What Steven Stamkos is to last year’s NHL draft in Ottawa, John Tavares is to this year’s draft in Montreal. The New York Islanders, who finished dead last in the NHL last season, selected John Tavares with the first pick of the draft. Tavares is an 18-year old center who most recently played for the OHL’s London Knights.
“Yeah, I had no idea, just like everybody else,” said Tavares. “I didn’t know what their decision would be, but it was obviously a great moment for me, a special feeling.”
Tavares is a 6-foot, 185-pound player from Oakville, Ontario. He led the OHL with 58 goals this past season and broke Peter Lee’s league record of 213 career goals; Tavares ended his OHL career with 215 goals.
When the Islanders selected Tavares, their fans back at Nassau County Coliseum immediately celebrated.
“I didn’t see it but I heard things and obviously they are really interested in having me, and I definitely have the support of the fans and the community — that’s huge,” said Tavares. “I’m very thankful to be going there and I appreciate the opportunity to be part of Long Island. It’s going to be great and I can’t wait to get things going knowing where it’s headed. It’s going to be a great future for all of us.”
Here’s a video of Tavares getting selected first overall:
Victor Hedman, a 6′ 6″ 220-pound defenseman from Sweden, was selected second overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Hedman was the top-ranked European prospect.
“My goal is to play with the Tampa Bay Lightning next season,” said Hedman. “I’m going to work hard this summer to make the team next year.”
Here is a video of Hedman getting selected second overall:
The Colorado Avalanche, who finished last in the Western Conference, was given the third pick of the draft; they selected Matt Duchene.
Joffrey Lupul has returned to California after a brief stint with Philadelphia; the Flyers acquired All-Star defenseman Chris Pronger in a multi-player trade. Anaheim, in addition to Joffrey Lupul, received defenseman Luca Sbisa and two first-round draft picks.
Other first round picks are as follows:
4. Atlanta Thrashers: Evander Kane
5. Los Angeles Kings: Brayden Schenn (he is the younger brother of Luke Schenn)
6. Phoenix Coyotes: Oliver Ekman Larsson
7. Toronto Maple Leafs: Nazem Kadri
8. Dallas Stars: Scott Glennie
9. Ottawa Senators: Jared Cowen
10. Edmonton Oilers: Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson
Here’s a video of the Maple Leafs selecting Nazem Kadri: