As we wait and wonder where top free agent Ilya Kovalchuk might end up, I thought I might take a stab at re-drawing the first round of his draft class in 2001.
The Class of 2001 was a middle-of-the-road group, which probably made it even tougher for scouts at the time. In my re-draft, I found there were many close decisions, but the top pick wasn't one of them.
1. Atlanta Thrashers: Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, New Jersey Devils (2001: No. 1 pick)
The Thrashers made the right pick. The ace sniper stays at the top of the draft class. Kovalchuk has 642 career points, which is 167 more points than anyone else in the class. Can he be part of a winning team? He's yet to prove that. As an unrestricted free agent, he'll get to choose his next destination. Stay tuned.
2. Ottawa Senators: Jason Spezza, C, Senators (2001: No. 2)
I'll keep the lanky pivot in the No. 2 hole. He has averaged more than a point per game across 464 career games. That's impressive. The Senators might be looking to move him in the coming weeks.
To continue reading E.J.'s take on the 2001 NHL draft nine years later, you must be an ESPN Insider.