When Patrick Roy retired from the NHL after 19 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche, he had 551 wins, the most by a goalie in NHL history.
He eventually was passed by Martin Brodeur, who played 21 of his 22 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils.
Imagine how it would have changed the course of NHL history had New Jersey selected Roy in the 1984 NHL Draft.
That’s exactly how things played out in NHL.com’s 1984 redraft. Roy, originally was selected No. 51 by the Canadiens, went No. 2 to the Devils after the Pittsburgh Penguins again took Mario Lemieux with the No. 1 pick.
Though Roy climbed 49 spots, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Gary Suter made much bigger jumps into the top five.
Who else would move up? Who would drop? Twenty-one NHL.com staffers, using the order from and players selected in the 1984 draft, have answered those questions. Here are the results. For reference, here is how the original draft went.
1. Mario Lemieux, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (originally selected No. 1 by Pittsburgh Penguins) — Nothing to rethink here. Pittsburgh again selected one of the greatest players ever. Eighth in NHL history with 1,723 points (690 goals, 1,033 assists) in 915 games, all with the Penguins, Lemieux won the Stanley Cup twice (1991, 1992) and was voted winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup Playoff MVP after each championship. He won the Art Ross Trophy as NHL points leader six times (1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997) and was voted winner of the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP three times (1988, 1993, 1996), the Ted Lindsay Award as NHL most outstanding player four times (1986, 1988, 1993, 1996), and the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year for 1984-85. Imagine what he could have done if he had stayed healthy. After battling back injuries throughout his career and being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma during the 1992-93 season, Lemieux sat out 1994-95, returned for two seasons, and retired after the 1997 playoffs. The Hockey Hall of Fame waived its usual wait period and inducted Lemieux that fall. He returned to the NHL in 2000-01, scoring 76 points (35 goals, 41 assists) in 43 games before playing 127 games over his final four NHL seasons and winning gold with Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. — William Douglas, staff writer
2. Patrick Roy, G, New Jersey Devils (No. 51 by Montreal Canadiens) — At the time of the 1984 draft, Brodeur was 12 years old. No one knew the Devils would select him in the first round (No. 20) of the 1990 NHL Draft and what he would become. Would New Jersey have built the same defensive identity, just around a different goalie? Would Roy, Brodeur and their teams have had the same, or at least similar, success? Roy won the Stanley Cup four times (1986, 1993 with Canadiens; 1996, 2001 with Avalanche), Brodeur three (1995, 2000, 2003 with Devils). Roy won the Conn Smythe Trophy three times (1986, 1993, 2001); Brodeur never won it. Roy won the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL three times (1989, 1990, 1992), Brodeur four (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008). Brodeur ranks first in NHL wins with 691, having passed Roy on March 17, 2009, nearly six years before his final game. Roy ranks first in NHL playoff wins with 151; Brodeur is second with 113. Roy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006. — Nick Cotsonika, columnist
3. Brett Hull, RW, Chicago Blackhawks (No. 117 by Calgary Flames) — Kirk Muller and Gary Roberts were considered here, but history took precedence, and Hull was the selection, continuing the family saga in Chicago after father Bobby (1957-72) and uncle Dennis (1964-1977). He is fourth in NHL history with 741 goals in 1,269 games over 19 seasons and won the Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and Detroit Red Wings in 2002. Hull led the NHL in goals three consecutive seasons from 1989-92 with the St. Louis Blues, including a career-high 86 in 1990-91, when he won the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009 along with the next pick in this redraft. — Tim Campbell, staff writer
4. Luc Robitaille, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs (No. 171 by Los Angeles Kings) — Why yes, the Maple Leafs happily selected the highest-scoring left wing in NHL history. Robitaille scored 1,394 points (668 goals, 726 assists) in 1,431 games with the Kings, Penguins, New York Rangers and Red Wings, 25 more than Johnny Bucyk in second. He is second in goals at the position behind Alex Ovechkin (706). Robitaille won the Calder Trophy for 1986-87, when he scored 84 points (45 goals, 39 assists) in 79 games. He scored at least 101 points for Los Angeles in four of his first seven seasons in the League, including a career-high 125 (63 goals, 62 assists) in 1992-93. He won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2002. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
5. Gary Suter, D, Montreal Canadiens (No. 180 by Calgary Flames) — There were highly skilled forwards remaining on the board, but it was too difficult to pass up one of the best offensive defensemen of all time. Suter scored 844 points (203 goals, 641 assists) in 1,145 games to not only lead defensemen from the 1984 draft class, but also rank 14th at the position in NHL history. The Calder Trophy winner for 1985-86, he had a plus-126 rating in his NHL career, fourth in the class, and won the Cup with Calgary in 1989. For the Flames, Suter and Al MacInnis formed one of the most lethal power-play defense pairs the League has ever seen, but the pick here allowed him to potentially be paired with either Larry Robinson or Chris Chelios. Just as scary for opponents. — Dan O’Leary, staff writer
6. Gary Roberts, LW, Los Angeles Kings (No. 12 by Calgary Flames) — The Kings missed out on Robitaille in this redraft, but with Roberts they did get a quality left wing who supplied goals, grit and leadership. Roberts won the Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989 and is fourth in the 1984 class with 438 NHL goals, fifth with 910 points and tied with Suter for 10th with an average of 0.74 points per game. He was relentless on the forecheck and made his living scoring goals from in front of the net, where the punishment he absorbed led to numerous injuries, including a nerve injury in his neck that limited him to 43 games in two seasons from 1994-96 and caused him to sit out 1996-97. Roberts scored 20 goals in 61 games with the Carolina Hurricanes in his return in 1997-98, the first of six times he scored at least that many in his final 11 NHL seasons through 2008-09. — Jim Cerny, senior day editor
7. Stephane Richer, RW, Detroit Red Wings (No. 29 by Montreal Canadiens) — After selecting center Steve Yzerman with the No. 4 pick in the 1983 NHL Draft, the Red Wings got him a goal-scoring right wing. Richer didn’t always play up to his high-end talent, but he scored at least 50 goals twice and is fifth in the 1984 class with 421 goals in 1,054 games in 17 NHL seasons. Richer also was productive in the playoffs with 98 points (53 goals, 45 assists) in 134 games. Richer won the Cup with the Canadiens in 1986 and with the Devils in 1995, when he was second in the NHL with 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 19 postseason games (Sergei Fedorov, 24). — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
8. Kirk Muller, LW, Montreal Canadiens (No. 2 by New Jersey Devils) — Muller fell in this redraft after going No. 2 in 1984 but was in good hands going to Montreal, where he played four seasons from 1991-95. His 959 NHL points are fourth in the 1984 class behind Lemieux, Robitaille and Hull, and he is fifth in assists (602) and tied with Ray Sheppard for seventh in goals (357). Muller had two seasons with an NHL career-high 94 points, with the Devils in 1987-88 and with the Canadiens in 1992-93 (37 goals, 57 assists in each). He helped the Canadiens win the Cup in 1993 by scoring 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in 20 playoff games. — Pete Jensen, senior fantasy editor
9. Kevin Hatcher, D, Pittsburgh Penguins (No. 17 by Washington Capitals) — The Penguins already took Lemieux in this draft, and now they’ve picked the second-highest scoring defenseman in the 1984 class. Hatcher scored 677 points (227 goals, 450 assists) in 1,157 NHL games. A five-time all-star, he scored an NHL career-high 34 goals for the Capitals in 1992-93, when he also had a career-best 79 points and finished fourth in voting for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the best defenseman in the League. The 34 goals are the most in a season by a United States-born defenseman in NHL history. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer
10. Al Iafrate, D, Vancouver Canucks (No. 4 by Toronto Maple Leafs) — The Canucks realized how important it is to have a defenseman who can fire the puck from the blue line, which is why Iafrate was the pick here. Iafrate put fear into opposing skaters and goalies every time he wound up for a slap shot. When accurate, it was in the back of the net before the skaters could open their eyes or a goalie could react. Iafrate scored 152 goals in 799 NHL games. He thrived on the power play (168 points; 46 goals, 122 assists), but he wasn’t a power-play specialist. He was a big (6-foot-3, 240 pounds), tough, physical defenseman who could hammer the puck and hammer the opponent if need be. If not for injuries, he likely would have played more than 1,000 games. — Dan Rosen, senior writer
11. Eddie Olczyk, RW, Hartford Whalers (No. 3 by Chicago Blackhawks) — The Whalers picked a player who scored at least 20 goals in 10 of his 16 NHL seasons. Among the 1984 class, he’s ninth in goals (342) and assists (452), and 10th in points (794). Traded to Toronto by Chicago after his third NHL season, Olczyk had the best stretch of his NHL career over the next five seasons (1987-92) with the Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets. He scored at least 30 goals and 65 points in each of those five seasons, including an NHL career-high 42 goals in 1987-88 and an NHL career-high 90 points the following season, each for Toronto. A member of the 1994 Stanley Cup champion Rangers, Olczyk was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer
12. Shayne Corson, LW, Calgary Flames (No. 8 by Montreal Canadiens) — The Flames took the consistent two-way power forward, who played with snarl and skill over 19 seasons. Among the 1984 class, the three-time NHL all-star is 11th in points (693; 273 goals, 420 assists), third in penalty minutes (2,357), 10th in even-strength points (474) and 11th in game-winning goals (35). He ranks sixth among the class with 87 points (38 goals, 49 assists) in 140 playoff games. — Mike G. Morreale, staff writer
13. Scott Mellanby, RW, Minnesota North Stars (No. 27 by Philadelphia Flyers) — You can never go wrong with a power forward, and the North Stars took one who was among the best of his generation. Mellanby (6-1, 210) had skill, size, smarts and savvy. He scored 840 points (364 goals, 476 assists) in 1,431 games over 21 NHL seasons. Among the 1984 class, he is sixth in goals and second in penalty minutes (2,479) behind Roberts (2,560). The two-time captain (Florida Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers) had eight seasons of at least 20 goals, was a threat on the power-play (140 goals, fourth in the class) and delivered in the clutch (56 game-winning goals, fifth in the class). — Shawn P. Roarke, Senior Director of Editorial
14. Petr Svoboda, D, New York Rangers (No. 5 by Montreal Canadiens) — Svoboda fell in the redraft but represented good value for the Rangers, who originally selected a defenseman (Terry Carkner) in this spot. Svoboda’s plus-206 rating is second in the 1984 class behind Roberts’ plus-229, and his 1,605 penalty minutes rank eighth in the class. The Rangers had 21-year-old goalie John Vanbiesbrouck becoming an NHL regular in 1984-85, when he started 38 of 80 games, so a responsible defenseman and physical force on the back end made sense for them here. — Rob Reese, fantasy editor
15. Cliff Ronning, C, Quebec Nordiques (No. 134 by St. Louis Blues) — The Nordiques were thrilled to see Ronning fall to No. 15 and were not deterred by his size (5-8, 165 pounds). Ronning’s 869 points (306 goals, 563 assists) are sixth in the 1984 class, and he had eight 20-goal seasons and 11 with at least 50 points. His best NHL season was 1992-93, when he scored 85 points (29 goals, 56 assists) for the Canucks. He followed that by scoring 68 points (25 goals, 43 assists) in 1993-94 and 15 (five goals, 10 assists) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to help Vancouver reach Game 7 of the Final. — Jon Lane, staff writer
16. Michal Pivonka, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (No. 59 by Washington Capitals) — Pivonka, who played his entire 13-season NHL career with the Capitals, was a playmaking center who ranks 12th in the 1984 class in points per game (0.73). He also has the third-most assists (418) and fifth-most points (599) in Washington history. Pivonka could have given the Penguins even greater firepower behind Lemieux after defecting from Czechoslovakia in 1986. — Pat Pickens, staff writer
17. Ray Sheppard, RW, Washington Capitals (No. 60 by Buffalo Sabres) — In 817 games over 13 NHL seasons, Sheppard scored 657 points (357 goals, 300 assists) and had six seasons with at least 30 goals, including an NHL career-high 93 points (52 goals, 41 assists) with Detroit in 1993-94. Sheppard did well no matter where he played, scoring 24 or more goals in a season for six teams (Red Wings, Sabres, Panthers, Hurricanes, Rangers, San Jose Sharks). — Dave Stubbs, columnist
18. Jeff Brown, D, Buffalo Sabres (No. 36 by Quebec Nordiques) — Though the Sabres drafted offensive defenseman and future Hall of Famer Phil Housley two years earlier, Brown was simply too good to pass up. His average of 0.78 points per game is first among defensemen in the 1984 class to play at least 10 games. He had seven straight seasons with at least 50 points from 1987-88 through 1993-94, scoring at least 20 goals three times. In his 747-game NHL career, Brown scored 584 points (154 goals, 430 assists). — Paul Strizhevsky, NHL.com/ru columnist
19. Kirk McLean, G, Boston Bruins (No. 107, New Jersey Devils) — Goaltending would be an issue for Boston in the mid-1980s, so because they couldn’t get Roy, they were content to select the second-best goalie in the draft. McLean had the best of his 16 NHL seasons in 1991-92 with Vancouver, tying Tim Cheveldae for the League lead with 38 wins and finishing second in the Vezina Trophy race behind Roy. He helped the Canucks reach Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 1993-94, going 15-9 with a 2.29 GAA, .928 save percentage and four shutouts in the playoffs. — John Ciolfi, senior producer, LNH.com
20. Doug Bodger, D, New York Islanders (No. 9 by Pittsburgh Penguins) — Among defensemen in the 1984 class, Bodger ranks fourth in points (528) and assists (422), and sixth in goals (106). One of seven defensemen taken in this draft to play at least 1,000 games in the NHL (1,077), Bodger is seventh among defensemen in the class with an average of 0.49 points per game. He was not in the class of Suter, Hatcher or Iafrate, but he’s a great pick this late in the first round, especially when you consider defenseman Duncan MacPherson, the Islanders’ original pick here, never played in the NHL. — Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief
21. David Volek, LW, Edmonton Oilers (No. 209 New York Islanders) — Though Volek did not reach the NHL until 1988-89 and played six seasons in the League because of injuries, he was high on the Oilers’ list. Despite playing 396 games, 43rd among players in the 1984 class, he is tied with Mikael Andersson for 25th in goals (95) and is 22nd in power-play goals (29). He showed in the 1993 playoffs that he was able to shine when the stakes were high, scoring two goals, including one in overtime that gave the Islanders a 4-3 win against the Penguins in Game 7 of the Patrick Division Finals, ending Pittsburgh’s quest for a threepeat. — Sebastien Deschambault, managing editor, LNH.com