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TSN's Top NHL Prospects

On Friday, the best young amateur players in the world will be made available when the 2009 NHL Entry Draft takes place in Montreal.

TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, widely regarded as the media's foremost draft expert, has covered every NHL Draft since 1980 and his annual TSN rankings are considered the most accurate indicator of how the draft will unfold. In the last five years, McKenzie was 125 of 150 in terms of projecting first rounders (83 percent).

In 2008, 27 of his top 30 prospects were first-round picks; in 2007 it was 24 of 30; 25 of 30 in 2006; 23 of 30 in 2005 and 26 of 30 in 2004. Last year, of the 30 prospects ranked by TSN as first rounders, 27 were actually chosen in the first round.

This is not a prediction of which team will take which prospect. In fact, when TSN puts its rankings together it doesn't even take into account the order of selection at the draft. It is a ranking based on consensus opinion from 10 NHL scouts surveyed by McKenzie, who has been using the same process and formula for draft rankings since he originated The Hockey News Draft Preview in 1984, over 25 years ago.

And neither is it the personal or subjective opinion of McKenzie, who instead relies on the combined expertise of the scouts surveyed to calculate where prospects should be slotted on consensus from Nos. 1 through 60. Historically, it has been a good barometer of which players will be chosen in the first round.

In addition to TSN's ranking (TSN), others were listed for comparison, including NHL Central Scouting (CS), International Scouting Service (ISS), Red Line Report (RLR), McKeen's (McK) and The Hockey News (THN). The CSB rankings are displayed as one of four different lists; North American Skaters (NAS), European Skaters (ES), North American Goalies (NAG) and European Goalies (EG). TSN has also listed a Style so fans have a reference for the style of game each prospect plays. Comparing, for example, Tavares to Hawerchuk is not to suggest the former will score 1,409 points. It's just to suggest that Tavares plays the game a lot like Hawerchuk did.

1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60
Hon. Mentions Pg. 1 | Hon. Mentions Pg. 2 | DraftCentre

1. JOHN TAVARES

2009 NHL Draft
Player Profile
London (OHL)
POS: C SH: L
DOB: 9/20/90 HT/WT: 6-0/198
Style: Dale Hawerchuk
Statistics
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
2006-07 Oshawa 67 72 62 134 60
2007-08 Oshawa 59 40 78 118 69
2008-09 Ldn-Osh 56 58 46 104 22
2008-09 WJC 6 8 7 15 0
Scouting Ranking
Org: TSN THN ISS RLR McK CS
Rank: 1 1 1 3 2 1 NAS
Scouting Report
Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire: "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."

Oshawa Generals head coach Chris DePiero: "There's a lot of attributes he brings to the table. He's one of those guys, the things he does in the offensive zone will bring people out of their seats. It's truly amazing. His willingness to be the player he wants to be is there, and to me that supersedes anything that could be perceived as a negative. His willingness to be better every day, he's so competitive, he's got such an inner drive."

2. VICTOR HEDMAN

2009 NHL Draft
Player Profile
Modo (Swe)
POS: D SH: L
DOB: 12/18/90 HT/WT: 6-5/212
Style: Jay Bouwmeester
Statistics
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
2007-08 Modo 39 2 2 4 44
2007-08 WJC 6 0 1 1 4
2008-09 Modo 43 7 14 21 52
2008-09 WJC 6 0 2 2 6
Scouting Ranking
Org: TSN THN ISS RLR McK CS
Rank: 2 2 3 1 1 1 ES
Scouting Report
Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb: "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."

NHL Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire: "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."

3. MATT DUCHENE

2009 NHL Draft
Player Profile
Brampton (OHL)
POS: C SH: L
DOB: 1/16/91 HT/WT: 5-11/190
Style: Steve Yzerman
Statistics
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
2007-08 Brampton 64 30 20 50 22
2008-09 Brampton 57 31 48 79 42
Scouting Ranking
Org: TSN THN ISS RLR McK CS
Rank: 3 3 2 2 3 2 NAS
Scouting Report
NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards: "Duchene has the ability to dominate a game. He is an excellent all-round 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 Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire: "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."

4. EVANDER KANE

2009 NHL Draft
Player Profile
Vancouver (WHL)
POS: C SH: L
DOB: 8/2/91 HT/WT: 6-1/176
Style: Jarome Iginla
Statistics
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
2006-07 Vancouver 8 1 0 1 11
2007-08 Vancouver 65 24 17 41 66
2008-09 Vancouver 61 48 48 96 89
2008-09 WJC 6 2 4 6 2
Scouting Ranking
Org: TSN THN ISS RLR McK CS
Rank: 4 5 5 5 5 3 NAS
Scouting Report
NHL Central Scouting’s Blair MacDonald: "He has power forward qualities from the blue line in. He's the type of player who doesn't like being denied access to the net. You can almost see when he's got the puck he's going to the net and defying people to stop him. He'll be a 200-pound forward in the National Hockey League. He plays like he's 6-2, 6-3, bigger than his size. He's surprised a lot of people with his strength going to the net."

Vancouver Giants head coach Don Hay: "Evander has been a really good player for us. From the blue-line in he really has a nose for the net; he takes the puck to the net very hard and is very competitive in that area. He’s learned over the past year to be more dependable and more responsible killing penalties and playing a two-way game. His biggest improvement is that he always wants to make a difference on the ice. A lot of players that age don’t want to be on the ice, or don’t want to be in that situation when the game is on the line, but Evander wants to be in that situation all the time."

5. BRAYDEN SCHENN

2009 NHL Draft
Player Profile
Brandon (WHL)
POS: C SH: L
DOB: 8/22/91 HT/WT: 6-0/198
Style: Bryan Trottier
Statistics
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
2007-08 Brandon 66 28 43 71 48
2008-09 Brandon 70 32 56 88 82
Scouting Ranking
Org: TSN THN ISS RLR McK CS
Rank: 5 6 6 4 6 4 NAS
Scouting Report
NHL Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire: "Brayden is of the power-forward ilk. He has learned a little about the NHL from his older brother Luke Schenn and he knows how to go to the net. He is a threat to score at all times on the ice and dishes the puck very effectively to his linemates in getting the amount of assists that he does. He takes the puck to the net with the kind of authority that a Jonathan Cheechoo does, yet has puck dishing capacities that maybe a Joe Thornton does. Both are tough players, both are tough to move out in front of the net and Brayden fits that ilk perfectly."

Brandon head coach and GM Kelly McCrimmon: "Brayden is a very complete player. He is a leader, strong physically, competitive, with a very high skill level. He has great vision, and a great release on passes and shots."

6. OLIVER EKMAN-LARSSON

2009 NHL Draft
Player Profile
Leksand (Swe)
POS: D SH: L
DOB: 7/17/91 HT/WT: 6-2/176
Style: Scott Niedermayer
Statistics
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
2006-07 Tingsryd 12 0 1 1 8
2007-08 Tingsryd 27 3 5 8 10
2008-09 Leksand 39 3 14 17 32
Scouting Ranking
Org: TSN THN ISS RLR McK CS
Rank: 6 13 9 7 4 4 ES
Scouting Report
International Scouting Services: "Ekman-Larsson is a very confident skater with excellent offensive skills. His shot can be compared to that of pro level players, however it takes time to get off at times. He has great transitionally offensive ability and can start the rush effectively and quickly. He finished second in scoring by d-men during the World U18 championship with 8 points in 6 games. Has a strong ability to throw some crushing hits and is a very steady performer. He is very difficult to get around as he in impressively mobile and angles out very well."

7. JARED COWEN

2009 NHL Draft
Player Profile
Spokane (WHL)
POS: D SH: L
DOB: 1/25/91 HT/WT: 6-5/220
Style: Braydon Coburn
Statistics
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
2006-07 Spokane 6 0 2 2 2
2007-08 Spokane 68 4 14 18 62
2008-09 Spokane 48 7 14 21 45
Scouting Ranking
Org: TSN THN ISS RLR McK CS
Rank: 7 4 7 8 8 9 NAS
Scouting Report
NHL Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire: "Jared Cowen made his name last year as a Memorial Cup winning member of the Spokane Chiefs and the comparisons that were thrown around at that time were that of Zdeno Chara. Physically he looks big, strong and rangy. Offensively he has that kind of contribution and if he, despite the pressure that we are putting on him, blossoms into half the player that Chara he is going to be a solid NHL player for years to come."

8. NAZEM KADRI

2009 NHL Draft
Player Profile
London (OHL)
POS: C SH: L
DOB: 10/6/90 HT/WT: 6-0/167
Style: Andy McDonald
Statistics
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
2006-07 Kitchener 62 7 15 22 30
2007-08 Kitchener 68 25 40 65 57
2008-09 London 56 25 53 78 31
Scouting Ranking
Org: TSN THN ISS RLR McK CS
Rank: 8 8 8 17 9 15 NAS
Scouting Report
NHL Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire: "He's big, lanky and skilled. He uses his size to accentuate his puck skills. Size, reach, stick handling ability, those long kinds of stick movements that Mario (Lemieux) used to make, like (Vincent) Lecavalier makes."

9. DMITRI KULIKOV

2009 NHL Draft
Player Profile
Drummondville (QMJHL)
POS: D SH: L
DOB: 10/29/90 HT/WT: 6-1/183
Style: Sergei Gonchar
Statistics
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
2006-07 U18 7 0 4 4 6
2007-08 U18 6 0 2 2 6
2008-09 Drummondville 57 12 50 62 46
2008-09 WJC 7 0 4 4 4
Scouting Ranking
Org: TSN THN ISS RLR McK CS
Rank: 9 11 10 9 7 11 NAS
Scouting Report
NHL Central Scouting Chris Bordeleau: "In his first year (in the QMJHL) he's been an all-around good player. He's a great skater; he can carry the puck and shoot the puck well. He's strong too, he can take big hits and they don't seem to bother him. What we saw this year is likely what we are going to see from Kulikov in the future; he's going to play the same way in the NHL. He knows when to join the rush, he plays defense first, but recognizes the holes. He can shoot the puck well on the powerplay and I wouldn't be surprised if he played in the NHL next year."

10. MAGNUS PAAJARVI-SVENSSON

2009 NHL Draft
Player Profile
Timra (Swe)
POS: LW SH: L
DOB: 4/12/91 HT/WT: 6-1/201
Style: Mike Gartner
Statistics
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS PIM
2007-08 Timra Jr. 18 7 15 22 6
2007-08 Timra 35 1 2 3 2
2007-08 U-18 6 2 3 5 6
2008-09 Timra 50 7 10 17 4
2008-09 WJC 6 2 5 7 6
Scouting Ranking
Org: TSN THN ISS RLR McK CS
Rank: 10 7 4 6 10 2 ES
Scouting Report
NHL Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire: "Magnus perhaps is the stereotype of the skilled Swede coming over here in recent years – outside speed extraordinaire, ability to freeze defenders and make all his good moves work even more effectively. He was a good contributor to his team at the World Junior tournament and I think will be an essential member of any NHL team in years to come. He showed, at the World Junior championships, why the 1980 comparisons to Mats Naslund, Kent Nilsson and more recently a Peter Forsberg will follow him over to his NHL team. He’ll be a high draft pick and I’m sure he’s going to be a combination of the kind of offensive flare and skills that have made those other three predecessors great NHL players."

1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60
Hon. Mentions Pg. 1 | Hon. Mentions Pg. 2 | DraftCentre

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