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Looking At 'The Big 3'

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Islanders General Manager Garth Snow re-iterated last week on XM Radio that he and the Islanders are favoring one of "The Big 3” for the No. 1 overall pick in Friday’s NHL Entry Draft. With that in mind, here is a breakdown of Matt Duchene, Victor Hedman and John Tavares. (In alphabetical order)


Pos: Center              Shoots: Left
Height: 5’11’’           Weight: 200
Born: January 16, 1991 in Haliburton, ON, Canada
Current Team: Brampton Battalion (OHL)
Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking: #2 North American Skater

Matt Duchene
Duchene has played in 121 career OHL games, compiling 61 goals and 68 assists for 129 points in two seasons with Brampton. He has also appeared in 26 playoff games with the Battalion, notching 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points.

In 2008-09, Duchene finished third on Brampton with 79 points (31-48-79) in 59 games. He was voted the Best Playmaker and Best Stickhandler in the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll. Duchene also led the OHL with six game-winning goals in the playoffs as Brampton made the OHL Finals. He finished sixth in the league with 26 playoff points (14-12-26) and tied for first with six playoff power-play goals.

Duchene’s season was highlighted by appearances at the 2009 OHL All-Star Classic and the CHL Top Prospects Game. He also won three gold medals during an eight-month span in 2008 (Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, Under-18 World Championships, World Under-17 Challenge with Team Ontario). Duchene served as captain for Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament to help his home country to its fourth gold in the last five years.

Duchene’s father, Vince, played goalie for Ontario juvenile champion Minden Monarchs in 1984-85. His uncle is Anaheim Ducks Assistant Coach Newell Brown.

“Matt Duchene is a pure offensive player who also is a great penalty killer. He helps the Brampton Battalion in all facets of the game. A pure sniper, he plays the point on the power play and is a threat to score on the penalty kill, as well. He reminds me, probably most of the new breed of snipers, Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner and Steven Stamkos as he grows into his offensive position in the NHL.”
-Director of NHL Central Scouting E.J. McGuire

“Duchene has the ability to dominate a game. He is an excellent all-around skater with great speed. His playmaking, ability to see the ice and move the puck through traffic to create offense are outstanding. He has a very good shot, but I see his best asset as his speed and ability to beat defensemen to the middle or outside.”
-NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards

“The best prospect available in this draft might possibly be the soft-spoken Duchene. While his numbers aren't gaudy (a point a game over his two OHL seasons) they don't tell the entire story. Duchene is a marvelous two-way talent who has played second (and at times even third) fiddle in Brampton to Vancouver first-rounder Cody Hodgson and Rangers' selection Evgeny Grachev, two of the O's most exciting players. Throw in the fact the Battalion under head coach/GM Stan Butler have never been known to play a wide-open, firebrand style of game and you can understand our point. Duchene, in another team's system, could have put up eye-popping stats.”
-Red Line Report

Click here
to watch a video profile of Matt Duchene


Pos: Defenseman        Shoots: Left
Height: 6’6’’                   Weight: 220
Born: December 18, 1990 in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
Current Team: Modo (SEL)
Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking: #1 European Skater

Victor Hedman
Hedman has skated in 82 career SEL games, compiling nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points in two seasons with Modo.  He won Rookie of the Year honors in 2008-09 after recording 21 points (7-14-21) in 43 games while patrolling Modo’s blue line.

Hedman has also played in 52 career contests with Modo’s junior team, totaling 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points.

Hedman has represented Sweden at the World Junior Championships for two consecutive years. He won a silver medal at both tournaments and was an All-Star selection in 2008. In total, Hedman scored six points (3-3-6) and registered 16 penalty minutes in 12 WJC games.

Hedman also played for Sweden on the Under-18 team at two international tournaments. He won a gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and a bronze at the World Championships. Hedman became one of the youngest players to compete on Sweden’s national men’s team when he made his debut at age 17 in an exhibition game against Norway.

Victor is the younger brother of Oscar Hedman, a defensive prospect in the Washington Capitals’ system who plays for Frolunda (SEL). His oldest brother, Johan, also plays hockey in Sweden.

“Victor Hedman brings to his game unsurpassed combinations of size, explosiveness in his skating, quickness and offensive ability. He is indeed the whole package and that just might get him the number one selection overall.”
-Director of NHL Central Scouting E.J. McGuire

“For being that young, he’s very mature, and he’s big, but moves like a smaller guy. Very mobile, and his puck sense is excellent. Hedman is dominating the game, playing on the first defense pair on Modo. He’s playing around 20 minutes per game.”
-Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb

“An extremely gifted defenseman. Hedman is pegged as the next great NHL defenseman to come out of Sweden. He has great size and mobility and skating that is very good for a fellow of his stature. Furthermore, Hedman has a good understanding of the game, nice technical skills and is a skilled passer. He is more noticeable in the offensive end, where he likes to join the rush and create offense. His shot is accurate and powerful, which makes him a good option from the point. Aggressive and with a very obvious winning mentality, but considering his physical advantage, he could play the body even more.”

Click here
to watch a video profile of Victor Hedman


Pos: Center            Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0’’            Weight: 195
Born: September 20, 1990 in Mississauga, ON, Canada
Current Team: London Knights (OHL)
Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking: #1 North American Skater

John Tavares
Tavares has skated in 247 career OHL games, compiling 215 goals and 218 assists for 433 points in four seasons with Oshawa and London. He has also played in 38 career playoff games, recording 20 goals and 36 assists for 56 points. Tavares’ 215 career goals are an OHL record, surpassing the previous mark of 213 held by Peter Lee for 33 years. He was named Top Prospect by the OHL following the completion of the season.

In 2008-09, Tavares led the OHL in goals (58) and points (104). He scored 50 points (32-18-50) in 24 games after being traded to London during the middle of the season. Tavares also finished ninth in the OHL in playoff scoring with 21 points (10-11-21). His six power-play goals in 14 playoff games tied for the league lead.

Tavares was selected as the 2007 CHL Player of the Year after scoring 72 goals to break Wayne Gretzky’s record for OHL goals in a season by a 16-year-old. He also won the Red Tilson Trophy, given out to the most outstanding player in the OHL, that season. Tavares made his OHL debut as a 15-year-old and was named CHL Rookie of the Year in 2006.

Tavares won back-to-back gold medals with Team Canada at the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Championships. He had 15 points (8-7-15) at the 2009 Tournament to be named World Junior MVP and World Junior Top Forward. Tavares’ career World Junior goal total of 12 ties him with Eric Lindros and Jeff Carter for most goals in a career by a Canadian at the World Junior Championships. In total, Tavares has 20 points (12-8-20) in 13 career World Junior Championship games.

“He is probably better than any other player in the Draft from the top of the circle down at being a threat to score. He’s an offensive player who is reliable in his defensive zone and getting better at that, but yet not asked to do that very frequently. He is pure offense and for his first years in the NHL will probably be asked to do just that…He’s a pure scorer who’s going to be an asset to teams for years to come. His numbers statistically speak for themselves. He is going to be, we predict, an All-Star caliber player for many years in the NHL.”
-Director of NHL Central Scouting E.J. McGuire

“The way he sees the ice and passes the puck through traffic, draw the comparison to whoever you want, but when you watched Wayne Gretzky, if you put your stick on the ice, you’d get the puck on your stick at some point…John is phenomenal at getting the puck through traffic to his linemates, getting to openings. The way he reads the play and can get to where he figures the rebounds will be and bangs in the rebound. He’s a real smart player."
-NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards

“He has great vision and anticipates plays before they develop. Has excellent offensive ability, with a quick hard accurate shot and is a threat to score anytime he has the puck…One-on-one he is absolutely deadly and is deceptive to read on what he will do with the puck. He has a very sublime hockey IQ. He definitely thinks the game at a higher level than anyone else in the Ontario Hockey League.”

Click here
to watch a video profile of John Tavares

CLICK HERE for the complete selection order for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft

Listen to Islanders GM Garth Snow discuss the upcoming Draft on XM Radio.

CLICK HERE to listen to Part 1 of the interview.

to listed to Part 2 of the interview.

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