Who would you take with the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft? There are 2 consensus picks, John Tavares of the OHL and Victor Hedman of the Swedish Elitserien.
John Tavares - A very highly skilled forward. Dubbed "the next next one" by the Canadian Media (apparently Crosby is the next one). Tavares was the star in Canada's gold medal victory in the world junior tournament. Tavares broke Gretzky's 25+ year old goal record for most goals by a 16 year old in the OHL. He is touted as a player who will come into the NHL and score 100 points immediately, much the way Crosby and Ovechkin did.
Victor Hedman - A well rounded defenseman who has had his game compared to Nick Lidstrom. Currently in his second season in the Swedish Elite League, playing as an 18 year old against grown men, he has 21 points in 43 games and is a surprising +22 on a team that has allowed 24 more goals than they have scored. Keep in mind that in Europe, leagues use a larger ice surface that makes scoring less abundant.
I guess it would depend on the team that has the luxury of drafting 1st overall. A team like the Islanders needs everything except goaltending, they have used a 1st overall selection in the past to select DiPietro and then promptly signed him to a 15 year deal despite his history of injuries. They basically need EVERYTHING else. Right now, they'd be a competitive team in the AHL, and they're looking to deal players like Guerin and probably Weight and Witt as well.
If you take an example like the Blues or the Kings, both of those teams would almost certainly take Tavares because both of them have gone through re-builds where they have stocked VERY high end defensive talent with the likes of Pietrangelo and Erik Johnson in STL and Doughty, Hickey and Jack Johnson (trade from CAR) in LA. When you look at these teams upfront, both of them could use a 100 point center. The only center in STL projected to put up 100 points in the future is.......? Berglund? No dice. The Kings have a better option in Kopitar but after that, who's next on the list? Moller? Boyle? Not much depth. Tavares for STL or LA.
If you look at a team like Pittsburgh or Washington (neither will be in the top slot, but it's an example) both of these teams would certainly take Hedman. In fact Washington has taken Hedman before, just not the more skilled of the 2 brothers. Both of these teams are STACKED to the teeth in offensive talent. Players such as Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Backstrom and Talbot. Ok, maybe not Talbot, but you get the idea. These teams don't have many blue chip defensive defensemen. In fact I'd say the only top tier prospect defensive Dmen in either system would be Alzner (Orpik is young, but not a prospect or a blue chipper). These teams have the offensive rearguards in Green, Letang and Goligoski, but these players lack the true 2-way value that Hedman projects to bring.
Do you take the mentality that you would draft the best player available? Do you draft the best player for your system? Do you draft based on your immediate needs? If you are the Islanders, who do you take and why?