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2009 NHL Draft Rankings

Tavares_Hedman It's time for our very own 2009 NHL Draft Rankings... often imitated, never duplicated... ok, maybe that's a bit of a stretch since everyone and their sister has put out their draft rankings but we have a soft spot in our heart for our own, but perhaps we're a little biased. 

Below we give you our top 10 players for Friday's NHL Entry Draft.  Combine this with our 2009 Consolidated NHL Draft Rankings where we give you the top 30 prospects based on all the major rankings and then our 2009 Fantasy Draft Rankings where we rank all the draft eligibles from a fantasy hockey perspective... and you've got a real smorgasbord of draft rankings to chew on... enjoy!

1. John Tavares (OHL - London Knights)

Vital Stats

Pos.: C

Ht.: 6' 0"

Wt.: 195 lbs

Commentary: John Tavares has been in the hockey media spotlight ever since his early teens so it seems almost surreal that he has yet to begin his NHL career. The all-time leading OHL goal scorer and two-time winner of the IIHF U20 World Championship, Tavares' offensive skills put him heads and tails above the rest of the 2009 hockey prospects. According to some scouts, Tavares' greatest gift is his hands with some saying they're the best they've seen in the past 10 to 15 years. The only drawback to Tavares is his skating, as he doesn't possess game-breaking speed. That being said, his puck skills are so good that he can literally slow the game down to his liking and take over a game on his own. Another strong point to Tavares is the fact that because he's been in the media spotlight so long, he's had to learn how to handle media pressure which will serve him well as he begins his NHL career.

Strengths: Vision, hands, shot, finishing ability.

Weaknesses: Skating, defense.

Ranking: ISS (#1), CSB (#1 NA), THN (#1), FHS C-Rank (#1)

Videos: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=john+tavares+hockey&aq=f

Likely to play in NHL in 2009/10?: Yes

 

Check out the rest of the lists after the jump...

 

2. Victor Hedman (SEL - Modo )

Vital Stats

Pos.: D

Ht.: 6' 6"

Wt.: 220 lbs

Commentary: Victor Hedman is a man amongst boys and he's been playing against men for the past two years in the Swedish Elite League. Possessed with sublime skating skills and a terrific first-pass, Hedman is the epitome of a puck-moving defenseman. His defensive skills are nothing to sneeze at either, as he can rub guys out with a clean check or simply play a strong positional game and use his tremendous wing-span to swat pucks away from opposing players. Many scouts have said that a player like Hedman only comes along once in a generation and we find that hard to argue with. A 6'6", 220 lb monster who can skate like the wind, has tremendous vision and intelligence, and can mix it up both offensively and defensively: that's near impossible to find. Hedman is the type of player who'll eat 25-30 minutes a game, play in all situations, and anchor a defense for years to come.

Strengths: Skating, speed, vision, passing, size, two-way game.

Weaknesses: Not as aggressive physically as some might like.

Ranking: ISS (#3), CSB (#1 Int'l), THN (#2), FHS C-Rank (#2)

Videos: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=videos&search_query=victor+hedman&search_sort=video_view_count

Likely to play in NHL in 2009/10?: Yes

 

 

3. Matt Duchene (OHL - Brampton Battalion)

Vital Stats

Pos.: C

Ht.: 5' 11"

Wt.: 200 lbs

Duchene_AB31749 Commentary: Duchene's stock has risen rapidly during the past year, with some saying he's a better prospect than Hedman. While we don't agree with that view, we can't argue the fact that Duchene is a unique talent in this year's draft. A speed demon with terrific hands, Duchene is also no slouch when it comes to defense. Not only was he Brampton's premiere offensive threat, he was also the team's best defensive forward, killing penalties and blocking shots. Duchene should immediately play a top-6 role with any team that drafts him since he's that good, assuming he works on his strength over the summer.

Strengths: Skating, speed, vision, hands, ability to finish, strong two-way game.

Weaknesses: Size.

Ranking: ISS (#2), CSB (#2 NA), THN (#3), FHS C-Rank (#3)

Videos: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=matt+duchene+hockey&aq=f

Likely to play in NHL in 2009/10?: Better than 50/50 chance, will depend on off-season workouts

 

 

4. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (SEL - Timra)

Vital Stats

Pos.: LW

Ht.: 6' 1"

Wt.: 201 lbs

Commentary: Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (or MPS as many like to call him) is another gem in this year's draft. Arguably the fastest skater amongst the elite prospects, Magnus is a puck-possession master and both his hands and solid frame remind us a lot of Marian Hossa. MPS played this past year in the Swedish Elite League with men 5-10 years older than he was and handled himself well but did tail off near the end of the season. The only knock against Magnus is that he needs to acquire more of a killer instinct when he's in the offensive zone as he doesn't drive to the net as hard as he should. Once he gets that down, he's going to be even more of a treat to watch. He's also regarded as one of the better two-way players amongst this year's crop of youngsters. He’s signed for one more season in Timra so he should be back in Sweden for one more year before making his NHL debut in 2010/11

Strengths: Skating, strength, hands, puck possession.

Weaknesses: Needs to drive to the net more and finish.

Ranking: ISS (#4), CSB (#2 Int'l), THN (#7), FHS C-Rank (#5)

Videos: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Magnus+Paajarvi-Svensson&aq=f

Likely to play in NHL in 2009/10?: Unlikely

 

 

5. Evander Kane (WHL - Vancouver)

Vital Stats

Pos.: C

Ht.: 6' 1"

Wt.: 176 lbs

Commentary: We were hoping there'd be a good enough prospect with the last name of Able so we'd be able to drop Old Testament hilarity on our readers but, alas, that is not to be. With that said, Evander Kane possesses one of the coolest names of any top prospect, but much more importantly, he's gifted with tremendous speed, grit, and leadership which makes him a great pick-up for any team. Although he was the last player cut from Canada's World Junior Championship team, Kane was subsequently put back on the team to take the place of injured player Dana Tyrell. At the WJC, Kane elevated his game to such a degree that he clearly separated himself from many other top prospects. His willingness to fight along the boards and take a hit to make a play clearly engendered himself to many hockey scouts. He also possesses a great set of wheels and can blow by many defenders on the outside on his way to the net. Showed good strength at the scouting combine but assuming he adds bulk to his frame he should have a good chance to make the big leagues out of camp.

Strengths: Grit, hands, leadership, vision

Weaknesses: Strength, needs to grow into his body.

Ranking: ISS (#5), CSB (#3 NA), THN (#5), FHS C-Rank (#4)

Videos: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=evander+kane+hockey&aq=f

Likely to play in NHL in 2009/10?: 50/50

 

 

6. Brayden Schenn (WHL - Brandon)

Vital Stats

Pos.: C

Ht.: 6' 0"

Wt.: 198 lbs

Brayden-schenn Commentary: A solid two-way player, Brayden is the offensively-gifted side of the Schenn brother coin. He comes blessed with the type of toughness and leadership that teams drool over--think Mike Richards--as well as the ability to put the puck in the back of the net on a regular basis. Schenn's a gamer and team-player who could be captain material by his early to mid-20s, depending on the team that drafts him. He's a good bet to start in the bigs.

Strengths: Grit, leadership, strength, solid two-way game.

Weaknesses: Not the fastest skater in the world.

Ranking: ISS (#6), CSB (#4 NA), THN (#6), FHS C-Rank (#6)

Videos: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=brayden+schenn+hockey&aq=f

Likely to play in NHL in 2009/10?: Yes

 

 

7. Jared Cowen (WHL - Spokane)

Vital Stats

Pos.: D

Ht.: 6' 5"

Wt.: 220 lbs

Commentary: Cowen is easily the biggest X-factor in this year's draft. Only a year ago, scouts had him penciled in as a top-3 pick. That was until he suffered a season-ending knee injury in late January of this year. As a rookie in 2008, Cowen led his team to the 2008 Memorial Cup final and won the entire thing. He possesses great skating ability, to go along with his leadership and defensive skills. Many scouts believe he has some of the best upside of any of the defensive prospects in this year's draft, but he'll need to work on his offensive side to reach his maximum potential. The word on the street is that he's recovering quite well from knee injury and should be fully healed and ready to go for training camp in September. Whether or not he's able to stick with his NHL team this year remains to be seen, but we don't want to bet against this guy.

Strengths: Strong, big body, good shot, leadership, grit, defense.

Weaknesses: Offensive skills, potential injury concern (coming off a major knee injury in January).

Ranking: ISS (#7), CSB (#9 NA), THN (#4), FHS C-Rank (#7)

Videos: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=jared+cowen+hockey&aq=f

Likely to play in NHL in 2009/10?: 50/50

 

 

8. Dmitry Kulikov (QMJHL - Drummondville)

Vital Stats

Pos.: D

Ht.: 6' 0"

Wt.: 183 lbs

Kulikov_8 Commentary: Displaying a combination of skill, intelligence, and strength, to go along with a booming shot, Kulikov was voted the Q's rookie of the year, defenseman of the year, and top prospect which says a lot about this young man. While most scouting services have Kulikov ranked just outside the top-10, we're putting him at #8 on our list as he impressed us mightily with his performance at this year's Memorial Cup. He took an ailing team on his back and lead them to a semi-final appearance before finally bowing out to the eventual champions, the Windsor Spitfires, in a 3-2 overtime thriller. His commitment to learning the North American style of hockey (as well as Canada's two official languages), should certainly calm any fears that GMs may have with respect to him possibly bolting to play overseas. We have no doubt that he'll stay put and become a star in the game.

Strengths: Intelligence, strong shot, physical, good skater, good passer.

Weaknesses: Always a risk that he could jump to play overseas, will need to fill out some more.

Ranking: ISS (#10), CSB (#11), THN (#11), FHS C-Rank (#10)

Videos: N/A

Likely to play in NHL in 2009/10?: 50/50

 

 

9. Oliver Ekman-Larsson (SEL - Leksand)

Vital Stats

Pos.: D

Ht.: 6' 2"

Wt.: 176 lbs

Commentary: Oliver Ekman-Larsson was a virtual unknown a year ago, before he began a meteoric rise through the rankings to land in most top-15 lists. We have him at #9 as we got to see him play at the recent IIHF U18 World Championship. He's an exceptional skater and passer with a high degree of hockey IQ. As a sign of how good many think this kid will be, Ottawa's GM Bryan Murray hinted that his own scouts have OEL ranked higher than another Swedish defenseman: some guy named Hedman. Ekman-Larsson will need time to grow into his frame as he's quite light at 176 lbs, but once he does, he could turn out to be a future Norris candidate.

Strengths: Excellent skater and passer, terrific lateral movement, hockey intelligence.

Weaknesses: Size, strength.

Ranking: ISS (#9), CSB (#4 Int'l), THN (#13), FHS C-Rank (#9)

Videos: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=oliver+ekman-larsson&aq=f

Likely to play in NHL in 2009/10?: No, signed for one more season in Leksand

 

 

10. Jacob Josefson (SEL - Djurgarden)

Vital Stats

Pos.: C

Ht.:  6' 0"

Wt.: 187 lbs

Commentary: Josefson is a smart, two-way player who projects to be a bit of a project but one who, if given the time, has the necessary tools to be an outstanding forward who can kill penalties and play on the power-play. He'll need to fill out some more, but he has a lot of intangibles that GMs love: grit, leadership, and intelligence. We may have him ranked higher than most, but we love what he brings to the game, including a high level of maturity and the ability to do whatever it takes to win. In short, Josefson's the type of player you need to win Stanley Cups.

Strengths: Skating, strong two-way game, intelligence.

Weaknesses: Strength, puck handling.

Ranking: ISS (#11), CSB (#3 Int'l), THN (#15), FHS C-Rank (#13)

Videos: N/A

Likely to play in NHL in 2009/10?: No, signed for one more season for Djugarden