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Unanimous decision: Tavares-Hedman at the top

Monday, 06.15.2009 / 10:59 AM / 2009 NHL Entry Draft

By NHL.com Staff

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs over and the grand prize claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, teams now can turn their full attention to the 2009 Entry Draft.

The experts at NHL.com are doing the same, and for the third time, they're taking their guesses at how the first 30 picks of the Draft will go.

The biggest storyline is who the New York Islanders will take first -- London Knights center John Tavares, or giant Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman.

According to NHL.com's draft experts, the Isles will opt for Tavares, the leading scorer in the Ontario Hockey League, most valuable player of Canada's gold medal-winning team at the World Junior Championship, and Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater.

They also predict Hedman, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound blueliner rated the best European-born skater by Central Scouting, will land with the Tampa Bay Lightning with the second pick.

The disagreements start at the third pick and run right through to No. 30. Adam Kimelman and Brad Holland predict the Colorado Avalanche will select Brampton Battalion center Matt Duchene, while Shawn P. Roarke believes the Avs will select dynamic Swedish forward Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson.

Kimelman and Holland have Svensson going fifth to the Los Angeles Kings, while Roarke has Duchene, who was tied for second in the OHL playoffs with 14 goals in 21 games, going fourth to the Atlanta Thrashers.

There were other disagreements among the experts, and you can read them all in our final mock Draft. Find out which NHL.com staff writer predicted the most correct first-round picks by watching the 2009 NHL Entry Draft on Friday, June 26 at 7 p.m. ET (VERSUS, TSN, RDS).