It may be a long way off yet, but the 2009 NHL entry draft is one draft many Leaf fans are looking forward to. It should come as no surprise as they will possibly hold the No. 1 pick, but who will they draft?
Of course, there is only one well known prospect that comes to most peoples' minds when they hear the phrase "2009 NHL Draft". His name is John Tavares, a highly talented centre playing with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL.
But have you ever heard of Victor Hedman, the 18 year-old Swedish defenseman? In fact, many hockey reporters have made the call that by next year's draft, Hedman will be picked ahead of Tavares.
This is a very likely outcome. Tavares was an exception when he was drafted into the OHL at the age of 15. Now, many experts say that Tavares has spent too much time in the OHL, that it is too easy for Tavares, and that he is no longer learning anything.
Meanwhile, Hedman has garnered much notice in the Elite League.
Personally, I don’t believe any team in their right mind would pick Hedman ahead of Tavares. Tavares may have slowed down this year—but don’t forget he played in the World Juniors for the first time. Apparently, reasonable expectations were for him to break Gretzky’s record again.
Fortunately, the Maple Leafs are in their right mind for the first time in many years—thank you, Cliff Fletcher—and as long as they stay in their right mind and keep Fletcher as GM for the rest of the season, right up until the draft, they are going to take Tavares.
I can’t think of any reason why they would go with Hedman. They need a forward, not a defenseman—someone who can score goals, make plays, and drive hard to the net.
In the event the Leafs don’t pick first, then they better hope they pick second, and that the team ahead of them wants Hedman.
So to answer the question, "Who will the Leafs pick in the 2009 Draft?", I have to say they are going with Tavares if they pick No.1. If you disagree with me, please let me know, and I’ll tell you how much I don’t care. The Leafs won’t be picking a defenseman. And, anyone who does agree with me, I thank you.
Alan Bass, if you read this, I want you to know this is not a BS article.