John Tavares, rumored to be the number 1 pick in the first round
The first 14 teams have been determined for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft based on their lackluster performance in the regular season, as well as a lottery that favors the bottom ranked teams. The New York Islanders came out on top of the lottery, having placed last in the league at the end of the 2008-09 regular season with a poor showing of 61 points. Teams are given greater statistical chances of winning the lottery determined by their position in the standings at the end of the season; for example, the last-placed Isles’ chance of winning first pick was 25%, whereas second to last-placed Tampa Bay had an 18.8% chance of winning, and so on for the remaining teams.
Because the New York Islanders came out on top, the positioing of the other teams remained the same as their standings in the league, resulting in the following order for the first 14 picks of the first round of the draft: 1. New York Islanders, 2. Tampa Bay Lightning, 3. Colorado Avalanche, 4. Atlanta Thrashers, 5. Los Angeles Kings, 6. Phoenix Coyotes, 7. Toronto Maple Leafs, 8. Dallas Stars, 9. Ottawa Senators, 10. Edmonton Oilers, 11. Nashville Predators, 12. Minnesota Wild, 13. Buffalo Sabres, 14. Florida Panthers.
However, the real news surrounding this draft lottery seems to be which teams are going to land the top two prospects, John Tavares and Victor Hedman, and which of the two is considered more valuable: Tavares the high-scoring forward, or Hedman, the highly-skilled defenseman. The pressure is on the Isles to claim the best possible player, whom many analysts are saying is Tavares, having topped Central Scouting’s final rankings. As for the other thirteen teams involved in the draft so far, they would love to be in the predicament that the Islanders have found themselves in; having to choose between the top two prospects entering the NHL in an attempt to rebuild the team for a better showing in the 2009-10 season.
To find out more about John Tavares and Victor Hedman, and to follow the NHL Entry Draft lottery, check out the Draft feature on NHL.com.