NHL Draft: Tavares or Hedman?

Jabber HeadSenior Analyst IJune 26, 2009

The 2009 NHL Draft is June 26, 2009 at 7:00 PM!

The terrible NY Islanders have the first pick, and they look to turn their franchise around.  GM Garth Snow will be forced to decide between the marketable John Tavares or the Beast Defensemen Victor Hedman.

Since John Tavares was 14 years old, he’s been anointed the next one, and the consensus number one pick when his time came around. He tried to get into the NHL last year (his birthday is just after the cut off date), but the NHL ruled he wasn’t allowed. 

The New York Islanders need someone like Tavares; someone that can get people to come out to the Nassau Coliseum and watch a game. They need someone who can make the Collesium feel like a home ice advantage, rather than a place where its an easy ticket to see the Devils, Rangers, Penguins, or Flyers. 

Tavares is that man; he is a marketers' dream. Think Sidney Crosby, just not as good.  But does he have what the Islanders need on the ice?

If the Islanders snag Tavares at number one, they can start forming a pretty solid offensive corps. Throw Tavares out there with Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey and you have a solid line, all of which are under 22 years old. 

Add Doug Weight up front and Mark Streit on the blue line and you could have a solid combination, especially if goalie Rick DiPietro can ever stay healthy.

Victor Hedman could be a shut down defensemen in the NHL

Victor Hedman could be a shut down defensemen in the NHL

Victor Hedman, however, could be the next Zdeno Chara, just a bit shorter.  At 6'6", Hedman is on track to be a physical presence in the NHL. His puck moving ability is exceptional and his skating is terrific.

Hedman could be a great addition to a defensive corps that has struggled against the high flying teams in the Atlantic Division. 

Hedman could contribute to shutting down the likes of Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Zach Parise, and some jokes from the Rangers who are overpaid (I’m looking at you Gomez). 

Hedman is likely the right choice for the Islanders. A rule of thumb when building a franchise is to build from the goalie out. The Isles have the goalie in DiPietro (and on a good cap hit, $4.5 mil) if he can ever stay healthy. The addition of Hedman would only solidify the Isles as an up and coming team.

If I’m General Manager Garth Snow, I would pick Hedman, then go out on the free agent market with my $25 million+ in available cap space and try to lure the Sedin twins or at least one big name scorer to New York. 

It's much harder to come by a shut down defensemen like Hedman than it is a scoring winger (see: Dany Heatley).

But all of this might not matter if the Isles really want to pick Matt Duchene??

Leave us a comment and tell us who you think the Isles will take with the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft

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