Welcome everybody, and thank you for reading.
The 2009 NHL Draft is promising to be one that is very deep in top end talent that will extend to roughly the top eight picks. After that, the talent level drops off a bit, and that level of talent lasts until about pick number twenty two.
After that, however, there is not that huge of a drop off in talent until the end of the second round. Teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders that have multiple picks in the first three rounds are going to come away with a lot of high level talent.
Compared to last year, I do not see as many trades involving first round picks. However, that does not mean that they will not happen.
Expect the normal one or two spots trade ups/trade downs, with maybe one or two teams trading a few spots up from their original slot. Given the talent available in the top 10 picks, the teams possessing those picks will probably not want to part with them unless they are offered a deal that the GM simply can’t refuse.
With only a week away until the draft, I hope you are as anxious as I am for what should be another exciting and interesting draft. Enjoy guys!
1. New York Islanders - John Tavares (C)
There has been a lot of controversy and hype about the top two prospects in the draft. Tavares has been touted as one of the top prospects for his age group since he entered the OHL as a 15 year old.
However, Swedish phenom Victor Hedman, the towering 6’6” defenseman has also made a decent claim to be selected first overall. My opinion?
The Islanders cannot afford to not take Tavares. Although I am personally a believer in building a successful team from the goal out, the organization needs a face for the franchise that will put people in the seats.
Tavares can do just that. Although Tavares’ skating and agility have been criticized, his great hockey sense, superb stickhandling, and lethal shot do more than make up for his shortcomings. The bust factor exists, but I believe Tavares has what it takes to be a great player in this league.
Comparable: Mike Bossy
2. Tampa Bay Lightning - Victor Hedman (D)
This one is a no brainer. The guy can skate like Bouwmeester, has the on-ice presence of Pronger, and oh yeah, he can play some defense too.
Victor Hedman, at 18 years old, is 6’6” and 220 pounds; I’m scared to think about what kind of player he will be 10, or even 5 years from now. The only knock on Hedman is that he can stand to use his body to his benefit more.
His defensive awareness is top notch, and his skating and agility are tailor-made for the modern NHL. If he comes over from Sweden to play in the NHL next season, Hedman will instantly become the second best defenseman on the team, and could perhaps finish the season as the best when all is said and done. Not bad for an 18 year old defenseman.
Comparable: Chris Pronger
3. Colorado Avalanche - Matt Duchene (C)
Brampton Battalion forward Matt Duchene has seen his stock rise substantially in the past year. He is perhaps the best all around player in this draft.
He really can do it all; skate, stickhandle, shoot, and play defense. Duchene may need to fill out a bit more from his 5’11” 185 pound frame, but I feel his explosiveness more than makes up for his lanky body.
He is my personal pick to become one of the best players picked in this draft, and I believe that the Avalanche organization and their fans should be ecstatic to have him.
Comparable: Marian Gaborik
4. Atlanta Thrashers - Evander Kane (C/LW)
GM Don Waddell has publicly stated that Atlanta will pick either Duchene, Kane, or Schenn with their 4th overall pick. With Duchene likely off the board, Kane seems like the best