Will it be John Tavares of the OHL’s London Knights, Matt Duchene of the OHL’s Brampton Battalion or Victor Hedman of the Swedish Elite League’s Modo? That will be the biggest question on everyone’s mind as this year’s draft gets rolling in Montreal.
The 2009 NHL Entry Draft begins in less than half an hour and here the three things I’m expecting:
1) I just have to think that if the Islanders don’t trade their pick to Toronto, a team that really, really, really would like to draft Tavares, then the Isles will take Hedman simply because they’re an Eastern Conference team that needs to upgrade on defence and is a young guy who has already played against men with Modo in the Swedish Elite League.
However, if the Islanders are more concerned about image than winning next year, they’ll take Tavares and sell him as the next Sid the Kid.
2) Apparently this wild — and very, very stupid — rumour that the Boston Bruins were going to give up Phil Kessel and a draft pick for Leafs Tomas Kaberle was as dumb as we thought.
Originally “broken” on TSN, we’re now told by the Toronto Sports Network: “It appears the potential trade involving the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs is at the very least on hold and quite possibly dead. It turns out there was apparently major miscommunication between the two teams.”
Really? Perhaps it was a miscommunication by the mainstream media. TSN originally reported it was Kessel for Kaberle and Toronto’s No. 7 pick. Terrible deal for Toronto, but Boston might like it. Then it became Kessel and a draft pick for Kaberle. Only someone smoking something would have thought was a bright move. In the end, it was none of the above. Somebody made this thing up over cognac in the hotel bar.
3) There will be trades. Somebody is going somewhere. After all, last year’s draft produced a frenzy of pretty big deals.
Toronto really wants a top pick (up from No. 7) to get either Tavares or Brandon’s Brayden Schenn and Brian Burke will do what’s necessary to get the people he wants in order to rebuild that mess in T.O.
Ottawa is going to try to move Dany Heatley but Bryan Murray won’t give him away. Murray’s way too smart to take that bait.
Florida will probably move Jay Bouwmeester — or anybody else with a pulse and a contract. After all, Randy Sexton is now the acting GM and if you remember him in Ottawa, you know he’ll try to make some kind of splash — stupid or otherwise.
The San Jose Sharks will move somebody. Expect it to be Jonathan Cheechoo.
Despite not falling for that dumb Toronto offer (or “made-up” Toronto offer), Boston might still try to move the disgruntled Phil Kessel.
And don’t be surprised if Tampa tries to get Tavares and then, if they do, they’ll have Stamkos and Tavares in the fold, so then Lightning GM Brian Lawton will trade Vinny Lecavalier to Montreal.
And finally, don’t be surprised to see Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, J.S. Giguere and a bunch of “older” Calgary Flames change teams tonight.
OK, get out the sodas and chips and let’s go watch some kids get rich.