Not that anyone really forgets this, but this week served as good reminder of just how impressive the 2003 NHL Draft was. Monday’s game at Nashville featured four players from the first round of that draft — Ryan Suter (No. 7), Jeff Carter (No. 11), Dustin Brown (No. 13) and Mike Richards (No. 24) — not to mention second-round pick Shea Weber and first-round pick Andrei Kostitsyn (No. 10), whom the Predators acquired on Monday. Coming up on Saturday is the Anaheim Ducks, with Ryan Getzlaf (No. 19) and Corey Perry (No. 28).
Among the 30 players selected in the first round that year, 18 have played at least 400 career NHL games, and 12 have totaled more than 300 points. (Consider that the 2002 draft has only four players with more than 300 points, and the 2004 draft has two players.) Then there’s the second round, with Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, Matt Carle and David Backes, and a host of players, all the way down through the ninth round, who have made nice NHL careers for themselves.
For the Kings, 2003 will be remembered, in part, as the year they took Brian Boyle at No. 26 and Jeff Tambellini at No. 27, minutes before the Ducks took Perry at No. 28. Boyle and Tambellini have combined for 129 NHL points, while Perry has 419. Then again, every team has those what-if moments. Almost every team passed on Shea Weber (No. 49), and many passed two or three times.