A Look Back at The 2007 NHL Entry-Level Draft, 10 Years Later

The 2007 NHL Entry-Level Draft took place at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH from June 22-23, 2007; it was the 45th NHL Entry Draft in league history. As is now familiar to us, round one of the draft was held on the first with rounds two through seven on the second.

This marked the first time in NHL history that the top two picks were both American with Patrick Kane (CHI) selected first overall and James van Riemsdyk (PHI) selected second overall. This is also tied a record for most Americans selected in the first round (10).

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the draft 10 years later to see where the first-round selections are and any of the notable late-round picks. You might be surprised to see how many current Penguins are on this list.

First-Round:
1) Patrick Kane (CHI) – there’s a reason Chicago picked Kane first overall and he’s delivered everything to Chicago. He helped Chicago win three Stanley Cups in just six years (2010, 2013, 2015); he won the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) in 2013; and won the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy, and the Ted Lindsay Award in 2016. He was the first U.S.-born player to win the Hart and the first to win the Art Ross. He was named to the NHL Top 100 earlier this year and it’s hard to imagine Kane playing for any other franchise; the Blues tried to trade their 9th, 24th, and 26th overall picks for the first overall selection in 2007 in order to draft him.
Career NHL numbers: 285 G, 467 A, 752 P (740 GP)

2) James van Riemsdyk (PHI) – Van Riemsdyk had an impressive rookie campaign with the Flyers in 2009-10; he scored his first NHL point against the Hurricanes and scored his first goal against the Panthers. He helped the Flyers change their fates during the 2010 postseason, after being down three games to none against the Bruins; he scored the game- and series-changing goal in game 4 to help the Flyers mount an improbable comeback. They would go on to the face the Blackhawks in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, where they would fall in 10 games. In 2012, he was traded to the Maple Leafs for defenseman Luke Schenn and has been one of their best players the past few seasons; he helped Toronto get back to the playoffs this season and scored three points against the Capitals, who defeated them in six games.
Career NHL numbers: 165 G, 174 A, 339 P (528 GP)

3) Kyle Turris (PHX) – Turris was the top-ranked North American player at the time of the draft but fell to #3. Turris’s early time with Phoenix was a mess; he held out for the start of the 2011-12 season and failed to show up to training camp. The general consensus was that he wanted a trade and after signing a two-year deal, the Coyotes traded him to the Senators, where he’s been ever since. He had an impressive 2016-17 campaign with the Senators, topping it off with 10 points in 19 playoff games. He’s been a solid player for the Sens his entire career.
Career NHL numbers: 133 G, 178 A, 311 P (533 GP)

4) Thomas Hickey (LAK) – Hickey wasn’t one of the top-ranked skaters in the draft but the Kings still decided to take him #4 overall; I guess they saw something that they liked. He had a series of injuries at the beginning of his career and was later claimed off of waivers by the Islanders in January 2013; he’s played five seasons with the Isles now. Hickey has never topped more than 20 points in a single season and has only played one complete NHL season in his career (back in 2013-14). He had just 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) in 76 games played this past season.
Career NHL numbers: 17 G, 69 A, 86 P (340 GP)

5) Karl Alzner (WSH) – Alzner has spent his entire NHL career with the team that drafted him fifth overall back in 2007 and has been good for them. He may not be a super offensive forward but he’s been a constant presence in that locker room. He played all 82 games for each of the past four seasons and while he’s played nine seasons with the Caps, it’s time for him to move on. He did meet with Vegas this past week but did not sign a contract and will test free agency.
Career NHL numbers: 19 G, 98 A, 117 P (591 GP)

6) Sam Gagner (EDM) – Gagner has moved around quite a bit in his NHL career. After playing seven seasons for Edmonton, he was traded to the Lightning and then an hour later, was traded to the Coyotes back in 2014. He was then traded to the Flyers in 2015 and played a year for them and in 2016, signed a one-year deal with the Blue Jackets. He is currently a free agent as well.
Career NHL numbers: 142 G, 260 A, 402 P (696 GP)

7) Jakub Voráček (CBJ) – he spent his first three years in the NHL with the Blue Jackets until he was traded to the Flyers in 2011; he proceeded to sign a one-year deal and has been with the team ever since. He signed an eight-year, $66 million contract extension with Philly in 2015 and will likely end his career there (unless something drastic happens); he’s a Flyer for life. He’s been good for the team and for the fans.
Career NHL numbers: 155 G, 333 A, 488 P (686 P)

8) Zach Hamill (BOS) – Hamill had a bit of a rough NHL career. He started out in Boston for three years but spent most of his time playing for their AHL affiliate. He signed a two-way contract with the Canucks and played for their AHL affiliate until his contract was terminated. Since then, he’s spent most of his time overseas in the KHL, in the Liiga, and the Swiss National League A.
Career NHL numbers: 0 G, 4 A, 4 P (20 GP)

9) Logan Couture (SJS) – Couture has had one hell of an NHL career and it makes you wonder how some of these teams before the Sharks passed up on him but that’s the way the draft works. Couture has rightfully spent his entire career with the Sharks and is one of their most well-known, most prolific players. He has a pretty impressive resume and I won’t get into that but I suggest checking it out. He’s someone who’s going to be known as a Shark forever.
Career NHL numbers: 179 G, 197 A, 376 P (504 GP)

10) Keaton Ellerby (FLA) – Ellerby was ranked #4 among North American skaters. My favorite fact about him is that he scored his first NHL goal against the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist (sorry). In 2013, he was traded to the Kings but was later claimed off of waivers by the Jets. After spending much of the 2014-15 season in the AHL, Ellerby signed a contract in the KHL and later signed with the HC Fribourg-Gottéron (NLA).
Career NHL numbers: 4 G, 23 A, 27 P (212 GP)

11) Brandon Sutter (CAR) – Sutter originally spent some time in the AHL but quickly made his way up to the big leagues. He scored his first NHL goal against Pittsburgh’s (Vegas’s) Marc-André Fleury. He signed a three-year contract with the Canes in 2011 but was traded to the Penguins in a year later. The Pens resigned Sutter in 2014 but traded him a year later to the Canucks, where he is now an alternate captain.
Career NHL numbers: 120 G, 108 A, 228 P (596 GP)

12) Ryan McDonagh (MTL) – McDonagh won’t be remembered as a Canadien; he’ll be remembered as a New York Ranger. McDonagh has meant the world to the Rangers organization and their fan base. Two years after being drafted by the Habs, they sent him and a few others to New York. A year later, he signed an entry-level contract. In 2011, he scored his first NHL goal against the Devils (fittingly, unfortunately enough) to help the Rangers secure the eight and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. In 2013, he signed a six-year contract with the Rangers; on October 6, 2014, he was named the Rangers’ 27th Captain in franchise history and the rest is history.
Career NHL numbers: 49 G, 163 A, 212 P (467 GP)

13) Lars Eller (STL) – Eller had an impressive first season in North America (2009-10), playing for the Blues’ AHL affiliate, and was named to the AHL All-Rookie team. In 2010, he was traded to the Canadiens, where he spent the next six years of his career. He was traded to the Capitals at the 2016 NHL draft in exchange for a pair of second-round picks and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.
Career NHL numbers: 85 G, 96 A, 181 P (523 GP)

14) Kevin Shattenkirk (COL) – does his name sound familiar? What if I attached sweepstakes at the end? Just kidding. He made his NHL debut in 2010 against the Canucks and was one of 12 rookies to participate in the All-Star festivities that year. In 2011, he was sent to the Blues in a multiple-player trade and proceeded to spend the next seven years of his NHL career there. He signed a four-year extension with the team in 2013 but this past season, the two parties failed to negotiate a new contract and Shattenkirk was sent to Washington; he posted 14 points in 19 games with his new team. He is a UFA and may end up with several different teams; the likeliest team seems like the Rangers but whether or not they have the cap space to accommodate him remains to be seen.
Career NHL numbers: 68 G, 230 A, 298 P (490 GP)

15) Alex Plante (EDM) – Plante played out the three years of his entry-level contract with Edmonton but played in just 10 NHL games and notched two points. He spent most of his time with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate. In 2013, he joined the Austrian Hockey League as a free agent and in 2015, he joined Asia League Ice Hockey; he became a South Korean citizen this year.
Career NHL numbers: 0 G, 2 A, 2 P (10 GP)

16) Colton Gillies (MIN) – Gillies spent most of his entire, including the entire 2009-10 season, with Minnesota’s AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros. He signed a two-year contract extension with the Wild in 2011 but struggled that upcoming season; he was eventually placed on waivers and was claimed by Columbus. He then signed a pair of one-year deals in the AHL, the first with the Rochester Americans (Buffalo) and then with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Career NHL numbers: 6 G, 12 A, 18 P (154 GP)

17) Alexei Cherepanov (NYR) – Cherepanov was the top-ranked European prospect according to NHL Central Scouting in the 2007 draft. He was selected by the Rangers and attended their prospect camp that summer but before the onset of the 2007-08 season, he returned to Russia to play for the KHL. He played just 14 games before collapsing on the bench during a game; he was declared dead at the hospital after doctors tried to resuscitate him. There was plenty of controversy surrounding his death and investigations ensued. The NHL instated a “Cherepanov rule”, where teams could be compensated with a draft pick if a player they drafted dies before signing a contract. The KHL also renamed its Rookie of the Year trophy to the Alexei Cherepanov Award.
Career NHL numbers: N/A

18) Ian Cole (STL) – Cole spent the first five years of his career playing for St. Louis before being traded to the Penguins in March of 2015. He signed a three-year contract with the organization three months later and is now a two-time Stanley Cup champion. He was exposed in the Vegas expansion draft, which could indicate that Pittsburgh might ship him out somewhere else, but Vegas took Fleury over him.
Career NHL numbers: 15 G, 62 A, 77 P (338 GP)

19) Logan MacMillan (ANA) – MacMillan spent the first three years of his NHL career in the AHL; he was traded to Calgary in 2010. He spent two years within the Flames organization, playing for their AHL affiliate but never played an NHL game. In 2012, he signed a contract to play in the Austrian Hockey League.
Career NHL numbers: N/A

20) Angelo Esposito (PIT) – Esposito also never played a single NHL game. He spent the first part of his professional career in the AHL and tore his ACL twice. In 2010, he was traded to the Panthers and six months later, he was traded to the Stars. At the end of his season, he became a UFA and signed a contract to play abroad. He played one game in the ECHL before returning to Italy.
Career NHL numbers: N/A

21) Riley Nash (EDM) – originally picked by the Oilers, Nash’s rights were traded to the Hurricanes in 2010, when he forewent signing a contract with them. The Canes then signed him to a three-year, entry-level contract. He spent six years with the organization and when he became a UFA in 2016, he signed a two-year contract with the Bruins, the team he still plays for.
Career NHL numbers: 38 G, 60 A, 98 P (323 GP)

22) Max Pacioretty (MTL) – it’s hard to think about the Canadiens and not think of Max Pacioretty, and that alone tells you a lot. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Habs in 2008 and really, the rest is history. He scored his first NHL goal in a 4-1 loss to the Devils on January 2, 2009. He won the Masteron Trophy in 2012. In 2014, he was named an alternate captain and a year later, he was named the 29th Captain in franchise history. He was the first Hab to wear #67 and will likely be the last.
Career NHL numbers: 209 G, 202 A, 411 P (562 GP)

23) Jonathon Blum (NSH) – he split the three years of his entry-level contract between the NHL and the AHL level and when Nashville failed to tender him, he signed a two-year contract with the Wild. When he became a UFA, he signed a contract to play in the KHL where he plays to this day.
Career NHL numbers: 7 G, 17 A, 24 P (110 GP)

24) Mikael Backlund (CGY) – Backlund has played his entire NHL career with the Flames and has become one of their best forwards. He’s struggled offensively from time-to-time and his career has been plagued with injuries but he found a newfound confidence in his ability after the 2012-13 lockout. He had a career year this past season, tallying 31 points in 81 games, playing on the 3M Line with Michael Frolik and Matthew Tkachuk. He will be a UFA at the conclusion of next season but he should be signed to an extension.
Career NHL numbers: 94 G, 134 A, 228 P (461 GP)

25) Patrick White (VAN) – White was drafted by the Canucks but never played an NHL game. He played four seasons with the University of Minnesota (NCAA) and now plays international hockey.
Career NHL numbers: N/A

26) David Perron (STL) – poor guy just got drafted to Vegas. To be fair, he has moved around a fair bit. He played the first six years of his career with St. Louis until he was traded to the Oilers in 2013. In 2015, they traded him to the Penguins, who then sent him to the Ducks a year later. He became a free agent and decided to return to his original NHL club, signing a two-year contract with the Blues. They exposed him for the Vegas expansion draft and the Golden Knights selected him.
Career NHL numbers: 159 G, 219 A, 378 P (652 GP)

27) Brendan Smith (DET) – Smith has played his entire career with the Red Wings and has been one of their most well-recognized defensemen. They signed him to a pair of two-year contracts until the end of the 2016-17 season, when they traded him to the Rangers for a 2017 third-round pick. There’s no doubt that he could be good for the Rangers (and I completely mean that).
Career NHL numbers: 16 G, 55 A, 71 P (309 GP)

28) Nick Petrecki (SJS) – he played NCAA hockey with Boston College and scored the overtime game winner in BC’s 2008 Beanpot Championship Game victory against Harvard. He signed a contract with the Sharks but played just one NHL game before being assigned to their AHL affiliate. He was then loaned to another AHL club (the Amerks) and played there for an additional year. He is currently a UFA.
Career NHL numbers: 0 G, 0 A, 0 P (1 GP)

29) Jim O’Brien (OTT) – O’Brien currently plays for the Colorado Avalanche on a two-year contract. The year prior, he played for the Devils and played in just 4 NHL games. He spent two years playing in the AHL but before that, he played for Ottawa, spending more time in their AHL affiliate than with the big club.
Career NHL numbers: 8 G, 4 A, 12 P (67 GP)

30) Nick Ross (PHX) – Ross has spent his entire professional hockey career playing junior hockey and in the AHL, and currently plays hockey in the Austrian Hockey League.
Career NHL numbers: N/A

Notable Late Round Selections:
P.K. Subban – Subban was drafted 43rd overall in the second round of the draft by the Canadiens and has become one of the faces of the NHL. He won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 2013. Subban was one of Montréal’s top defensemen and most recognized players; he was so good for the organization and they thanked him by sending him to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber in a highly, highly publicized trade during the 2016 offseason. Subban helped Nashville reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history, ultimately falling to the defending champs, the Penguins, in six games. He’s won three gold medals representing Canada at international tournaments, including the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. He is one of the most exciting players and best defensemen in the league today.
Career NHL numbers: 73 G, 245 A, 318 P (500 GP)

Wayne Simmonds – the “Wayne Train” took Philadelphia and the National Hockey League by storm. He was drafted 61st overall in the second round by the Kings. After three seasons with L.A., he was traded to the Flyers where he’s been ever since. He signed a six-year contract extension in 2012. He’s has a reputation outside of Philly; he’s tallied quite a few penalty minutes in his career so far (901). He represented Philly at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game and was named the MVP, helping the Metropolitan Division win the “tournament”. He’s had a great career so far and is one of Philly’s most recognized players.
Career NHL numbers: 202 G, 196 A, 398 P (687 GP)

Yannick Weber – Weber was drafted 73rd overall in the third round by the Canadiens and signed a three-year, entry-level contract with them in 2008. He played five years with the organization and when he did not qualify as an RFA, he signed a one-year deal with the Canucks. He would spend three years with Vancouver and proceeded to sign two consecutive one-year contracts with the Predators. He is currently a UFA.
Career NHL numbers: 23 G, 55 A, 78 P (347 GP)

Alexander Killorn – Killorn was drafted 77th overall in the third round by the Lightning and has spent his entire NHL career with the team (five seasons). Before that, he played collegiate hockey with Harvard (NCAA). Last year, he signed a six-year, $33 million contract extension with the team. He’s someone who could break out next season or the organization might decide to trade him just like they did with Ben Bishop and Jonathan Drouin (sorry).
Career NHL numbers: 72 G, 102 A, 174 P (353 GP)

Alec Martinez – Martinez was drafted 95th overall by the Kings 10 years ago and has remained with the organization ever since. He’s won two Cups with L.A., once in 2012 (we don’t like to remember that one) and once in 2014. In 2014, he scored the overtime winner in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Blackhawks to send the Kings to the Cup Finals and he scored the OT winner in Game 5 of the Finals with 5:17 left in double overtime against the Rangers to win the Cup; he became just the 17th player to score a Cup-winning overtime goal in league history. So Kings fans know him well; he’s gone a little under the radar outside of L.A. but that’s okay. The organization knew what they were doing when they him.
Career NHL numbers: 48 G, 99 A, 147 P (419 GP)

Jamie Benn – the Stars picked Benn 129th overall in the 2007 draft and six years later, he was named the 9th Captain in franchise history. He won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and he won the Art Ross trophy (league’s top scorer) in 2015, beating John Tavares by a single point. He was an NHL All-Star in 2012 and 2016, and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team for the 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons. He has been one of Dallas’s main players since he was brought up and the franchise just wouldn’t be the same without him. He’s signed on with the Stars through the 2024-25 season (he’s not going anywhere).
Career NHL numbers: 218 G, 299 A, 517 P (585 GP)

Scott Darling – Darling was selected 163rd overall in the sixth round of the 2007 draft by the (Phoenix) Coyotes but it’s not uncommon for goaltenders to go this late in the draft. Darling is the only goaltender on this list. In 2014, the Blackhawks originally signed Darling as a free agent to a one-year deal and then signed him to a two-year contract extension. He helped the Hawks win the Cup in 2015 and in doing so, became the first Chicago-area native to win the Cup with the Hawks. At the conclusion of this past season, Chicago traded his pending free agent rights to the Canes, who signed him to a four-year contract and protected him for the Vegas expansion draft.
Career NHL numbers: 39-17-9 record, 2.37 GAA, .923 save %, four shutouts (75 GP)

Patrick Maroon – Maroon was selected 161st overall in the sixth round by the Flyers and spent his first few years playing for the AHL affiliate; the team’s coaches, however, weren’t happy with his conditioning so in 2010, they traded him to Anaheim, where he played parts of five seasons. In February of 2016, he was traded to the Oilers and in his first four games with the organization, he scored two goals and a pair of assists. Earlier this January, he scored his first career hat trick in a game against the Bruins. He will be a UFA at the end of the next season but I would be surprised if he didn’t resign with Edmonton. He’s been really good for the team.
Career NHL numbers: 61 G, 74 A, 135 P (301 GP)

Carl Hagelin – Hagelin was drafted 168th overall in the sixth round of the 2007 draft by the Rangers. He played college hockey at the University of Michigan (NCAA) and even though he was a Ranger, I can appreciate just how good he is at what he does. In 2015, just as he was about to become a free agent, New York traded him to the Ducks; he struggled with Anaheim and they proceeded to trade him to Pittsburgh, where he helped the Pens win back-to-back Stanley Cups. So yeah, you could say he’s pretty good.
Career NHL numbers: 78 G, 113 A, 191 P (407 GP)

Nick Bonino – and our trend of Pittsburgh Penguins continues. Bonino rounds out this list and while Hockey Night in Punjabi’s goal call for him is one of my personal favorites of all-time, he’s been one of the most consistent members of the Pens for a while. Bonino was drafted 173rd overall by the Sharks in the sixth round but his rights were traded to the Ducks two years later. In 2014, he was traded to the Canucks as part of the Ryan Kesler trade and a year later, he found himself being traded to Pittsburgh. But he got the last laugh. He, too, is a back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion with the Penguins organization and was an integral part of them even making it that far, as was Hagelin. Hagelin and Bonino were joined by Stanley Cup Champion Phil Kessel on the HBK line, a force to be reckoned with. So yeah, Bonino’s done pretty well too.
Career NHL numbers: 75 G, 112 A, 187 P (407 GP)

And there you have it, a look back at the 2007 NHL entry-level draft, exactly 10 years later. Did I miss anyone important? Let me know! The only lesson here is that draft order doesn’t matter a whole lot and I know I keep saying this on this blog. You could be picked in the first or the seventh round; it doesn’t determine how your career is going to go. And with that said, the 2017 NHL entry-level draft takes place tomorrow night! Don’t forget to tune in to see who your favorite team(s) take(s) in the first round!

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