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Members of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft class: Marc-Andre Fleury, Shea Weber and Corey Perry (Associated Press / Reuters)

Members of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft class: Marc-Andre Fleury, Shea Weber and Corey Perry

(Associated Press / Reuters)

The 2003 NHL draft changed the fortunes of a number of teams Add to ...

“You talk about your good luck, or your bad luck, or however you want to characterize it, but as an organization, we had the ability to see Weber maybe more than what other teams would have been watching him because Slovak was in the top-four in Kelowna and killing penalties,” said Poile. “Weber was getting more irregular ice time and playing behind him. It’s a classic story of being in the right place at the right time and being good – but also being a little bit lucky.”

Some scouts believe every draft is good and others find flaws in them all. How do you anticipate a draft is this deep?

“It’s really hard, but that’s our job,” said Poile. “From a management standpoint, I ask our scouts all the time to try and differentiate this year’s draft from next year’s draft, so I can weigh the value of a second-round pick year over year – or if I don’t have one, should I go and get one.

“The good news is, in recent memory, they’ve almost all been good drafts. We’re producing way more players now than before, and higher quality players, from many different parts of the world. So I think it’s always good to have lots of picks at the draft. Development is really good in a lot of different places now.”

The Anaheim Ducks decision to sign Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to entry-level contracts before the 2004-05 lockout was largely responsible for helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2007. According to David McNab, the team’s senior vice president of hockey operations, Getzlaf and Perry were the last players signed to contracts before the lockout began, and as such, were subject to the 24 per cent rollback that eventually came.

Moreover, their signing bonuses didn’t count against the new salary cap, which was introduced when play resumed in 2005-06. The miniscule cost of Getzlaf, Perry and rookie forward Dustin Penner permitted the Ducks to spend their money elsewhere, to trade for Chris Pronger and sign Scott Niedermayer as a free agent away from the New Jersey Devils.

“I remember we were waiting for Perry and Getzlaf to come into the office to sign the contracts as Gary (commissioner Gary Bettman) was on television, saying, ‘at such and such a time, the lockout will start,’” said McNab. “We faxed them in literally 30 minutes before the rosters were frozen. When we won the Stanley Cup, the total between the three might have been $1.5-million against the cap. That is something that will never happen again – to have three players of that magnitude whose cap totals averaged about $500,000 each.”

A look at how the 2003 entry draft unfolded and how it might look 10 years later:

2003 DRAFT: THEN

2003 DRAFT: NOW

1

Marc-Andre Fleury

1

Shea Weber

2

Eric Staal

2

Eric Staal

3

Nathan Horton

3

Corey Perry

4

Nikolai Zherdev

4

Ryan Getzlaf

5

Thomas Vanek

5

Zach Parise

6

Milan Michalek

6

Ryan Suter

7

Ryan Suter

7

Patrice Bergeron

8

Braydon Coburn

8

Mike Richards

9

Dion Phaneuf

9

Thomas Vanek

10

Andrei Kostitsyn

10

Ryan Kesler

11

Jeff Carter

11

Dustin Brown

12

Hugh Jessiman

12

Brent Seabrook

13

Dustin Brown

13

Brent Burns

14

Brent Seabrook

14

Jeff Carter

15

Robert Nilsson

15

Nathan Horton

16

Steve Bernier

16

Loui Eriksson

17

Zach Parise

17

Dustin Byfuglien

18

Eric Fehr

18

David Backes

19

Ryan Getzlaf

19

Jimmy Howard

20

Brent Burns

20

Joe Pavelski

21

Mark Stuart

21

Milan Michalek

22

Marc-Antoine Pouliot

22

Dion Phaneuf

23

Ryan Kesler

23

Matt Carle

24

Mike Richards

24

Tobias Enstrom

25

Anthony Stewart

25

Matt Moulson

26

Brian Boyle

26

Braydon Coburn

27

Jeff Tambellini

27

Jaroslav Halak

28

Corey Perry

28

Marc-Andre Fleury

29

Patrick Eaves

29

Brian Elliott

30

Shawn Belle

30

Brian Boyle

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