Hawks wouldn't have had Malkin! So that isn't a fair comparision.
Would you have rather had
Barker- Crosby- ? (Not likely Toews) - ? (No chance at Kane)
Barker- Skille - Toews - Kane
I may sound like a homer but i will go with Option #2 anyday
I like Kane and Toews, especially Toews, but i would rather have Crosby over both easily and i'm not going to even consider the like of Barker + something vs Barker + Skille to be anything worth been the difference maker (it shouldnt imo).
If there were no new rules im sure Buffalo would have been in trouble, even with Briere, Drury, Dumont, Max etc... they're all fast players and pre-lockout rules didnt do much good for the them (besides Drury)
Possibly Buffalo, Pittsburgh could be in another city
My guess Philly would have won the Cup over Calgary
Straying away from the team-based projections, I think 2004/05 would have been Kovalchuk's best chance to collect some serious hardware at the Awards ceremony. He had just come off winning the Rocket Richard and finishing 2nd in the Art Ross race; Heatley was back healthy; Savard was improving every year; no Crosby to contend with; Ovechkin was only 18; etc.
It looked to be the brief moment in time where the older generational talents were winding down, and the next generational talents were yet to make their mark. The Hart, Art Ross and Rocket Richard were ripe for the picking that year…
Couple things about Malkin, Crosby, Toews, Kane, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
1)Malkin was drafted in 2004 and played his rookie season in 06-07. he has no relevance in this thread.
2)It almost definately wouldve worked out that had the hawks drafted Crosby, they still would be picking in the top-3 in 2005. Pittsburgh did with Crosby, and maybe even had a chance at Kane the next year as well. Chicago didn't have the prospects that Pittsburgh had at that point in time. (Malkin, Fleury, Whitney)
No way does Joe Thornton end up on the Sharks. I'm not sure he would have had the breakout season that he did in 05-06 without the league's emphasis on ridding obstruction.
Probably not but the Sharks would've hung on to Vinny Damphousse instead of letting him go to the Avs because they were banking on a lockout, personnel-wise for whatever reason. They would've been a Cup contender with Sturm-Marleau-Damphousse and Ekman-McCauley-Korolyuk and Thornton-Ricci-Cheechoo all being very good offensive contributors. That team was a solid group of players that had balance everywhere. Another crack in the playoffs with the high they were coming off of with that come-from-nowhere run and they might've never had the label that people place on them.