The NHL held their draft suckiness lottery this evening. This was a big night for the 14 Lightning fans who actually care about the team still. For those of us that do, we have been rooting for losses at the Forum for the last month and a half. It was kind of funny during the last game of the season, people showing up for the game because it was the cool thing to do, and rooting for the team to win, which at the time, would have drastically reduced our chances at winning the draft lottery, or more importantly, being one of the top two teams.
The Islanders had the greatest percentage likelihood, 25%, that one of the numbered sequences assigned to them would be the winning combination. Under the lottery system, only the five teams with the fewest points had the chance to win the first overall selection; no team could move up more than four spots and no team could move backward more than one.
The main reason why it was so important to finish in one of the top two spots, was this draft has two consensus sure-fire NHL studs at the top of it. The NHL draft is different than most of the major sports leagues, in that the top players, generally are never busts.
Let’s get into some analysis obatined from MyNHLDraft.com.
Jon Tavares – This player is a future NHL superstar. While he had a drop off in goals last season, from 72 to 40, he became a much more complete player. It’s hard to understand him being so maligned for 118 points in 59 games and a great performance at the World Juniors, but that is the microscope he’s under. He is very composed and never panics under pressure. Has great ability with the puck, but is improving substantially on his defensive play without it. Not afraid to mix it up physically and has added a little more of that element to his game. At 6’0”, 183 lbs, he will get bigger, but is already strong at protecting the puck and working down low. He has great vision and anticipates plays before they develop. Has excellent offensive ability, with a quick hard accurate shot and is a threat to score anytime he has the puck. He has under-rated passing abilities, as shown by 78 assists last year. One on one he is absolutely deadly and is deceptive to read on what he will do with the puck. He has a very sublime hockey IQ. He definitely thinks the game at a higher level than anyone else in the Ontario Hockey League. Back to scoring at a goal a game pace, with 14 goals and 23 points in his first 13 OHL games this season. Submitted by: HockeyProspect.com
Victor Hedman – Victor Hedman is one of the fastest, smoothest skating d-men around, the irony in this is that he comes in at around 6’7″ and 230lbs. He has excellent offensive instincts, which makes sure that he gets involved in the play frequently. He’s got amazing vision and play making skills which make him more then adept at running the PP, he still gets plenty of time on the PK and is on the top pairing there, so defensively he is proficient as well. Has sound positioning skills and uses his size to his advantage, does not get beat often. He will likely be the next generational defenceman to enter the league, very few like him, plays like Chris Pronger. The one difference would be that he is not as physical or aggresive as Pronger, but he has the size and playmaking skills. Another downside would be that he seems to have run into a little bit of injury troubles this year, it shouldn’t hurt him too much as his potential is too vast to pass up. Submitted by: Lee Fehler
My favorite part of ending up with the number 2 pick is for the main fact that we don’t have to choose which guy we want. My opinion, and the opinion of most people who know much more about the NHL entry draft than me, is that Tavares will be the first pick. The Isle are devoid of any real superstars, and Tavares goal scoring ability is something that will appeal to whatever city the Isle eventually move to, and they will move. In all honesty, Hedman makes much more sense for us as far as needs are concerned. With Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavelier penciled in at the 1 and 2 lines at the C spot for the next 10 years, taking another center is almost a luxury for us. Hedman should be our pick, but if we ended up at number one, I’m sure management would have been tempted to take Tavares, scorers are just sexier picks.
We will keep you up to date with more draft analysis and info throughout the offseason.