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NHL scouts take their guesses at first round of Draft

Tuesday, 04.07.2009 / 10:00 AM / 2009 NHL Entry Draft

By NHL.com Staff

Last week, NHL.com's roster of draft experts gave fans their opinion of how the first round of the 2009 Entry Draft might play out.

Adam Kimelman, Brad Holland and Shawn P. Roarke  all took the challenge, consulted their notes, called their contacts, and came up with their thoughts on the first 30 picks come June 25 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

This week, we turned to the real experts.

NHL.com asked two personnel executives -- one from an Eastern Conference team, one from a Western Conference organization -- to give their assessments of the first round. In return for their honesty, we guaranteed their anonymity.

And, don't forget, the final player rankings from NHL Central Scouting will be released on NHL.com April 14. Central Scouting is holding its meetings to determine the rankings this week and NHL.com has all the information coming out of Toronto.

For this exercise, the draft order is a reflection of the League standings following Sunday night's games (April 3) and does not reflect the likelihood of a radically different order following the Draft Lottery on April 14, as well as daily changes in the standings.

If you want to check out your team's chances of having a top-5 pick for the 2009 Entry Draft, consult NHL.com's Draft Lottery Tracker, which will be updated daily.

It should come as no surprise that John Tavares and Victor Hedman are the top two picks on the sheets of both scouts. The debate, though, starts at No. 3 and runs throughout the remainder of the top 30.

The Eastern scout likes center Evander Kane of the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants at the No. 3 spot, while the scout from the West had Kane going No. 5. At third, the West scout had Jared Cowen, a defenseman with the Spokane Chiefs (WHL), who had his season ended Jan. 30 following a serious knee injury. The scout from the East had Cowen at No. 10.

There were other surprises throughout, but rather than give away the end, take a look at what the real experts think.

MOCK DRAFTS:  Eastern Conference Scout  |  Western Conference Scout