Quest For The Holy Grail: The John Tavares Sweepstakes (NHL 2009 Entry Draft)

Christopher RockContributor IMarch 25, 2009

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 3:  John Tavares #19 of Team Canada scores his shootout attempt on Vadim Zhelobnyuk #1 of Team Russia during the semifinals at the IIHF World Junior Championships at the Ottawa Civic Centre on January 03, 2009 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Team Canada defeated Team Russia 6-5 in a shootout.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)



This time of year, when you think of the Quest for the Holy Grail, you think of a gruelling Cup run to have players' names of the victorious team engraved on the chalice of Lord Stanley.

On April 14, however, the Holy Grail is the prize position of the winner of the NHL 2009 Entry Draft lottery—John Tavares.  

If you happened to forget just how talented this kid is, take a look at the above video clip of a goal scored at this past year's WJC.

Coming into this hockey season, hockey experts projected Victor Hedman would likely be the first-overall selection this June. An elite D-man with mammoth size and outstanding skill, he's the type of guy you can build a franchise around.

While that may very well still be the case, Tavares has risen atop of this year's draft crop and is now the consensus number-one pick. The elite centerman is the Next "Next One"!

Tavares has just recently shattered the OHL all-time goals record with 215, after sniping a hat-trick on Mar. 8 in a London Knights 4-3 victory over the league-leading Windsor Spitfires.

As of March 23, here's a look at the teams with the highest projected percentage chance of landing Tavares—that is, the first-overall pick in the 2009 Entry Draft (courtesy of TSN's Lottery Lookout ):


Team (Percentage Chance of Winning):

1. New York Islanders (25 percent)

2. Tampa Bay Lightning (18.8 percent)

3. Colorado Avalanche (14.2 percent)

4. Atlanta Thrashers (10.7 percent)

5. Phoenix Coyotes (8.1 percent)

6. Los Angeles Kings (6.2 percent)

7. Toronto Maple Leafs (4.7 percent)

8. Dallas Stars (3.6 percent)

9. Ottawa Senators (2.7 percent)

10. St. Louis Blues (2.1 percent)

The Islanders could use a potential franchise player like Tavares to help try and turn this team around. The Lightning, with Vinny and Stamkos already patrolling the middle, might be tempted to grab D-man Hedman even if they win the draft lottery.

One thing is for certain—the winner of all the losers will be one thrilled franchise!

Stay tuned as The Hockey Spy infiltrates the amateur hockey ranks to uncover in depth previews, prospect profiles, rankings and mock drafts via Eagle Eye Scouting - your source for inside coverage of the NHL 2009 Entry Draft.