In the second part of our 2009 Draft preview, Canadians take centre- and defense- stage.
Brayden Schenn, C
Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Height/Weight: 6'0, 196 lbs
2007-08 Statline: 66 GP, 23-48-71, +22, 48 PIM
What We Said Then: Nothing. Schenn was still in AAA, doing well for himself with a 27-43-70 statline. Look familiar?
What's Going Now: Luke Schenn may be the most famous by that surname, but wait until this June. Brother Brayden is one of the few CHLers to make a name for himself almost exclusively on the international stage. First coming to light at the World U17s in January, Schenn lead the tourney in points with an amazing 13 in just six games. That performance earned him an invite to the U18 squad, where he posted a respectable three points in six games. Schenn would wrap up the year with a six-point performance in four games at the summer Ivan Hlinka Memorial U18 tournament.
Schenn is a throwback to forgotten Detroit Red Wings legend Sid Abel. Called by some historians as the greatest leader in the history of the franchise- yes, even ahead of Yzerman- Abel was a clutch LW/C who dazzled with his playmaking ability. He could also play scrappy when required, which wasn't often on a line with Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay. Some have compared Schenn to Messier or even Iginla, but he simply doesn't play as mean and he isn't as natural a scorer as either.
What's On Tap: Look for Brayden to enjoy another impressive all-around season, playing in every situation and netting 85ish points. He'll be a top-five pick and could be in the NHL next fall. Looking further ahead, expect the sort of numbers he compiles already- 25ish goals, 40-45 assists, and a career as a glue 2nd line center (think Bernie Federko).At his peak he could be a 30-goal, 50-60 assist man.
Matt Duchene, C
Brampton Battalion (OHL)
Height/Weight: 5'11, 190 lbs
2007-08 Statline: 64 GP, 30-20-50, -2, 22 PIM
What We Said Then: "One of the youngest committed recruits in Michigan State University history, Matt Duchene was 15 when he made the decision to attend that school when his Midget hockey days were over. It's not really surprising why MSU would take on the forward so early. There's something about a player that age scoring 184 points in 64 games in Midget AAA that draws attention. Capable of dominating a game with just his shot, Duchene also possesses top-flight speed and a knack for finding the open space."
What's Going On Now: Well, Duchene may have been a 14 year-old college recruit, but he never ended up there. Instead, the talented center headed to Brampton and the OHL, where's been nothing short of a star. It says something about the quality of this draft when a 30-goal OHL rookie is in the second tier of players. Still an elite sniper, Duchene is one of the hardest-working forecheckers you'll ever see. His tenacity and third and fourth effort goals are Crosby-esque. A typical Duchene goal is one where he strips the point man of the puck and dekes through him before going on a breakaway half the length of the ice.
What's On Tap: Duchene has almost underperformed statistically for the talent he has, and he could be the breakout star of this draft a year or two down the line. For now, look for a 100-point season and 50 goals.
Nazem Kadri, C
Kitchener Rangers (OHL)