Interesting article today that sums up just how intriguing this weekend's draft is going to be. TSN polled 10 NHL scouts about the upcoming draft, and all 10 chose Tavares #1. However, it was a tight race:
"It's a lot closer than your numbers (10 of 10) might suggest," said one team's NHL chief scout who ranked Tavares No. 1. "There's not a huge gap between Tavares and the other two guys (Hedman and Duchene). I have Tavares at No. 1 but it's not a stretch for me or anyone else, I would think, to make a case for Hedman as the top guy. Or even Duchene, especially the way he came on at the end of the year.
"They're completely different players. Tavares is a goal scorer. Hedman is a defenceman. They're both going to be great players but the Islanders may want more of what one guy gives them in terms of building the team. Duchene is a complete player with character. It's going to be interesting."
It's rather interesting that one can envision any of the "big three" going to the Islanders. And, once one of the players is off the board, it's still a toss-up as to who the Lightning will take at #2. Add in the possibility of a blockbuster trade (probably not by New York, but you never know with Tampa) and there are really all sorts of scenarios that have either Tavares, Hedman or Duchene falling to Colorado. Yes, the safe money is still on Duchene, but there will still be some nail biting going on. I'm usually not very interested in watching the draft, but I will certainly be watching this one.
For what it's worth, 9 of the 10 scouts had Hedman at #2. 8 of the 10 scouts had Duchene in the three hole. 1 had him at #2 and one had him at #4 (with Evander Kane at #3).