Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hedman vs. Tavares

Yahoo Sports man-about-town and New Jersey's favorite son Greg Wyshynski has a post up about John Tavares not being the "Next One", but one thing stood out to me is that Gregy-Pooh said that Tavares was the consensus #1 pick in the '09 Draft. I find that surprising considering the buzz that big Swedish defenseman Viktor Hedman has gotten, with many at the end of last year questioning if Hedman had overtaken Tavares.

However, the debate begins, a mere 11 months before the draft, who will be the first pick of the 2009 Entry Draft: John Tavares or Victor Hedman.

Granted, this is very dependant on who claims the #1 pick in the draft. If you have a team like Tampa Bay, who is very loaded upfront, but could use a young defenseman like Hedman to anchor the corp of defenseman for years to come. Of course, that's just speculation because knowing the Bolts-- they'll go with Tavares to keep with their "Who needs defense" war-cry.

Even with Tavares' buzz factor continuously going, it's hard to discount Hedman and it's quite the decision to have at #1. Even with Tavares' offensive still, Hedman's size at 6'5 and 220 makes him more than ready to step into a NHL uniform in '09-'10. Not only that, but Hedman is a very strong skater with or without the puck with a top-notch hockey sense. Hedman played with the MoDo senior team last season and has shown that he has the ability to play with the big-boys. While comparisons to Chris Pronger may or may not be warranted, Hedman will be sure to formulate his own game when he steps onto the ice. As good as Hedman appears to be, the fact that he could be in Sweden for a few more seasons could turn him off as the #1 pick.

This should take nothing away from Tavares. Tavares has the skills to be a force in the NHL, but many see last season as a dropping off point. Who can blame him, as Tavares played a lot of hockey last season, which caused concern for some people who think it's a little too much for a player his age and may create an early burnout. That said, Tavares will definitely be considered top pick material unless a very drastic drop-off or horrific injury happens to him, then Hedman would be the consensus #1 pick, if he stays healthy and productive.

The debates begin with Hedman vs. Tavares and it should be a hot debate for the upcoming season and will put a lot of focus on both Hedman and Tavares in the upcoming season.

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