[Editor's Note: Please forgive the potential Tavares-Hedman overload. The way the Islanders competed this weekend, and the way Colorado has not the last two weeks, prompts me to publish any of these stories immediately. If I hold on to any articles too long, they could be completely worthless].
Tim Burke has been the Director of Scouting for the San Jose Sharks for the last 12 years. He is widely hailed by his peers as one of the best talent evaluators in the game. The Sharks lead the NHL with a record of 50-15-11. The team is loaded with home-grown players drafted by Burke and his staff.
In 2001, the Sharks made six draft selections. All of them made the NHL, including ace defenseman forward Ryane Clowe, taken 175th overall. Ten years ago, he even found a Swedish kid playing at Portledge on Long Island. Douglas Murray turned into a 6-3, 240-pound defenseman for the Sharks.
I received a note over the weeked from John Kreiser, a hockey writer I've known a long time. John and the staff at nhl.com were putting together a Tavares-Hedman poll of their own. In an email, Burke made his pick to Kreiser:
"Hedman. A team must build goal out and this kid can play a lot of minutes. World Juniors will be a small % of the decision. Hedman is ahead as he is a D and has unlimited upside."
We won't know where the NYI will draft until the lottery on April 14. No one knows who the Islanders will select if they're fortunate enough to get the No. 1. This view from Burke, educated from 1987-1992 at the University of Lou Lamoriello, is presented solely as a public service.