-overall to the Washington Capitals and Phil Kessel went fifth to the Boston Bruins.
There is no doubt that it was an impressive draft all around. Claude Giroux went all the way down at pick 22 to the Philadelphia Flyers and Brad Marchand fell to pick 71 by the Boston Bruins. They are both, like Toews, complete superstars. You can argue that if the draft was redone today, Toews would go first overall. Backstrom, Marchand, and Giroux make a compelling case for that spot as well as they are all elite players that developed into superstars.
The rest of the draft didn’t go as well for Chicago once Toews was selected. The rest of their draft class includes:
- Igor Makarov
- Simon Danis-Pepin
- Tony Lagerstrom
- Ben Shutron
- Joe Palmer
- Jan-Mikhael Juutilainen
- Chris Auger
- Peter Lablanc
Lablanc suited up for exactly one NHL game and he is the only player besides Toews from the 2006 class that did that. It wasn’t a class full of hits for Chicago but they got Toews so they had to be happy with it. He is one of the franchises all-time great players so making that pick in this draft was extremely important to all of the success that followed.