During the unknown times that we are currently living in, sports have come to a halt. This stoppage of sports has inspired sports journalists around the world to think up new forms of content to engage fans and The Puck Authority is no different. In my latest quarantine series, I will be going through NHL Draft classes and create an All-Star team if you will of players all from the same draft.
In the same series, the teams will be primarily made up of players currently playing in the NHL, however, there will be some exceptions. In the case of certain NHL drafts, not enough players from the draft are playing in the NHL for the team to be completed. In those specific cases, I will include players who have played in the NHL and/or are continuing their careers overseas.
The 2005 NHL Entry Draft brought some of hockey’s biggest talents to the NHL. Stars such as Sidney Crosby, Carey Price and Anze Kopitar were all selected in 2005, paving the way for their journey to stardom. While the 2005 NHL Entry Draft is highlighted by the names of multiple current stars, its overall depth is good, but is not made up of the star-studded as one might expect.
Below are the lines for the 2005 Draft All-Star Team.
|Bobby Ryan||Sidney Crosby||Patrik Hornqvist|
|James Neal||Anze Kopiar||T.J. Oshie|
|Andrew Cogliano||Paul Stastny||Justin Abdelkater|
|Ryan Reaves||Martin Hanzal||Nathan Gerbe|
|Derek Helm||Vladmir Sbodka|
|Kris Letang||Marc-Edward Vlasic|
|Keith Yandle||Niklas Hjalmarsson|
|Jack Johnson||Anton Stralman|
Tuuka Rask, Ben Bishop, Marc Staal, and Kris Russel.
The 2005 Draft Class All-Star Team’s biggest strength in regards to their offence would have to be the middle of the ice. Any team featuring Sidney Crosby down the middle is already a dangerous team. Add in Anze Kopitar and Paul Stastny on the second and third lines and this team is scary.
Rounding out the 2005 team’s center depth is Martin Hanzal. Hanzal missed the entire 2019-20 season due to injury and suited up for just seven games the year prior. While injuries seem to have harmed Hanzal’s chances of coming back to the NHL, it was not long ago that he was a highly coveted top-nine center.
Due to his 6’6, 229 pound frame and skill at both ends of the ice, Hanzal became a consistent 30+ point scorer who could be relied upon in all sorts of situations. If healthy, Hanzal would be a strong addition to the 2005 Team’s offence, bringing both size and skill to the fourth line. Paired alongside Ryan Reaves, opposing teams would be crazy to mess with that line. While the middle of the ice does not seem like it can get any better, the same cannot be said about the left and right sides of the ice.
Hornqvist was paired next to Crosby over a goal-scorer like T.J. Oshie due to their chemistry, having won multiple Stanley Cups together in Pittsburgh and spending a lot of time on the same line. The biggest head-scratcher here may be Bobby Ryan on the team’s first-line. While Ryan is not the player he once was, his production has started to improve significantly with the Senators.
This season, Ryan hit yet another bump in the road and spent some time in rehab, however, the season prior, he recorded 42 points in 78 games while playing with the struggling Senators. Playing with Crosby, who makes everyone around him better, could do wonders for Ryan and is a better alternative than pairing Ryan with Kopitar. Ryan is a lock for the top-six due to the team’s strong depth on the wing. Pairing Ryan with Crosby and James Neal with Kopitar would likely be more effective than placing Neal with Crosby and Ryan with Kopitar as the pair would result in stronger depth on both lines instead of a stronger first line with a weaker second line.
After the top-six, the 2005 all-Star Team’s offensive depth takes a hit. Aside from Paul Stastny, the teams bottom-six lacks the star firepower that they need. Luckily for them, with Crosby and Kopitar leading the top-six, the pressure to score is not as pressing for the bottom-six.
Aside from Stastny, the rest of the offence features very little in the form of offensive threats. Abdelkader is well past his prime, but alongside Stastny, he can use his size and two-way skills to get the puck from the opposition and find a way to get the puck to his centreman. Cogliano on the left side gives Stastny added depth and a solid outlet who is not afraid to use the body despite his size.
The 2005 Draft Team’s blue-line is well balanced and will not only prove to be reliable in their own end, but with Kris Letang and Keith Yandle set to receive significant amounts of ice-time, they will create offence as well. For the top-two pairings, while all four defenders are solid defensively, the lines were created to allow one defender to be more involved with the offence while his partner is more of a defensive-minded player. On the first pair, Kris Letang is paired with Marc-Edward Vlasic.
Vlasic is an ageing defensive defensemen, but can handle big minutes. On this pairing, although both defenders are solid defensively, Vlasic being the more defensive-minded player gives Letang the ability to focus on helping create offence. This will be an important role, especially while the third and fourth lines are on the ice.
Like the Letang-Vlasic pairing, Yandle and Hjarlmasson offer the same balance of offence and defence that will be put on display when needed to help the third line create offence. The third pair of Jack Johnson and Anton Salman is the shutdown line that can be used in clutch moments of the game where a solid, shut-down defensive presence is crucial.
Picking the two goaltenders to backstop the 2005 Draft roster was arguably the toughest decision to make while forming the team. The four options to decide between were Carey Price, Tuuka Rask, Jonathan Quick and Ben Bishop. While statistically, Bishop and Rask have been the better goaltenders over the past couple of seasons, Price and Quick could not be ignored simply by judging statistics.
First of all, Quick is on a struggling L.A. Kings roster, but is still one of the most athletic goaltenders in the world. With a solid defensive roster in front of him, Quick is in the perfect position to play like the former playoff MVP he once was. Current NHL players continue to say that Carey Pirce is the best goalie in the NHL despite his play over the past couple of seasons.
Many players believe that he is still the toughest netminder to score on and is one of the most clutch goalies in the league. Both Price and Quick have had a rough couple of seasons, but when you look at their skill and resumes, they take the cake as the 2005 Draft All-Star Team’s goaltenders.
As always, if you have any opinions, please feel free to comment below or reach out in the comments via Twitter.