The 2006 Draft ultimately saw the Phoenix Coyotes fail to impress with their first two picks and the 2007 edition saw similar returns from the two players brought to the desert.
Then head coach Wayne Gretzky’s tenure with the team saw consecutive seasons without reaching the post-season, with the team’s struggles to land fruitful prospects contributing to many years of disappointment for fans in the desert.
So what could the Coyotes do if they were able to go back to the 2007 Draft, knowing what they know today?
Original First Pick: Kyle Turris
The Coyotes held the third overall pick in the 2007 Draft, having finished the 06/07 season with a disappointing 31-46-5 record, good for fifth in the Pacific Division.
The team had a number of aging forwards in Yanic Perrault, Jeremy Roenick, and Owen Nolan and needed to continue adding to their young prospect pool to take over from them.
With the third pick in the draft, the Coyotes selected Kyle Turris, who had just completed a 121 point (66 goals, 55 assists) season for the Coquitlam Express of the BCHL.
It was hoped that Turris would be able to continue his impressive goalscoring development after a spell with the University of Wisconsin, whom he registered 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists) in 36 games for following his selection.
Turris earned an assist in a three-game spell with the Coyotes in the year after being drafted before being brought into the NHL team on a full-time basis in the 2007/08 season.
What followed were two seasons of Turris being limited heavily in his usage when brought into the NHL, averaging around 11 and 12 minutes while on the ice respectively, seeing him fail to be much of an offensive spark as a result, peaking at 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in his second professional season.
Sandwiched between those two NHL campaigns was a solid year in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage.
Difficulties in negotiating a new deal with Turris followed, with reports that he had requested a trade and was demanding between $3 million and $4 million a year, despite his lesser role on the team.
He eventually signed a two-year, $1.4 million per deal, having held out for an extensive period. Six games into the 2011/12 season, Turris was traded to the Ottawa Senators for David Rundblad and the Sens’ second-round pick in 2012.
Turris went on to become a regular 20+ goalscorer with the Senators, achieving the potential the Coyotes organization had hoped to see but ultimately let go when it was clear that the relationship between the two wouldn’t work long-term.
NHL Stats: 726GP, 165G-251A (416pts)
Redraft First Pick: Jamie Benn
Whether it was mismanagement that led to Turris’ struggles, if the Coyotes could go back to that pick in 2007 they would still choose to go in a different direction with the third overall selection.
With the pick, the Coyotes would take a guy that originally was overlooked into the fifth round, when the Dallas Stars grabbed him with the 129th pick.
Jamie Benn is a name synonymous with consistency and high quality across his career in the NHL, something that the Coyotes of the mid-to-late 2000s certainly needed.
His development would see him return to juniors for a further two seasons after being drafted, stepping up to the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL after originally being selected from the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies.
The further time spent in juniors did Benn a lot of good, as he hit the ground running once he was brought up to the NHL, scoring 22 goals and hitting 41 points in a full 82-game season in 2009/10.
Before the shortened 2019/20 season, Benn had never dropped below 50 points in a full NHL season, discounting the lockout-shortened 2012/13 campaign.
He has been the captain of the Stars since 2013 and has been one of the top goalscorers in the league with 300 to his name to date.
The Coyotes, if they took a patient approach with Benn as well, could have benefitted greatly from having a player that could partner long-time captain Shane Doan in the latter stages of his career before potentially taking over when he retired, becoming the face of the franchise.
NHL Stats: 814GP, 300G-388A (688 pts)
Original Second Pick: Nick Ross
To go along with their selection of a forward with the third-overall pick, the Coyotes decided to take a defenceman with the 30th overall pick in the form of Nick Ross.
Ross was coming off a decent season with the Regina Pats, registering 31 total points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 70 regular-season games.
After being drafted, Ross’ offensive production improved in juniors in spells split between the Pats and the Kamloops Blazers, but things never worked out when he reached the professional level.
Between 2009 and 2012, Ross bounced between the AHL and ECHL and never lived up to his first-round selection, becoming a bust for the franchise.
He has been a reliable player in several European leagues, playing the majority of his hockey in the EBEL with Austria’s HC Innsbruck.
He registered 40 points in 49 regular-season games during the 2019/20 season while playing for Hungarian club DVTK Jegesmedvék, playing in the Slovakian Extraliga.
NHL Stats: 0GP
Redraft Second Pick: P.K. Subban
While Ross was a truly disappointing selection by the Coyotes, there would be salvation for the franchise if they could travel back to the 2007 Draft, with arguably the best defenceman of the entire draft still being available.
If the team could change that pick, they would undoubtedly select P.K. Subban, who was not selected until the 43rd pick by the Montreal Canadiens.
Subban has been one of the biggest personalities in the entire NHL during his career and during his prime, he was easily one of the best in the game.
Named to three All-Star Games, Subban earned the Norris Trophy as the best defenceman in the NHL after the lockout-shortened 2012/13 season.
He finished third in voting for the Norris two other times in his career in 2015 and 2018 and had multiple seasons with 50+ points, peaking with 60 during the 14/15 campaign.
His form may have dropped off sharply over the past two seasons, but the level he played at for a number of years in Montreal and later with the Nashville Predators, there’s no doubt that the Coyotes would’ve loved to have Subban on their team.
His production, lively character and overall good-guy personality, where he donated $10 million to a hospital in Montreal, makes him the ideal person for the franchise to take in this redrafting, potentially helping the team to attract new, young fans in the long-term as well as having better results on the ice.