2009 NHL Draft Debate: Tavares, Hedman, and Duchene; Offense v. Defense

steve savinoContributor IApril 24, 2009

OSHAWA, ON - JANUARY 14:  John Tavares #91 of Team Orr gets set to jump on the ice in the 2009 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game against Team Cherry on Wednesday January 14, 2009 at the General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ontario. Team Orr defeated Team Cherry 6-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The horse is dead, ladies and gentleman, but people keep coming out with their sticks willing to give it another whack.

Ther referenced equine is, of course, the debated upcoming NHL Draft, which is so far one of the most talked-about drafts in recent memory. There's just so much debate over who to pick up front. 

For the most part, over the past two years there's been a consensus that the top two players are John Tavares and Victor Hedman, and Tavares has gotten the majority of the nods for No. 1 overall. 

But all of a sudden, Matt Duchene is peeking in, and one scouting service actually has him in the top two.

Today, scouting rankings seem to change as much as TSN's power rankings; players are moving each week depending on their performance in each previous game.

Hey, while everyone else is having fun, I might as well give the corpse a smack myself. 

Tavares or Hedman is No. 1, and everyone else is debateable. With John and Victor both ready to step into the NHL right now, you can draft one or the other according to your needs.

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From the Islanders' standpoint, Tavares must be the choice, especially considering what the team needs on the ice. The extra celebration, publicity, hype, and fan appreciation that would follow would all just be an added bonus; they're nice intangibles, but the Isles want him for what he'd do.

Now, I just want to clear up one major issue regarding the personal opinions of bloggers. I keep hearing, "You win championships with defense."

This is a true statement, as most championships are won through a great defense. However, you must read into this sentence: It says defense, not defensemen.

We're speaking of winning through great defense, as in overall team defense.  This is not something that comes from one defenseman. 

That being said, it is not a great reason for teams to go with Hedman over Tavares. If you want to get technical, a great offensive player plays most of the game in the offensive zone, thereby cutting down the actual time the team actually plays defense.  

But in conclusion, I will refer back to my previous advice: Go with your team's biggest need, as either of these players will be able to make an immediate impact. 

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