Duncan Keith has had a decorated career with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The defenseman is a three-time Stanley Cup champion (2010, 2013, 2015). He was voted winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has twice won the Norris Trophy voted as the best defenseman in the NHL (2010, 2014) and was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players during the League’s centennial celebration in 2017.
Not bad for the No. 54 pick in the 2002 NHL Draft.
He did not last nearly that long in NHL.com’s 2002 redraft, going No. 1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Forward Rick Nash, originally selected No. 1 by Columbus, fell one spot.
Goalie Cam Ward, who won the Stanley Cup as a rookie in 2006 after being selected No. 25 by the Carolina Hurricanes, jumped into the top 10, along with defenseman Johnny Boychuk, the No. 61 pick, and third-round forwards Valtteri Filppula and Frans Nielsen.
Who else would move up? Who else would drop? Thirty NHL.com staffers, using the draft order and class from 2002, and selected in random order, have answered those questions. Here are the results. For reference, here is how the original draft went.
1. Duncan Keith, D, Columbus Blue Jackets (originally selected No. 54 by Chicago Blackhawks) — What can a young team use more than anything else? A reliable two-way defenseman who controls games while the team is patiently built around him. Think about the Blue Jackets with Keith. Nothing against Nash, a Columbus icon, but Keith could have accelerated the growth of the Blue Jackets, who did not make the playoffs for the first time until 2008-09. He entered the NHL in 2005-06 and has been an impact player since. He leads defensemen from the 2002 draft and is third overall with 610 NHL points (101 goals, 509 assists). His plus-157 rating is tops in the class. Keith has been durable and efficient. He has scored at least 40 points in nine seasons, including 2018-19, when he had six goals and 34 assists. He has averaged 25:00 per game through 1,138 NHL games and counting. — Shawn P. Roarke, Senior Director of Editorial
2. Rick Nash, LW, Atlanta Thrashers (No. 1 by Columbus Blue Jackets) — No overthinking it here. Nash leads the 2002 class in goals (437), points (805), power-play goals (111), power-play points (232), shorthanded goals (22), shorthanded points (31) and game-winning goals (73). He scored at least 40 goals three times and at least 21 in 13 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Blue Jackets from 2002-18. — Jim Cerny, senior editor
3. Jay Bouwmeester, D, Florida Panthers (No. 3 by Florida Panthers) — The Panthers liked him in 2002, and they liked him again in this redraft. A big (6-foot-4, 206 pounds), smooth-skating defenseman with hockey intelligence to spare, Bouwmeester’s 1,240 NHL games are the most in the 2002 class, and he has skated monster minutes, averaging 24:07 per game in his career, second to Keith. If he hasn’t burned up the League offensively — his 424 points (88 goals, 336 assists), also second to Keith, are more a testament to his longevity — this shutdown D has shown great durability, playing all 82 games in eight of his first nine seasons; from March 6, 2004-Nov. 22, 2014, he played 737 consecutive games. A cardiac episode on the St. Louis Blues bench during a game at the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 11 ended his 2019-20 season, coming eight months after the feel-good moment of his having won his first Stanley Cup championship, 764 regular-season games to his name before he even made the NHL playoffs. — Dave Stubbs, columnist
4. Alexander Steen, LW, Philadelphia Flyers (No. 24 by Toronto Maple Leafs) — Though goalies Ward and Kari Lehtonen were considerations here, the Flyers opted for the second-highest scorer in the 2002 class. Steen, who is in his 15th NHL season and playing for the Blues, has 622 points (245 goals, 377 assists) in 1,018 games. He blossomed later in his career, hitting an NHL high of 64 points (24 goals, 40 assists) in 2014-15, his 11th season. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer
5. Alexander Semin, RW, Pittsburgh Penguins (No. 13 by Washington Capitals) — He didn’t play nearly as many games in the NHL as the other players at the top of this redraft (650 games over 11 seasons), but his 517 points (239 goals, 278 assists) rank fourth. Semin, who had NHL career highs in goals (40) and points (84) for Washington in 2009-10, averaged 0.80 points per game, best in the 2002 class. Pittsburgh would have been adding a wing with 40-goal potential as it entered a rebuild looking for a new generation of forwards. — Rob Reese, fantasy editor
6. Cam Ward, G, Nashville Predators (No. 25 by Carolina Hurricanes) — The Predators could not predict the future, that they would select a goalie named Pekka Rinne in the eighth round (No. 258) of the 2004 NHL Draft and that he would win the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL in 2018. So they took Ward, a goalie with first-round talent capable of making an instant impact. He went 15-8 with a 2.14 goals-against average and .920 save percentage for the Hurricanes in the 2006 playoffs to win the Conn Smythe Trophy having played 28 NHL regular-season games. In five of his first six full NHL seasons, he had at least 30 wins. He leads goalies from the 2002 draft in games (701) and wins (334). — Nick Cotsonika, columnist
7. Valtteri Filppula, C, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (No. 95 by Detroit Red Wings) — Filppula is one of four players in the 2002 class to score at least 190 goals (191), 25 game-winning goals (25) and 500 points (515), along with Nash, Steen and Semin, and one of seven to play at least 1,000 NHL games (1,018) despite waiting four years before earning a full-time role in the League in 2006-07. Still playing in the NHL at 36, in his second stint with Detroit, he’s poised and can drive play because he knows how to slow and dictate pace. Filppula is second in face-off wins (5,739) from the 2002 draft behind Jarret Stoll (7,315). — Mike G. Morreale, staff writer
8. Johnny Boychuk, D, Minnesota Wild (No. 61 by Colorado Avalanche) — Boychuk is the type of gritty defenseman every general manager seeks. He’s plus-123 in 725 NHL games, second in the 2002 draft class to Keith’s plus-157, and helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011. Upon his arrival with the New York Islanders, he instantly became a top-pair defenseman in 2014 and two years later helped them win a playoff series for the first time since 1993. A leader on and off the ice. — Brian Compton, deputy managing editor
9. Frans Nielsen, C, Florida Panthers (No. 87 by New York Islanders) — Nielsen is one of those players who often tends to be overlooked, but he is an exceptional all-around player. Since his first full season in the NHL in 2008-09, he is fourth in the 2002 class in points (462), tied for third in assists (299) and third in power-play points (147; 34 goals, 113 assists). It’s on the defensive side that Nielsen really shines. Since 2008-09, he ranks sixth in blocked shots per 60 minutes (2.74) and takeaways per 60 minutes (1.96) among 2002 forwards who played at least 100 games, and he leads the class with 20 shorthanded goals and 29 shorthanded points — third most in each category in the NHL during that same span. — John Ciolfi, senior producer, LNH.com
10. Ryan Whitney, D, Calgary Flames (No. 5 by Pittsburgh Penguins) — The Flames considered other defensemen in this spot, including Dennis Wideman and James Wisniewski, but Whitney was the choice based on his higher offensive ceiling when healthy. Whitney, who retired Sept. 20, 2015, at 32 years old after nine injury-plagued seasons in the NHL (2005-14), is tied with Keith for the best points-per-game average among 2002 defensemen (0.54; tied for seventh overall). Keith is the only defenseman in the class with more points in a single season (69 in 2009-10, 61 in 2013-14) than Whitney’s 59 for Pittsburgh in 2006-07, when he set NHL career highs in goals (14), assists (45) and power-play points (33; nine goals, 24 assists). Whitney helped the United States to the silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. — Pete Jensen, senior fantasy editor
11. Joffrey Lupul, LW, Buffalo Sabres (No. 7 by Mighty Ducks of Anaheim) — Coming off a season when they were 17th in the NHL in scoring (213 goals, 2.60 per game), the Sabres went for Lupul, who likely would have ably filled a top-six role for them. He ranks fourth in the 2002 class with 205 goals, including 59 on the power play (third), and ninth with 420 points in 12 seasons (2003-16) with the Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, Flyers and Maple Leafs. Given a chance to develop in the same system for several seasons, he might have improved upon his five 20-goal seasons in his NHL career. — Barry Rubinstein, manager, assignments
12. Trevor Daley, D, Washington Capitals (No. 43 by Dallas Stars) — Every team could use a defenseman like Daley, and Washington was happy to get him here in this redraft. Daley has played in all situations in his 16 NHL seasons. He is fourth in the 2002 class with 1,058 games, and his 89 goals are third among defensemen. Daley was an integral piece of the Penguins’ back-to-back Stanley Cup championship teams that eliminated the top-seeded Capitals in the Eastern Conference Second Round in 2016 and 2017. — Pat Pickens, staff writer
13. Kari Lehtonen, G, Washington Capitals (No. 2 by Atlanta Thrashers) — Lehtonen entered the NHL with big expectations — three goalies had been drafted higher than him in League history (Michel Plasse, Rick DiPietro and Marc-Andre Fleury) — and although he might not have fully lived up to the hype, he put together a respectable career. His 310 wins in 649 NHL games are second in the 2002 class. In 2005-06, his first full NHL season, Lehtonen carried the load for the Thrashers, making 66 starts (34-24-9) and helping them qualify for the playoffs for the first, and only, time in their history. He struggled at times with injuries and inconsistent play over the next three seasons but reestablished himself as a No. 1 goalie with the Stars, winning at least 32 games in four of five seasons from 2010-15. Lehtonen, who last played in the NHL in 2017-18, would have been a solid selection by the Capitals to replace Olie Kolzig, who was 32 years old in the 2002-03 season. — Brett Amadon, staff writer
14. Jiri Hudler, C, Montreal Canadiens (No. 58 by Detroit Red Wings) — The Canadiens were the No. 8 seed in the 2002 playoffs, and they upset the top-seeded Bruins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and gave the No. 3 seed Hurricanes a tough time before losing in six games in the semifinals. But they were an aging team at center — their top four most of the season all were in their 30s — and 27-year-old Saku Koivu missed all but three games of the regular season after being diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma just before training camp. Hudler is seventh in the 2002 draft class in points (428), eighth in goals (164) and 10th in assists (264), and he was plus-40 in his 12 NHL seasons (2003-17). He scored at least 23 goals in three seasons, including an NHL career-high 31 for the Flames in 2014-15, when he was voted winner of the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. Hudler, who scored 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists) in 83 NHL playoff games, won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008. — Frank Giase, staff writer
15. Pierre-Marc Bouchard, C, Edmonton Oilers (No. 8 by Minnesota Wild) — The Oilers already had plenty of veteran forwards entering their prime but still needed some offensive punch at center. Bouchard had three consecutive seasons of at least 57 points from 2005-08, including when he scored an NHL career-high 20 goals in 2006-07 for the Wild, before he started being limited by injuries. He is 13th in the 2002 class with 356 points (110 goals, 256 assists) despite being 25th with 593 games in 11 NHL seasons (2002-14). — Guillaume Lepage, staff writer, LNH.com
16. Dennis Wideman, D, Ottawa Senators (No. 241 by Buffalo Sabres) — After being selected in the eighth round, he is second among defensemen drafted in 2002 in goals (99), first in power-play points (180), and third in assists (288) and points (387). Wideman, who played 815 games with the Blues, Bruins, Panthers, Capitals and Flames from 2005-17, had 32 points (one goal, 31 assists) in 55 NHL playoff games. — Matt Cubeta, Editor-in-Chief, NHL.com International
17. Matt Stajan, C, Washington Capitals (No. 57 by Toronto Maple Leafs) — After the Capitals got stronger on defense by selecting Daley at No. 12 in this redraft, they added depth to an offense that was tied for ninth with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2001-02 (228 goals, 2.78 per game). Stajan was a reliable two-way center whose 413 points (146 goals, 267 assists) are 10th in the 2002 class. He played 1,003 NHL games for the Maple Leafs and Flames in 15 seasons. — Jon Lane, staff writer
18. Jarret Stoll, C, Los Angeles Kings (No. 36 by Edmonton Oilers) — Canada’s captain at the 2002 IIHF World Junior Championship, Stoll proved to be a solid defensive forward with a decent scoring touch in the NHL, scoring at least 10 goals in seven consecutive seasons from 2004-2011. His most productive season came with the Oilers in 2005-06, when he had NHL career highs in goals (22), assists (46) and points (68). A two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings (2012, 2014), Stoll ranks ninth among 2002 forwards with 388 points (144 goals, 244 assists) in 872 games for the Oilers, Kings, Rangers and Wild from 2003-16. — Paul Strizhevsky, columnist, NHL.com/ru
19. Joni Pitkanen, D, Phoenix Coyotes (No. 4 by Philadelphia Flyers) — The Coyotes needed a reliable, intimidating, two-way defenseman who could play top-pair minutes. Pitkanen was a top defenseman in his best seasons with the Flyers and Hurricanes. He had at least 43 points in three seasons. He could play against any forward and use his size (6-3, 220) to win battles. He moved the puck well and could rip a slap shot. If not for a debilitating heel injury he sustained late in the 2012-13 season, his NHL career could still be going. But what he got out of it was enough for the Coyotes to take him here. — Dan Rosen, senior writer
20. James Wisniewski, D, Buffalo Sabres (No. 156 by Chicago Blackhawks) — The Sabres needed a defenseman and more grit, and Wisniewski checked both of those boxes. He wasn’t particularly big (5-11, 203) but had 459 penalty minutes in 552 NHL games, his average of 0:49 per game tied for seventh in the 2002 class. He scored 51 points twice in 11 NHL seasons (2010-11 for the Islanders and Canadiens; 2013-14 for the Blue Jackets) and was an asset on the power play, with 116 of his 272 points (42.3 percent) coming with the man-advantage. — David Satriano, staff writer
21. Tom Gilbert, D, Chicago Blackhawks (No. 129 by Colorado Avalanche) — Make it three consecutive defensemen taken off the board. The Blackhawks needed one, especially with Phil Housley entering what would be his final NHL season. Gilbert wasn’t flashy, but his 62 power-play points (14 goals, 48 assists) showed he could be effective on the point with the man-advantage, and he averaged 21:29 of ice time per game in the NHL, sixth highest in the 2002 draft class. Gilbert, who had 223 NHL points (45 goals, 178 assists) in 655 NHL games, has spent the past three seasons with Nurnberg of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany’s top professional league, after playing 18 games for the Kings in 2016-17. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer
22. Gregory Campbell, C, New York Islanders (No. 67 by Florida Panthers) — The Islanders went with a hardworking forward. Campbell proved his value when he helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and reach the Cup Final in 2013. Who can forget Campbell hobbling through the remainder of his shift after fracturing his right fibula blocking a shot by Evgeni Malkin in Game 3 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Final against the Penguins? Campbell’s 524 blocked shots in 801 games from 2005-06, his first full NHL season, through 2015-16, his final season, ranked 10th in the League among forwards in that span. He also had 1,302 hits from 2005-16, second among forwards from the 2002 draft behind Stoll’s 1,555. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
23. Max Talbot, C, Phoenix Coyotes (No. 234 by Pittsburgh Penguins) — Phoenix added an energetic forward who was a fan favorite in Pittsburgh for his workmanlike approach and postseason performances. Talbot’s biggest moment came in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final, when he scored both Penguins goals in a 2-1 win against Detroit. Talbot had 204 points (91 goals, 113 assists) in 704 NHL games from 2005-16 and 39 (18 goals, 21 assists) in 84 playoff games. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
24. Scottie Upshall, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (No. 6 by Nashville Predators) — After the Coyotes picked the player the Maple Leafs were targeting one pick before their selection, Toronto was pretty happy to add at No. 24 a feisty forward like Upshall, whose 615 penalty minutes are sixth most among 2002 forwards. Although Upshall did not turn into the dominant player some thought he was going to be when he was drafted No. 6, he is 11th in the class with 138 goals and 17th with 284 points. He also was productive during his NHL career (2002-18) when the game was on the line, with 25 winning goals, tied for fourth in the 2002 class. — Sebastien Deschambault, managing editor, LNH.com
25. Chris Higgins, LW, Carolina Hurricanes (No. 14 by Montreal Canadiens) — The Hurricanes, coming off their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final, were happy to find a useful middle-six forward like Higgins, who was coming off a team-leading 14-goal, 31-point freshman season at Yale University. Higgins never became a top scorer in the NHL, but he was a useful role player and scored at least 22 goals in each of his first three full seasons. His 165 goals, including 23 game-winners, are seventh from the 2002 draft, and his 333 points are 15th. He played 711 NHL games from 2003-16, 14th in the class. — John Kreiser, managing editor
26. Matthew Lombardi, C, Dallas Stars (No. 90 by Calgary Flames) — The Stars were looking for the best player available, and that was Lombardi, who is tied for 14th in goals (101) among players in the 2002 class, 21st in assists (161) and 20th in points (262). He scored an NHL career-high 20 goals for the Flames in 2006-07 and 19 for the Coyotes in 2009-10, when he had career highs in assists (34) and points (53). Lombardi, who did not sign with the Oilers after they selected him in the seventh round (No. 215) of the 2000 NHL Draft, last played in the NHL in 2012-13. — Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief
27. Sean Bergenheim, LW, San Jose Sharks (No. 22 by New York Islanders) — Every team could use a dependable bottom-six forward capable of chipping in with offense, and that was Bergenheim. He scored at least 14 goals in four of the five seasons he played in the NHL between 2008-14 (did not play 2012-13). He scored nine goals in 16 games to help the Tampa Bay Lightning reach the 2011 Eastern Conference Final, including the only goal in a 1-0 win in Game 7 of the first round against the Penguins. — Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor
28. Ian White, D, Colorado Avalanche (No. 191 by Toronto Maple Leafs) — Colorado bolstered its defense and added some scoring when it chose White. He’s tied for ninth in goals (45) and ninth in points (179) among defensemen in the 2002 class, and his plus-46 rating in 503 NHL games from 2006-13 is third. He scored five points (one goal, four assists) in his first five NHL games for Toronto in 2005-06. In 2006-07, his first full NHL season, he had 26 points (three goals, 23 assists), tied with Marc-Edouard Vlasic for second among rookie defensemen behind Matt Carle‘s 42. White scored an NHL career-high 32 points (seven goals, 25 assists) with Detroit in 2011-12. — William Douglas, staff writer
29. Curtis McElhinney, G, Boston Bruins (No. 176 by Calgary Flames) — Goaltending needs are always difficult to project, and with Tim Thomas, Boston certainly had a good No. 1 in the years following the 2002 draft. But the Bruins were looking for more quality and support at the position in the first round, and they landed a goalie with a strong work ethic, perseverance and impeccable character. McElhinney has been a highly regarded teammate everywhere he’s been in the NHL (Calgary, Columbus, Anaheim, Toronto, Ottawa, Phoenix, Carolina) and remains active as the backup with Tampa Bay this season. He is 90-89-18 in 237 NHL games (186 starts) with a 2.82 GAA and .909 save percentage. — Tim Campbell, staff writer
30. Jonathan Ericsson, D, Atlanta Thrashers (No. 291 by Detroit Red Wings) — The final pick of the actual 2002 draft was the final pick of our redraft. Ericsson has size (6-4, 218) and has used it in his NHL career, with 1,099 hits (fourth most in 2002 class) in 680 games (20th), all with the Red Wings. His 125 points (27 goals, 98 assists) are 12th among 2002 defensemen. — Dan O’Leary, staff writer