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Tavares talks NHL Entry Draft

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders

John Tavares made a splash in his rookie season. Playing in all 82 regular-season games, he tallied 24 goals and 30 assists. At the end of the 2009-10 season, his 54 points earned were the most on the team.

Now that Tavares is entering his sophomore year in the NHL, he is able to watch the 2010 NHL Entry Draft with less pressure. Instead of listening for his name to be called, he is interested in who could potentially be his newest teammate.

"Us picking fifth, we're going to get a player that's got a great opportunity to make a good impact on our club next year and make our team," Tavares said. "So a lot of those guys that are going to be picked high are going to get that great opportunity to be able to play next year as well."

Tavares also knows a few of the top North American prospects from playing in the Ontario Hockey League and World Junior Championships.

"Well, I played against Taylor [Hall] for three years and [Erik] Gudbranson for two years. I played against [Tyler] Seguin for one year, but I think I only played against him once," Tavares said.

"Hall is very dynamic. He can bring people out of their seats because of his speed and he loves to score. He puts himself on the line to score goals, so he's going to be a great player in this league. And he's a winner too, he's shown that."

"[Erik] Gudbranson is a real tough kid," Tavares continued. "I remember he's a real physical guy. He loves challenging guys out there and enjoys getting in the play as well. So it's good to see a guy like that with his size, being able to move and be physical and be able to join the rush when he needs too offensively."

Although Tavares knows a few of the prospects, he hasn't offered any advice to Islanders General Manager Garth Snow.

"No. I'll leave that to him," Tavares said.

When you think about it, a year isn't a long time. So Tavares remembers very clearly what he was thinking and how he was feeling leading up to the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal.

"It was great. I remember all the hype about the draft and finally coming after a few years, three- four years of anticipation. And finally the night came.

"To hear my name announced was just a great thrill," Tavares said. "To realize all your dreams and goals you worked so hard for over the years [are coming true] and all the sacrifices you've made and your family has made. To be at that spot and to go number one, it was obviously a little extra special to be put in a special category.

"It's just great to know that you're finally going to make it."
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