With the NHL Draft less than two weeks away, the New York Islanders will select London (OHL) forward John Tavares.
After weeks of going back and forth between Tavares and Modo defenseman Victor Hedman, the Islanders brass have decided on Tavares.
Hedman was under serious consideration as the thought of adding a potential franchise defenseman would be the best move for the long-run ,playing in a “center” rich division and having to face Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby 6 times a year
Tavares is a special player and the outcry from the Islanders fan base would be too much to handle for the Islanders organization, if they decided to pass on Tavares. There is a strong need to sell tickets and Tavares gives them that opportunity.
*The Colorado Avalanche are getting a ton of calls about the #3 selection as teams covet Brampton center Matt Duchene. Duchene is regarded as the most complete player in the draft.
* Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke has held discussions with the Atlanta Thrashers and the LA Kings about moving up to select Brandon (WHL) Center Brayden Schenn. Schenn has moved into the top 5 on many draft boards.
Three wingers on Pittsburgh’s radar are, Team South West Right Winger Zach Budish (6-3, 230 lbs) of the Minnesota Elite Hockey League,
USA – Under 18 Right Winger Kyle Palmieri (5-10, 195) and Rimouski Right Winger Jordan Caron (6-2, 202 lbs)
Budish is the major wildcard in the draft. Scouts I’ve talked to believe he would have been a top 15 pick if he didn’t blow out his knee last fall.
Budish is still not 100% but because he is a phenomenal talent, he is expected to go within picks 20-25. Pittsburgh has discussed moving up to land Budish but it will be difficult.
They do have some concerns due to his injury issues but Pittsburgh is in the position to take a gamble.
Caron is a talented winger who plays a strong two way game. He had 67 pts in 56 games for Rimouski and is rising on the Penguins draft board.
Kyle Palmieri (5-10, 193 lbs) is projected to be a right winger in the NHL after playing center for the U.S. National Team.
Palmieri is an exceptional skater who is an entertaining player to watch. Very strong on his skates, intelligent player and scouts believe he has 30+ goal potential in the NHL.
Had a strong season scoring 15 goals in 33 games for the Under -18 team.
Another winger Pittsburgh has had on their radar is Frolunda’s Carl Klingberg (6-3, 205 lbs)
Klingberg is the #7 ranked European skate but will not go into the top 20 because there are concerns that he is in no rush to play in North America.
That has Pittsburgh concerned but he is a player of interest according to sources.
Scouting Report According to the European Scouting Service: “He has explosive acceleration and is strong on his skates – he is hard to hold off when he’s driving the net. He works hard down low in the zone and is courageous enough to go into tight battles.”