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article imagePreview: NHL Draft 2009 in Montreal

By Mark Kersten     Jun 26, 2009 in Sports
Tonight the National Hockey League will hold its highly anticipated draft in Montreal amidst intense speculation and widespread rumours that have the hockey world grasped in anticipation.
What do Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, Vincent Lecavalier, Dion Phaneuf and Tomas Kaberle have in common? They could all find themselves with new homes after tonight's draft in Montreal.
Indeed, rumours have been swirling around dozens of players in the weeks leading up to tonight's draft. But perhaps the biggest question is who will hold the distinction of being drafted first overall.
After a lowly season in which they finished last in the National Hockey with just 26 wins in 82 games, the New York Islanders have the first overall pick. But Islanders General Manager Garth Snow is being tight lipped about who his team will draft and it seems no hockey pundits are sure.
Some believe that it is a no-brainer, and the Islanders will draft John Tavares, the dynamic, gamebreaker from the OHL. Others, including TSN's Bob Mackenzie, believes that Snow will take dominant Swedish defenseman Viktor Hedman, believed to be the most NHL-ready player in the draft. Some believe that New York will take neither, instead opting to pick Canadian speedster Matt Duchene.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have the second pick in the draft, followed by the Colorado Avalanche drafting third, the Atlanta Thrashers picking fourth and the Los Angeles Kings fifth.
Just as exciting as the draft itself will be the possible trades this weekend.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been offered a trade for defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Boston Bruins which includes American sniper Phil Kessel.
Jay Bouwmeester, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, will almost surely have the rights to negotiate with him traded. It appears to be coming down to the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.
Two-time fifty goal scorer, Dany Heatley, who asked for a trade from the Ottawa Senators earlier this month, may be shipped out over the weekend. He is owed a bonus of $4 million on July 1st and Ottawa General Manager Bryan Murray has indicated that shipping Heatley out of Ottawa will become unlikely should a trade not be arranged before that date. It has been widely rumoured that a number of teams, including Edmonton, Los Angeles, St. Louis and New York have shown interest in getting Heatley.
If that isn't enough, all-star defenseman Chris Pronger of the Anaheim Ducks may be traded, depending on whether or not future Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Niedermayer decides to play another season with the Ducks.
Of course there are also the rampant rumours about Montreal, the host city of the draft, making the biggest splash and acquiring Quebec native Vincent Lecavalier from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
So, will the speculation on the airwaves and on the web be matched by the action on the floor of the Bell Centre? It is yet to be seen, but it is an exciting time to be a hockey fan. One fan put it this way: "It's like Christmas in June!"
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