2003 NHL Draft: Impacting The Blackhawks’ Cup Run A Decade Later

The 2003 NHL Draft is regarded by most analysts to be the best in league history. All-Stars, Olympic medalists, Stanley Cup champions and future Hall of Famers were all over that summer’s Draft, and the Blackhawks Cup victory on Monday night was impacted by the team’s top two picks.

Seabrook 2003

Chicago’s first selection in the 2003 Draft was the 14th overall pick. Consider for a moment the names that came off the board before the Blackhawks were on the clock:

  1. Pittsburgh – Marc-Andre Fleury, G
  2. Carolina – Eric Staal, F
  3. Florida – Nathan Horton, F
  4. Columbus – Nikolai Zherdev, F
  5. Buffalo – Thomas Vanek, F
  6. San Jose – Milan Michalek, F
  7. Nashville – Ryan Suter, D
  8. Atlanta – Braydon Coburn, D
  9. Calgary – Dion Phaneuf, D
  10. Montreal – Andrei Kostitsyn, F
  11. Philadelphia – Jeff Carter, F
  12. NY Rangers – Hugh Jessiman, F
  13. Los Angeles – Dustin Brown, F

Horton, of course, faced the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final as a member of the Bruins. The Hawks also eliminated Suter with Minnesota and, with Los Angeles, Carter and Brown.

Three of the forwards taken in the top 13 picks have already reached 200 career NHL goals (Staal, Vanek and Carter), while Horton (198) and Brown (181) will likely reach the mark next year.

With that 14th overall selection, the Blackhawks selected Brent Seabrook out of the WHL. It wasn’t an easy decision, though; still available when the Blackhawks made their selection were fellow first round picks Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry.

Seabrook, of course, has had a fantastic career with the Hawks so far. He has an Olympic gold medal and two Stanley Cup championships, and is one of the highest paid defensemen in the league.

However, the two selections made by Philadelphia in the first round of that year’s draft also impacted the Blackhawks’ Cup wins in both 2010 and 2013.

When the Flyers selected both Carter and Richards, they overloaded their system with depth at center. After winning the Calder Cup during the lockout, the Flyers decided to part ways with another center in their organization the following year.

Patrick Sharp was a victim of circumstances in Philly, but has will receive a second Cup ring later this summer.

Selecting Seabrook and trading for Sharp aren’t the only two significant pieces added to the Hawks during that incredible draft.

If the talent in the first round of that year’s class was impressive, the second round makes the class more amazing. Before the Blackhawks made their second selection in that draft, Dallas selected forward Loui Eriksson (33), Boston selected Patrice Bergeron (45), San Jose selected Matt Carle (47) and Nashville picked Shea Weber only three spots ahead of the Hawks at 49th overall.

With the 52nd overall selection, the Hawks picked goaltender Corey Crawford out of the QMJHL. In case you missed the last few weeks, Crawford just a completed magnificent postseason.


The Hawks had another second round pick, and used the 59th overall selection on Michal Barinka; St. Louis selected David Backes three picks later, and Detroit selected Jimmy Howard with the 64th overall pick.

There were a number of other players that have impacted the two Chicago Cup runs selected in 2003. Philadelphia selected Colin Fraser with the first pick of the third round (69th overall), and Pittsburgh selected Daniel Carcillo with the 73rd overall pick.

In the seventh round in 2003, the Sharks picks Joe Pavelski at 205th overall, only a few picks before the Blackhawks selected another netminder, Mike Brodeur, at 211th overall. Three selections after Brodeur, Edmonton selected center Kyle Brodziak, who faced the Hawks as a key member of the Wild in the first round of this postseason.

While the NHL Draft is now limited to seven rounds, that wasn’t the case in 2003. In the middle of the eighth round, with the 245th overall selection, the Blackhawks selected defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.

A few familiar names that came off the board after Byfuglien include defenseman Shane O’Brien (250), forward Matt Moulson (263), goaltender Jaroslav Halak (271), forward David Jones (288) and goaltender Brian Elliot (291).

Between now and the end of the week when the 2013 NHL Draft is completed, a lot will be said about the historic Class of 2003. It was an all-time great group of prospects, and the Blackhawks have benefitted from that year’s draft as much as any team in the league.

6 thoughts on “2003 NHL Draft: Impacting The Blackhawks’ Cup Run A Decade Later

  • June 26, 2013 at 2:34 am

    That was a crazy good draft…we did just fine with Seabrook and Craword (and Big Buff), but had we taken some of the other players mentioned, say Parisie and Weber, that would have been fine too.

    Insanely good draft.

  • June 26, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Hey guys, I have been on vacation in South Carolina, but I got to watch the games…including the amazingly awesome end to Game 6. Think about this…Dave Bolland is now one of a couple handful of players with a cup clinching goal.

    I am going to post some thoughts here so as to not jump back in previous threads, but the finals performance was awesome and I seriously wonder if this team wasn’t better than the 10 cup team (2 cups in 4 years…OMG). The only line I would definitely take from the previous cup team over the comparison 13 lines is 3 because I love Laad so much, but then I am trading away Saad and Shaw…that is really tough. What an amazing performance.

    Crawford on not getting the Conn Smythe…At least Kane knew he probably got a gift. Crawford ended up beating 3 goalies who were supposedly “better” than he. The Blackhawks team defense helped this out, but Crawford still took on a lot of responsibility that he didn’t have last year. Sr. Brad’s point about the forwards leaving some point shots is really insightful and one I didn’t notice until he pointed out. As long as Slava Voynov (6 years, 25 mil ext. with LA…they won’t be the same team next year because that is going to force some offense out…) wasn’t shooting those point shots, we were good. I think people remember Niemi being great because he could stand on his head and just sprawl out and make some unbelievable saves. I think Crawford made some pretty good ones too, he just had better “goalie form”. When he lost his net or had to go side to side, he couldn’t stop everything (but neither could Howard or Rask). Which brings me to the final point and why I like Crawford. Crawford got a lot of the blame, especially on Game 4…which he ended up winning, and took it like a man. Said he had to play better. Rask gave up 6 goals and didn’t get near the same criticism and when he did he blamed his teammates or said the better team would have won with more time. What a punk. Crawford was sound, played great, and will now have his name on the Cup.

    NBC’s coverage: I honestly think Doc Emrick and Eddie O are all right. Pierre McGuire is ridiculous and bates Eddie O into spewing how great not only the Bruins are, but also the Blackhawks. I wouldn’t mind if Pierre is changed. Mike Milbury is awful and after the Islanders GM experiment, he should have had to vacate anything to do with hockey.

    Finally, to this article. The 2003 draft looks amazing. And its incredible how successful it has been and also how much the Blackhawks have benefitted from/had to beat players in this draft. Tab, your article on Sharp and the Flyers is one of my favorite ever on the site. I read it often to remind myself how much of a crap shoot hockey really is. I am so glad to be a current Chicago Blackhawks fan because teams like the Flyers, Rangers, Canucks, Sharks always seem to be chasing Cups and not building towards them (which the Blackhawks used to do). I think you can get lucky to win a Cup (Hurricans, Ducks, Kings in recent memory), but building towards them can provide fans so much more joy. The Hawks just won their second cup in 4 years and we all need to enjoy it, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Hawks get another one in the next 5-10 years because they are being built the right way similarly to the Devils and Red Wings over the past 15-20 years. Teams like the Flyers always seem to be spending big money and are big disappointments. Think about this, they let traded one of their best players to Columbus (Jeff Carter) only to follow this up with trading their CAPTAIN to LA (Mike Richards). The team had just lost the Stanley Cup the previous year. They give a huge contract to Pronger, but must not spend a ton on Doctors to check players before giving them money. The Flyers then tried to make up for this by signing Weber to a massive offer sheet that would have cap crunched them for years. They also used money from the trades of Carter and Richards to sign Bryzgalov to a massive deal…whom they just amnestied because they would rather have Steve Mason as their goalie. I guess I do not know what the Flyers cap situation was after 2010, but look at the different paths of these franchises in 4 short years. The Hawks have a second cup and a bright future while trying to watch out for/capitalize on the luck of the Hockey Gods. The Flyers have the world’s best player in Claude Giroux.

  • June 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Excellent thoughts Peter.

  • June 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Ok… im gunna start the Draft speculating… lol

    I really like what I’ve seen of Jordan Subban. Most mocks have him going in the middle of the 2nd, so I have a good belief he wont go top 29. I like the pedigree, and (granted he would say this regardless if its true or not) P.K thinks Jordan has the potential to be better than him. I guess we will see.

    Names I’ve seen mocked to us include Fowards JT Compher, Nic Petan, and Emile Poirier, and Defencemen Shea Theodore, Josh Morrisey.

    Since we dont have a 2nd or 3rd round pick, i wonder if we will look at moving back to aquire additional picks. Otherwise, it seems like the “experts” are all over the place on who they think will be the choice @ 30.

  • June 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    The mention of Buff being taken in a later round has me wondering. After the draft, are any other eligible players that went undrafted considered free agents? Can they be signed or do they have to wait until drafted. Hope it’s not a stupid question I’m just ignorant on the subject.

  • June 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Tim G I doubt Stan takes Subban in the 1st Rd. I could see them taking a kid like De La Rose a Bigras or evan Petan. I could also see him trading a player or 2 to get picks.
    He was on the radio here in Chicago and reading between the lines it sounds like he’s looking for players that will be ready down the line. That and he’s looking for players from Rockford to fill the roster next year.
    The thing I find interesting is with the new cap and teams buying out players to get within the cap. Is this an opportunity for the Hawks to cherry pick a player that will already be making his money and will now take a lower amount to play for a cup.
    Not that I think the Hawks will do that, but it opens a new realm of possibilities.

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