The 2009 NHL Entry Draft was one of the weakest in NHL history, despite two very elite talents being taken first and second overall. There are many players who just missed my top 10 due to the fact that no one outside of my top 8 really stands out to me. This draft saw many first round busts or players who just didn’t pan out after their junior careers. Players such as Scott Glennie, Jared Cowen, Magnus Paajarvi, Peter Holland, Louis Leblanc, Phillipe Paradis, and Carter Ashton. Despite the amount of players who didn’t excel at the NHL level, you can still find some bright spots from this group of players.
10.) Jakub Silfverberg
This may surprise some having Silfverberg so high. Silfverberg is an elite two-way winger, one of the best since Jere Lehtinen. He is also a guy you can rely on for 20 goals and 40+ points. I really think Ottawa botched this trade with Anaheim. (Silfverberg and a 2014 1st (Nick Ritchie) to the Ducks for Bobby Ryan).
9.) Mike Hoffman
Hoffman is an elite offensive winger. Taken in the fifth round, he was one of the bigger steals of this draft. For the past four years, Hoffman has been reliable for 50-60 points and has nearly been a 30 goal scorer three times. He is so quick and opens up alot of ice, it would be nice to see him on a team that doesn’t play a 1-3-1 system.
8.) Nazem Kadri
The biggest project on this list, Nazem Kadri has been in my opinion Mike Babcock’s greatest work. As Steve Dangle says, it is a miracle that Kadri is a Leaf after all of the trade rumors that surrounded him for the entirety of his career. When Babcock came in Kadri became a shutdown second line center with a great scoring touch. Despite his questionable on-ice antics, Kadri is a very effective player.
7.) Matt Duchene
What a strange career Matt Duchene has had. Such a great skater and has great offensive talent, but he has had such a drop-off in production since the 2014/2015 season. I suppose you can throw last year out with how bad Colorado was. However, he has not been great even after being traded this year. I thought a change of scenery would be great for Duchene but so far it has been ineffective. I’m not ready to give up on him yet as a second line center however.
These next three players can be placed in any order. It gets very tough here.
6.) Mattias Ekholm
The most underrated defenseman in the NHL today. Mattias Ekholm is an elite shutdown defender with solid offensive skills. You never see Ekholm making mistakes out there, he and Subban as a pair create the best shutdown pair in the NHL. I hope more fans became aware of how good Ekholm was in last years’ playoffs.
5.) Ryan Ellis
Ellis and Ekholm are nearly interchangeable here. Ryan Ellis is a dynamite two-way defenseman. He is often viewed as an offensive minded guy when that is simply not the case. What made the Ellis-Josi pairing so great last year was Ellis’ ability to cover for Josi when he was creating offense. Ellis is top end defenseman and is going to get quite the pay raise after the 2019 season.
4.) Ryan O’Reilly
O’Reilly is an excellent top line, two-way center. He is a legitimate Selke candidate every season. He has hovered in the 50-60 point range his entire career and has been a fantastic shutdown guy. One of my favorite things about him is his ability to stay out of the penalty box. His penalty differential is outstanding.
3.) Oliver Ekman-Larsson
OEL is a top end defenseman who has been stuck on the disaster of a Coyotes team for his entire career. He is a great two-way guy with an excellent offensive side of his game. He has been a 20 goal defensman twice in his career and is reliable for 45-55 points.
2.) Victor Hedman
Victor Hedman is just outside of the Karlsson/Doughty range. I’d say he and Subban are the second best defenders in the league. Hedman is excellent at both ends of the ice and is a franchise defenseman.
1.) John Tavares
The reason I’d take Tavares over Hedman, just as the Islanders did, is because of how elite of a top line center he is. He is a great two-way player and has led the Islanders to success in recent years, despite them being very mediocre outside of him. He is ever so slightly more valuable than Hedman and I believe the Islanders made the right choice with this pick.
Honorable Mentions : Nick Leddy, Marcus Johansen, Chris Kreider, Tomas Tatar, Tyson Barrie, Reilly Smith, Sami Vatanen, Evander Kane, Kyle Palmieri.
If you remember I had PK Subban over Patrick Kane in my 2007 redraft. That was because Kane is a one way player who plays on the wing. A great one way player, but he does not have as much of an impact on the game as a franchise defenseman does. So why didn’t I take Hedman first overall here? I believe you should always start building your team with an elite number one center, that is what Tavares is. But why didn’t I take Stamkos number one in 2008? That is because Karlsson and Doughty are on a whole different level from anyone else in the league. You cannot pass up on one of those two, they do not come around that often, especially in the same draft.
It is not an easy decision to decide between John Tavares and Victor Hedman, but I believe the one and two picks in this draft were knocked out of the park.