What if, instead of top prospects, the 2017 NHL Draft allowed teams to pick from legendary hockey players from years past?
The Pittsburgh Penguins have proven to be virtually unstoppable. This is what happens when you draft two franchise centers in consecutive drafts. It might be fun for Penguins fans, but it sure isn’t fun for anyone else. There isn’t much parity in today’s NHL, but what if there was a way to make things much more interesting?
Luckily, there is such a way. What if teams got to draft any player they wanted? There’s a legend for each team who would help them potentially take on the Penguins. Or at least make them much better than they were before.
The rules for this mock draft are very simple. Any retired player is eligible. There’s not enough room for two Sidney Crosbys in the same league. Just imagine there’s cloning. And a time machine, because each player selected is starting at the beginning of their career. Even though Wayne Gretzky could probably still put up 50 points in today’s NHL, it would be much more fun to see him in his prime.
Sorry Minnesota Wild and Washington Capitals fans, you won’t have a first round pick because you traded yours. Ditto to you Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders, because you’re allegedly paying the Vegas Golden Knights to not take your good players. But on the bright side, the St. Louis Blues, Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes will all get multiple first round picks.
This could make the West much more fun and the Pacific Division more competitive. Vegas, as a new team, needs as much talent as they can get. So let’s take a look at which legend would be a perfect fit for each team.
The New Jersey Devils have many needs. One could argue they need to improve their blue line more than their forward group. However, you can’t get anywhere in the NHL without a franchise center. Wayne Gretzky, the most productive player in history, is a perfect fit.
In today’s NHL, The Great One would thrive. Today’s game is more based on speed than anything else. Gretzky was a fast skater whose acceleration was generational. On top of that, number 99 is arguably the smartest player the league has ever seen. Gretzky was undersized and wasn’t an outstanding skater (though he was great). How did he set the NHL’s career points record? By revolutionizing the game, thinking two steps ahead of his opponents.
Gretzky might turn the Devils into legitimate playoff contenders. He would allow Adam Henrique to thrive in a second or third line center role, which is far more ideal for him than the current first line center role he plays. Travis Zajac would see more optimal ice time as well. Pavel Zacha would gain one heck of a mentor. Not to mention Taylor Hall or Kyle Palmieri would see a huge spike in their goal totals, as one of the two would get the privilege of flanking Gretzky.Next: 2. Philadelphia Flyers
Source : https://fansided.com/2017/06/21/nhl-mock-draft-2017-devils-flyers/