1. New York Islanders: (C) John Tavares (OHL)
Not much of a debate here. The Isles are certain to take Tavares unless management once again decides to screw around with their top pick and trade it away for more picks (which I doubt).
Scouting report: He has great vision and anticipates plays before they develop. Has excellent offensive ability, with a quick hard accurate shot and is a threat to score anytime he has the puck.
Player comparison: Joe Sakic
2. Tampa Bay Lightning: (D) Victor Hedman (Sweden)
Tampa already has two franchise Centers in Vinny Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos, so they should pass on Matt Duchene, and really any other forward. Tampa is a team that can use a franchise D-man more than anyone, and the obvious choice here is the best available defenseman which is Victor Hedman.
Scouting report: Victor Hedman is one of the fastest, smoothest skating d-men around, the irony in this is that he comes in at around 6’7″ and 230lbs. He has excellent offensive instincts, which makes sure that he gets involved in the play frequently.
Player comparison: Jay Bouwmeester
3. Colorado Avalanche: (C) Matt Duchene (OHL)
Colorado can use some defense more than offense in my opinion, but I don’t see them drafting a d-man so high at the 3 spot because the ones that will be available don’t warrant that high of a pick. Duchene is the next best available player, and with Joe Sakic’s future up in the air, Colorado can use another franchise center to go along with Paul Stastny. And who better to draft than a player that grew up an Avs fan?
Scouting report: Has great hands and possesses one the best shots in the OHL, with a very quick release. Is a decent passer and among the best skaters in the 2009 draft class, who can accelerate to top speed in no time.
Player comparison: Martin Havlat
4. Atlanta Thrashers: (C) Evander Kane (WHL)
If any team could use another legit center on their team and in their prospect pool it is Atlanta. I doubt they’ll pass on Kane with the 4th pick considering he will be the best available at that position assuming Duchene goes.
Scouting report: Evander is a great skater who plays on both ends of the ice. Has an excellent shot shot and above average playmaking ability.
Player comparison: Zach Parise
5. Los Angeles Kings: (C/W) Brayden Schenn (WHL)
L.A will probably stay away from drafting another D-man with their top pick this year. I also see them staying away from drafting an only winger (Magnus Paajarvi) considering they traded for a top 6 one at the deadline this past season (Justin Williams) at the expense of a young center (Pat O’Sullivan). I see them taking the high character player in Schenn who can also play wing if need be.
Scouting report: Schenn has a knack for making plays from where most players would have given up on the puck; he wants control of the game and is not afraid to take it. Works hard for his goals, but makes it look very easy. Equipped with a high-end skill set, Schenn is also quite capable of dealing with rough play and will drop the gloves with anyone who tests him.
Player comparison: Mike Richards
6. Phoenix Coyotes: (D) Jared Cowen (WHL)
Phoenix has a ton of young forward prospects already playing at the NHL level with a pretty thin defense to back it up, so I think they’ll pass up on the best available forward with their pick. Their are about 3 or 4 solid defenseman Phoenix can choose from and I see them going with the big man Cowen.
Scouting report: A massive (6’5, 215 lbs) defenseman. He uses his size well and plays with an edge to his game. What makes him a very interesting prospect is that he also skates well and can handle the puck.
Player comparison: Zdeno Chara
7. Toronto Maple Leafs: (LW) Magnus Pajaarvi-Svensson (SWE)
If you’ve been paying attention lately to all of this draft talk around the league, you know the Leafs GM Brian Burke has stated he is trying to move up in the draft as high as possible. Well, let’s assume Toronto picks at their spot, I see them going with the best available player which would be MPS. Burke has a history of drafting big skilled players, so this works out perfect for them.
If I had to predcit what Toronto could (or only) possibly do at draft day it would be a trade with L.A. Then Toronto could move down 2 spots and draft Brayden Schenn – the brother of already Leafs prospect/player Luke Schenn.
Scouting report: An Extremely fast and fluid skater, and quite possibly the second best player in the 2009 draft. His defensive game is not anywhere near the quality of his offensive game. Although he’s got a great physical makeup, his style of play shys away from the physical stuff. Aside from that he’s a tremendous playmaker and stout goalscorer.
Player comparison: Markus Naslund
8. Dallas Stars: (D) Oliver Ekman-Larsson (SWE)
I think Dallas will be looking for an offensive defenseman (or at least a skating d-man) with their top pick now with Zubov’s future in question, and really no top end offensive D-man in their system. If we’re talking pure offense right now, Ryan Ellis is arguably the best in this draft at that position, but his size hurts his stock. Larsson can turn out to be a top pairing all around offensive d-man in the near future. He has lots of upside.
Scouting report: A very mobile defenseman with an impressive skating technique. Ekman-Larsson is blessed with good hockey sense, soft hands and impressive puck control. He is a good passer. Could improve his release. He also needs to add more strength and play more physical.
Player comparison: Tom Poti
9. Ottawa Senators: (C) Nazem Kadri (OHL)
Ottawa is very hard to predict because they are lacking in a few areas in overall depth. They can use a defender, a winger and even a fresh center. My gut says if Kadri is available to them with the 9th pick they will take him because he may be the best available player, or at least the player with the biggest upside.
Scouting report: He has the ability to read the play around him quite well and react quickly. He possesses a decent shot for his size, but is more of a slick playmaker.
Player comparison: Scott Gomez
10. Edmonton Oilers: (C/W) Scott Glennie (WHL)
My gut says Edmonton will stay away from drafting a d-man because to me they look to be ok in that area for now. The Oilers are in need of a versatile playmaking/scoring center, and Glennie fits that role. like his Teammate Brayden Schenn, Glennie can play both wing and center.
Scouting report: Glennie has amazing speed and has a higher offensive capability then teammate Brayden Schenn. He does lack somewhat in the defensive aspect in his game, but even so he is found killing penalties. Scott Glennie will be a great player though, and his ability to create chances through his speed and his ability to put the puck in the net will see him through in the first round in Montreal this June.
Player comparison: Nathan Horton
Close calls: Ryan Ellis, Dmitry Kulikov, Jordan Schroeder