As expected, there have been few surprises of note, with teams from Long Island to Ottawa so far taking pretty much the consensus picks based on in depth Central Scouting reports.
On Monday, Lighthouse Hockey, representing the New Islanders selected John Tavares from the London Knights with the first choice overall. While there was some thought given to going with Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman, Dominik from Lighthouse went with flash and grabbed the goal scorer.
While I would have taken Hedman over Tavares for foundation purposes, it is understandable that a player of Tavares' stripe sells more tickets, which is a concern in the Long Island market at present. It is expected that the Islanders organization will follow suit. Says Lighthouse's Dominik:
"Mike Bossy. Pat LaFontaine. Ziggy Palffy. We're not saying this kid will be any of those, but we are saying his uncanny finishing talents andnose for the puck around the net will boost this team and electrify this starving fanbase the way those high-scoring Islanders did before him. We lost Bossy to a bad back (and all those crosschecks). LaFontaine to a contract squabble (at least he yielded Turgeon). Palffy to ownership cost-cutting. How will Tavaresone day leave the Island? Let's not go there ... just know he's going to capture a lot of hearts before -- if -- such a parting ever comes."
"Offense can do only so much for the Lightning. Last season should have shown fans that much. Between mediocre play, injuries and a revolving door on the blue-line that opened last summer and stayed open for the duration of the season, the defense became the prime liability of Lightning hockey....It's common knowledge that the Lightning need help on defense. So why would they pick yet another center in either John Tavares or Matt Duchesne? And most of the top ten prospects ranked are, in fact, centers. They already have two franchise centers in Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos. To pick another would likely mean that they'd have to trade someone or something - either Lecavalier, the second overall pick, or the actual center picked second overall by Tampa Bay. Any and all of those scenarios aren't going to keep them many fans."
Hedman will be expected to anchor the Bolts defense for the next decade plus, and is a rock solid choice that the Tampa organization will clearly make come June 26. I'm not so sure that Lecavalier will be around much longer after that time, but the Lightning will have much to build upon with both Hedman and Stamkos for years to come.
Choosing third, Mile High Hockey smartly got their mits on the well rounded Matt Duchene. This is a player who will fit brilliantly into the Avalanche scheme - a very sturdy heir to the Joe Sakic era. David Driscoll - Carignan of MHH nails it, when pointing out how valuable Duchene will become in in the Avs plans.
"Duchene displays great skill on the ice and great character off it. With dynamic speed and strong two-way ability, Duchene is able to play in all key situations and is a threat every time he steps onto the ice. He has a great set of offensive skills both in scoring and playmaking. He has strong balance which makes him hard to knock off the puck. He’s the ideal pick at the third selection and, should he develop, will be a great one-two punch with Stastny."
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