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Scout: Prospect Victor Hedman is a "stud" and will be a "household name"

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June

First, let me say I never expected to bring the heat and humidity from Florida to Montreal, but it's toasty and in the 80s here today, and you can feel it when you walk around. And let me put in another rant against the airlines, which, despite clear skies in Tampa at 6 a.m. this morning and in Atlanta at 8:20, my scheduled departure, still could not get me to Montreal on time. Why? No Delta crew available when we were supposed to take off in Atlanta. No problem, though. Maybe I'll just show up 30 minutes late for the draft on Friday, say I'm sorry and be done with it.

Anyway, E.J. McGuire, head of NHL Central Scouting, had a difficult time restraining his enthusiasm for 6-foot-6 defenseman Victor Hedman, who most believe the Tampa Bay Lightning will take with the No. 2 overall pick of the draft, comparing him to Chris Pronger and Zdeno Chara; in fact, saying Hedman at this stage in his development is ahead of where Pronger and Zdeno were as 18-year-olds.

"Your question, succinctly answered, is that he's ahead of him," McGuire said. "Does that mean he will get better than Pronger? Well, he's got to continue to develop, or he will stay an 18-year-old who was better than Pronger. he's not as mean as Pronger but he probably won't take as many dumb penalties."

McGuire said Hedman has an "unsurpassed combination of size, explosiveness, skating quickness and offensive ability."

Compare that to the 6-9 Chara, whom McGuire said was a " gawky, stumbly defenseman who fought a lot and was tough, b ut was so rough around the edges. And now he's won the Norris Trophy."

So, how does McGuire see Hedman developing?

"He ends up as the No. 1 defenseman on whatever team he's on. He ends up as Nicklas Lidstrom. He ends up as Chris Pronger. ... He is a stud, and if he continues to develop, I project in five short years he's going to be a household name for NHL followers."

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]

    

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