We’re firmly in the doldrums now, so it’s time to play “what if?” Sometimes it’s fun to take a look back with the benefit of everything we know now.
The 2005 NHL Draft was unique as teams from around the league had ample opportunity to scout future talent during the lockout. The first round featured talent like Sidney Crosby, who went first overall, as well as top-end goaltenders Carey Price and Tuukka Rask.
As for the Bruins, following a playoff appearance in 2004, Boston secured the 22nd pick in the first round, choosing Matt Lashoff, who turned into an above-average minor league talent but never truly made the full-time leap to the NHL.
With a chance to redo the 2005 Draft, here’s who the Bruins could have taken with all their selections in a draft laden with talent...knowing what we do now.
1st Round, 22nd Pick – T.J. Oshie
Original Pick – Matt Lashoff
The Bruins’ would have benefited from a young scorer like Oshie, who has since molded into a consistent scoring option and one of the top centers in the league. In the 2005-06 season, the Bruins traded their top forward Joe Thornton, acquiring center Wayne Primeau and Marco Sturm in a deal to help sure up the offense.
Oshie, who attended North Dakota for three years following his selection in the draft, wouldn’t have been immediately available for Boston. But as a rookie in 2008-09, Oshie could have helped fuel a Cup run for a Bruins team that finished first in the East before being eliminated in the second round by Carolina. Adding Oshie to the core group of players that led the Bruins from 2008-14 would’ve likely created a dynasty.
However, Boston did use Lashoff in a trade for Mark Recchi during the 2008-09 season. Boston would have likely needed to sacrifice another young defenseman to make that deal possible, which may have meant either sending Jeff Penner or Adam McQuaid to the Bolts in the deal.
2nd Round, 39th Pick – Paul Stastny
Original Pick – Petr Kalus
Offensively is where Boston needed improvement, and again the Bruins addressed that in the 2nd round by picking Denver University center Paul Stastny. Known more for his playmaking ability than his goal-scoring, Stastny immediately made an impact at the NHL level for Colorado.
With Boston, Stastny would have had the chance to develop alongside Patrice Bergeron and learn from veterans like P.J. Axelsson and Glen Murray. His presence would have helped Boston replace Joe Thornton’s offensive output.
3rd Round, 83rd Pick – Keith Yandle
Original Pick – Mikko Lehtonen
Two picks, two forwards. Boston comes out in the third round and picks Keith Yandle, a talented defenseman with local ties from a prep school in Massachusetts. Boston was looking for younger options on the blue line that would be available within two years.
Yandle fit the bill, developing into a key member of the Phoenix Coyotes defense that sparked some playoff runs at the turn of the decade. For Boston, Yandle would have been a quality defender providing some needed special teams help.
4th Round, 100th and 106th Picks – Niklas Hjamarlsson & Vladimir Sobotka
Original Picks – Jonathan Sigalet and Sobotka
Hjamarlsson went a few picks after Yandle in the fourth round, passed on twice by Boston early in the fourth round. Part of a Chicago team that won three cups in six seasons, Hjamarlsson wasn’t known for his scoring but rather his tireless work rate in the defensive zone.
As for Sobotka, Boston hit it right but didn’t give him enough time to prove that. A trade with St. Louis sent Sobotka to the Blues in exchange for David Warsofsky, another fringe NHL prospect. Sobotka is still playing a depth role in the NHL.
Boston finished the draft with picks Wacey Rabbitt, Lukas Vantuch, and Brock Bradford. Vantuch and Rabbitt never cracked the NHL and are still playing in Europe. As for Bradford, it was looking like a steal until breaking his left arm twice in the 2007-08 season while at Boston College and was never the same.
Some alternatives included Ryan Reaves (5th round, 156th pick), Anton Stralman (7th round, 216th pick), and Patric Hornqvist (7th round, 230th pick).