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The Ducks came close to drafting Erik Karlsson in 2008
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

The draft is an inexact science. It’s impossible to predict 100% what a player’s career will be like when he’s just 18. This gives rise to many stories of incredible players being selected further down the line than they should have been.

This is exactly the case with Erik Karlsson, who was drafted 14th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2008.

Except that he wasn’t supposed to end up in Ottawa’s hands, as Alain Chainey explained during his appearance on the Sick Podcast on Tuesday evening.

Chainey acted as the Anaheim Ducks’ amateur draft director during the 2008 draft. Anaheim had the 12th overall pick of the draft.

According to Chainey, his entire team saw Erik Karlsson being drafted in the top 10. When they saw he wasn’t selected near the 12th pick, Chainey asked general manager Brian Burke to select him.

Burke was not at all convinced by Karlsson’s selection and even refused to draft him because the defenseman was too small, in his opinion. The Swedish defenseman measured 5 feet 10 inches at the time of the draft.

The GM therefore decided to back out of the draft, sending the 12th pick to the Los Angeles Kings in return for the 17th and 28th picks of the auction.

The Senators took advantage and traded up to acquire the 15th overall pick. They selected Karlsson, who went on to become one of the best players in the draft, winning the Norris Trophy three times.

With the 17th pick, the Ducks selected Jake Gardiner, who didn’t have a bad career, but certainly didn’t measure up to Karlsson.

Anaheim then traded the 28th pick for two second-round selections who became Nicolas Deschamps and Eric O’Dell. Yikes… not very incredible.

Yet another story that goes awry because we don’t want to draft small players.

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