Rabid Habs

What If Habs Had Drafted Kopitar Instead Of Price?

Anze Kopitar Photo Credit - Getty Image

A lot of eyebrows were raised when Bob Gainey selected Carey Price 5th overall at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. It ended up being the right decision as he is arguably the best goalie in the world. What if the Habs had selected Anze Kopitar 5th overall?

Think about this. If the Habs drafted Kopitar, they would not have traded Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues. That said, would the Habs be better off with Anze Kopitar up the middle and Halak in nets or David Desharnais as the number one centre and Carey Price in nets? Probably with Price in nets since goaltending is the most important position in hockey, obviously, but…

Let’s go to the 2006 NHL Entry Draft where the Habs selected David Fischer with their first round pick, which didn’t work out very well as he ended up being a huge flop. But three selections later, goaltender Semyon Varlamov was selected. What if the Habs decided to select a goalie with that draft pick and get Varlamov? (let’s ignore the fact that Claude Giroux was still available *cringe*) Habs would’ve had two goalies battling for the number one spot: Varlamov and Halak. Pierre Gauthier would have likely decided to trade Varlamov. When the Capitals traded Semyon Varlamov to the Avalanche, they got a first round pick and a second round pick in return. Who did that first rounder turn out to be? Filip Forsberg. If the Habs would’ve had this pick they likely would’ve also drafted Forsberg. Many people were surprised to see him available at that point in the draft and the Habs were rumored to be considering drafting Forsberg with their third pick.

Think about this. Habs could’ve had Pacioretty-Kopitar-Forsberg as a first line. That could’ve been one of the greatest first lines in the NHL. Let’s say that Bob Gainey would never have traded Ryan McDonagh for Scott Gomez, the Habs’ starting line up could’ve looked like this:

Pacioretty – Kopitar – Forsberg

McDonagh – Subban

Halak

Now if the Habs would’ve had Kopitar at the time, maybe they wouldn’t have missed the playoffs. If McDonagh and Subban wouldn’t have been available, maybe they wouldn’t have traded Craig Rivet for a first round pick (Max Pacioretty) and maybe the team would’ve actually looked worse than it is now. I guess we will never know what would’ve happened if they had drafted Kopitar. Maybe they would’ve drafted Gilbert Brule instead of Kopitar if they decided to go after a centre.

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