Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs 2005 NHL Entry Draft Retrospective

Past Retrospectives: 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004

The 2005 NHL Entry Draft was memorable for two reasons: One, Sidney Crosby was drafted, and two, it came right on the tail-end of a full-season lockout, meaning all 30 positions in the first round were determined by a lottery. That also meant one of the best rookie classes ever entered the league in 2005-06, including Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Thomas Vanek, Jeff Carter, Dion Phaneuf and Alex Steen.

Here’s who the Toronto Maple Leafs picked that year:

Leafs 2005 Draft

And how they ended up producing at the NHL level compared to the rest of the league:


Total NHL GP
Total NHL Points
Total NHL SV%
Maple Leafs4/66091220.928
Capitals 2/718340N/A
Red Wings4/9874249N/A
Blue Jackets5/813693090.929


Four out of the six Leafs picks have played in the NHL, but only two of those have had careers of any kind: Tuukka Rask and Anton Stralman. Like so many picks before them, however, both were traded away in ill-advised deals. Stralman has carved out a nice role on the Stanley Cup Final-qualifying New York Rangers’ blue-line and should parlay that into a nice free-agent deal in the offseason. Rask is one of the best goalies in the world, sporting a .928 career save percentage.

Top Three Picks

3. Jack Johnson, Carolina Hurricanes

Jack Johnson is a very polarizing hockey player. If you look at his team’s shot-attempt differential when he’s on the ice, he looks like a horrible hockey player. One of the worst in the league, even. Yet, a lot of people in the “hockey world” still maintain he’s a very good defenseman, as is obvious from the comments of management types around the league including Brian Burke and Dean Lombardi. The question is, if Johnson is a great defenseman, why has he been traded so often in his career? The Hurricanes shipped him to Los Angeles before he had even played an NHL game. In 2012, the Kings traded him to the Blue Jackets along with a first-round pick for Jeff Carter. The Kings obviously haven’t missed him, as they went on to win the Cup that year and have been a juggernaut ever since. He’s still put up some pretty decent offensive numbers in his career, scoring 30-plus points in the four seasons he’s played at least 80 games. He’s definitely an interesting player to watch moving forward, as he still hasn’t lived up to the enormous hype surrounding him when he was drafted out of the University of Michigan.

2. Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks

Burke, then the general manager of the Ducks, took Johnson’s fellow American, Ryan, with the second overall pick when he lost to the Penguins in the Crosby Lottery. In that ESPN piece chronicling the selection of USA’s Olympic team I linked to above, Burke says the Ducks “should have taken” Johnson over Ryan in the ’05 draft. It’s a very strange thing to say, as Ryan became a four-time 30-goal scorer for the Ducks. Concerns about “intensity” aside, Ryan is an extremely talented hockey player who scores a ton of goals. As a Leafs fan, seeing him on the Ottawa Senators terrifies me and as a Canadian, I fully supported the decision to leave him off the US. Olympic team.

1. Sidney Crosby

With apologies to Jonathan Toews and Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar or whomever the mainstream media wants to anoint The Best Player In The Game today, Sidney Crosby is very clearly the only viable choice for that title. Critics like to squeal about his one-goal performance in this year’s playoffs, but that totally ignores his eight assists in 13 games and his well-over-a-point-per-game playoff pace over his career. Besides, it’s hard to score when you’ve got Brendan Gibbons on your wing. At the ripe age of 26, Crosby has won virtually everything you can in hockey. Surrounding him and teammate Evgeni Malkin with quality depth players will go a long way in determining if the Penguins can be a perennial Stanley Cup contender.

2005 NHL All-Draft Teams

First Team

C- Sidney Crosby

RW- Bobby Ryan

LW- James Neal

D- Marc-Edouard Vlasic

D- Keith Yandle

G- Carey Price

Second Team

C- Anze Kopitar

RW- T.J. Oshie

LW- Justin Abdelkader

D- Kris Letang

D- Marc Staal

G- Tuukka Rask

Draft info retrieved from HockeyDB and player stats retrieved from Hockey-Reference.

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Tags: 2005 NHL Entry Draft Anton Stralman Sidney Crosby Toronto Maple Leafs Tuukka Rask

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