John Tavares is ranked No. 2 by NACS. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
I have released our newest rankings for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa (listed at the bottom of this blog) but I also want to focus on next year’s draft that will be held in Montreal.
Much like this year, it should be a deep and solid draft that has big names at the top. I’ll be doing another blog in a couple days that will be addressing a comment that I made a couple months ago about how it can be risky for teams to take players out of the USHL, the NAHL, U.S. High School or Canadian Jr. A.
I feel my opinion needs much more explanation and I think my perspective might be interesting for readers.
2009 NHL Entry Draft Rankings
#1 – Victor Hedman – D - 6’7, 220 Lbs – Modo (SWE)
As much as everyone has called the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the coming out party for OHL phenom John Tavares, at NACS, we currently have Victor Hedman as the best available prospect. He is a 6-foot-7 behemoth with very good feet for his size, a huge wingspan and a little bit of nastiness that keeps his opponents on the wary side. He has developed a booming shot from the point and continued to develop to the point that he is no longer the next Zdeno Chara (which we label every defenseman over 6-foot-6 who has distinct deficiencies in their game) but rather his height is just another plus in a long list of excellent skills and traits that make him a sure-fire NHL stud defender.
#2 – John Tavares – C - 6’1, 205 Lbs. – Oshawa Generals
Some will question our ranking of Tavares because we have been such huge fans of Tavares since his entry into the OHL, but much like in years past, we feel strongly that the opportunity to add a franchise defenseman is far more valuable than a franchise center. His game has been critiqued more than any prospect to ever play the game, but in our eyes, he will become an offensive superstar who will both score and create chances at a high level. His biggest weakness is his skating, but we feel increased leg strength will continue to have him improve to the point where it will be a non-factor. His vision, creativity, hand/eye coordination and imagination will be so good that, much like Crosby and Ovechkin, he will become a marketing centerpiece for whatever team drafts him.
#3 – Jared Cowen – D - 6’5, 215 Lbs. – Spokane Chiefs
Another franchise defenseman who has the whole range of skills is Jared Cowen of the Spokane Chiefs. The former first overall pick in the WHL Draft has developed very nicely and in other years, he could easily be the first overall pick if Hedman and Tavares weren’t late born ‘89s. It is easy to assume at his size he will be very good defensively, but his offensive game has really advanced, which reminds us of Jay Bouwmeester (without quite the foot speed) when he was terrorizing opponents in the WHL. Needless to say, Cowan will have quite the challenge ahead of him if he wants to move up in the rankings, but even if he doesn’t, these three are quite the trifecta to start the ’09 draft.
#4 – Matt Duchene – C - 5’11, 190 Lbs. – Brampton Battalion
The next Stan Butler-coached star heading into the NHL will be Matt Duchene of the Brampton Battalion. The new NHL is very focused on speed and creativity and this kid has these qualities in spades. He is one of the rare young athletes who has the ability to do creative things at full speed, which is very difficult for defensemen of any age to handle. Although the Battalion was ousted in the first round of the OHL playoffs, it wasn’t for the lack of effort of Duchene or his highly coveted teammate for this year’s draft, Cody Hodgson. It should be interesting to watch these two weave their magic over the next couple years.
#5 – Jordan Schroeder – 5’10 – RW, 175 Lbs. – U.S. Under-18s
The first American product in the draft will be the small but supremely talented Jordan Schroeder of the US Under 18 NTDP. Those who watched the World Junior Championship were treated to this kid’s offensive prowess and it was all the more impressive when you factor in he had just turned 17 a few months before heading overseas. In the tourney, he only trailed James van Riemsdyk, the second overall pick last year, and Nikita Filatov, this year’s highly coveted Russian superstar, in scoring. Although his offense is certainly impressive, his competitiveness and grit are also through the roof, which make a great combination for this future Minnesota Golden Gopher.
#6 – Brayden Schenn – F - 6’1, 195 Lbs. – Brandon Wheat Kings
The younger brother of this year’s top 10 pick, Luke Schenn, was the WHL’s leading scorer among rookies this season and his performance at the World Under-17’s was so dominant that it reminded us of Jonathan Toews’ performance during the 2005 championship in Lethbridge. Schenn is talented in the offensive end and he has enough grit from getting beat up by his older brother over the years. That combination will see him become a sure-fire top 10 pick and he has the abilities to certainly jump into the top five before next year’s draft.
#7 – Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi – 6’1 - LW, 195 Lbs. – Timra (SWE)
Another youngster who opened some eyes at this year’s World Junior Championship was the 16-year-old phenom from Sweden. Much has been written over the years about Svensson-Paajarvi and he certainly needs to put on some muscle, but much like Schroeder, he has tremendous offensive abilities. Some have suggested he may be interested in coming to play in the CHL and we would certainly encourage that move because his toughness has been a question mark surrounding him. We feel that he will be fine and the CHL is the league in which he can show it.
#8 – Landon Ferraro – 6’0 – C, 170 Lbs. – Red Deer Rebels
The highly talented son of former NHLer Ray Ferraro is the next in a long line of second-generation stars who grew up around the game and a high hockey IQ is the result. Although Ferraro is talented offensively, it’s the intangibles, competitiveness and leadership of the Red Deer Rebel that is what is most attractive about him as a prospect. His ice time in Red Deer wasn’t as high as he was accustomed to, but we see a lot of Mike Richards in this kid and although we are positive he’ll have a much better statistical season next year, it’s the intangibles that we feel will separate him from the pack as next season progresses.
#9 – Tomas Vincour – 6’2 – RW, 205 Lbs. – Edmonton Oil Kings
The former first overall pick in the 2007 CHL European Import Draft, Vincour had a solid, if not spectacular, rookie season in the WHL. The Oil Kings had a long year and were outgunned most nights, but the big, lanky center led the team in scoring while becoming acclimated to the North American game. We feel he has all of the tools to put it together and have a great sophomore season out west.
#10 – Jimmy Bubnick – 6’2 – C, 195 Lbs. – Kamloops Blazers
We have to admit we had Jimmy Bubnick a little higher in our rankings until we watched him play in the playoffs this year when he struggled noticeably. We knew the Blazers as a whole were severely overmatched by Tri City, but Bubnick looked lost at times. His rookie season was good in general and his highlight of the year would have to have been the Under-17 Championship, where he dominated at times and was a leader on a good Team West. He has a great frame and some good hands and despite a tough orientation into playoff hockey in the Dub, we still feel he will be a top 10 pick in next year’s NHL draft.
Please look for my piece on drafting out of the non-traditional leagues in a few days and until then, thanks for reading.
|1||Steven Stamkos||6'1||183||RC||Sarnia Sting||Feb-90|
|2||Alex Pietrangelo||6'4||202||RD||Niagara IceDogs||Jan-90|
|3||Drew Doughty||6'1||209||LD||Guelph Storm||Dec-89|
|5||Zach Bogosian||6'2||202||RD||Peterborough Petes||Jul-90|
|6||Luke Schenn||6'2||210||RD||Kelowna Rockets||Nov-89|
|7||Kyle Beach||6'3||205||LW||Everett Silvertips||Jan-90|
|8||Colten Teubert||6'3||197||RD||Regina Pats||Mar-90|
|9||Zach Boychuk||5'10||190||LC||Lethbridge Hurricanes||Nov-89|
|10||Colin Wilson||6'1||200||LC||Boston University||Oct-89|
|11||Josh Bailey||6'1||190||LC||Windsor Spitfires||Oct-89|
|12||Cody Hodgson||5'11||185||RC||Brampton Battalion||Feb-90|
|13||Colby Robak||6'3||195||LD||Brandon Wheat Kings||Apr-90|
|14||Michael Del Zotto||6'0||190||LD||Oshawa Generals||Jun-90|
|15||Mikkel Boedker||5'11||200||RW||Kitchener Rangers||Dec-89|
|16||Tyler Cuma||6'1||190||LD||Ottawa 67's||Jan-90|
|17||Tyler Myers||6'7||205||RD||Kelowna Rockets||Feb-90|
|18||Mikhail Stefanovich||6'2||200||RW||Quebec Remparts||Nov-89|
|19||Luca Sbisa||6'2||190||LD||Lethbridge Hurricanes||Jan-90|
|20||Jared Staal||6'3||200||RW||Sudbury Wolves||Aug-90|
|21||Mattias Teddenby||5'9||170||LW||HV 71 Jrs.||Feb-90|
|22||James Livingston||6'2||200||RW||Sault Ste. Marie||Mar-90|
|23||Brandon Burlon||6'1||190||LD||St. Mikes Buzzers||Mar-90|
|25||Cody Goloubef||6'1||180||RD||University of Wisconsin||Nov-89|
|26||Mitch Wahl||5'11||195||RC||Spokane Chiefs||Jan-90|
|28||Kirill Petrov||6'2||220||LW||Ak Bars Kazaan||Apr-90|
|29||A.J. Jenks||6'2||205||LW||Plymouth Whalers||Jun-90|
|30||Philip McRae||6'2||195||LC||London Knights||Mar-90|
|34||Tyler Beskorawany||6'4||205||G||Owen Sound Attack||Apr-90|
|35||Yann Sauve||6'2||215||LD||Saint John Seadogs||Feb-90|
|37||James Wright||6'3||185||LC||Vancouver Giants||Mar-90|
|38||Eric O'Dell||5'11||165||RC||Sudbury Wolves||Aug-90|
|39||Chris Carrozzi||6'3||190||G||St. Michaels Majors||Mar-90|
|40||Greg Nemisz||6'3||200||RC||Windsor Spitfires||Jun-90|
|42||Peter Delmas||6'2||175||G||Lewiston Maineiacs||Feb-90|
|43||Corey Trivino||6'1||170||LC||Stouffville Spirit||Jan-90|
|46||Shawn Lalonde||6'1||175||RD||Belleville Bulls||Mar-90|
|47||Eric Doyle||6'4||190||RD||Swift Current Broncos||Apr-89|
|48||Roman Josi||6'0||186||LD||SC Bern||Jun-90|
|49||Robbie Czarnik||6'1||175||RW||US Under 18's||Jan-90|
|51||Jordan Eberle||5'10||175||RC||Regina Pats||May-90|
|52||Thomas McCollum||6'2||205||G||Guelph Storm||Dec-89|
|53||Mark Barberio||6'1||210||LD||Moncton Wildcats||Mar-90|
|55||Tyler Ennis||5'9||160||LC||Medicine Hat||Oct-89|
|56||David Toews||5'11||180||LW||Shattuck St. Mary's||Jun-90|
|57||Geordie Wudrick||6'2||200||LW||Swift Current Broncos||Apr-90|
|58||Jimmy Hayes||6'5||215||RW||US Under 18's||Nov-89|
|59||Grant Scott||6'4||210||RW||US Under 18's||Jan-90|
|60||Jamie Arniel||5'11||185||RC||Sarnia Sting||Nov-89|
|61||Robert Mayer||6'2||195||G||Saint John||Oct-89|
|62||Joe Colborne||6'5||190||LC||Camrose Kodiaks||Jan-90|
|64||Philip Larsen||6'1||180||RD||Frolunda Jrs.||Dec-89|
|66||Steven West||6'0||195||RD||US Under 18's||Feb-90|
|68||Milan Doczy||6'5||210||RD||Owen Sound||Jan-90|
|69||Michael Stone||6'2||190||RD||Calgary Hitmen||Jun-90|
|70||Justin Florek||6'5||195||LW||US Under 18's||May-90|
|71||Cody St. Jacques||6'0||185||G||Guelph Storm||May-90|
|74||Maxime Sauve||6'0||175||LC||Val D'Or||Jan-90|
|75||Anton Gustafsson||6'3||205||LC||Frolunda Jrs.||Feb-90|
|76||Matt Zarbo||6'2||190||LW||Boston Jr. Bruins||May-90|
|77||Nate Condon||6'0||180||LC||Wassau West||May-90|
|78||Vinny Saponari||6'0||180||RW||US Under 18's||Apr-90|
|79||Stefan Della Rovere||6'0||200||LW||Barrie Colts||Feb-90|
|81||Adam Henrique||6'0||185||LC||Windsor Spitfires||Feb-90|
|82||Michael D'Orazio||6'0||205||RD||Owen Sound||Aug-89|
|85||Chris Doyle||6'0||200||LC||PEI Rocket||Mar-90|
|88||Danny Kristo||5'11||175||RW||US Under 18's||Jun-90|
|91||Mark Cundari||5'11||200||LD||Windsor Spitfires||Apr-90|
|93||Dmitri Kugryshev||5'10||190||LW||CSKA 2||Jan-90|
|95||Aaron Ness||5'11||190||LD||Roseau HS||May-90|
|96||Brian Lashoff||6'3||195||LD||Barrie Colts||Jul-90|
|97||Harry Young||6'5||210||LD||Windsor Spitfires||Nov-89|
|100||Jordan Southorn||6'2||190||LD||PEI Rocket||May-90|
Mark Seidel is the chief scout for North American Central Scouting and appears as a host on Leafs Lunch on AM 640 radio in Toronto.