Kadri keeps an eye on draft board

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

Nazem Kadri will follow the bouncing ping pong ball results when the 2009 NHL draft pecking order is revealed on TSN Tuesday night.

He's just not putting much stock into how they drop.

"So many things can happen," the London Knights forward said. "NHL teams can trade their picks, even right at the draft, to move up and get their guy so everything can change and the order doesn't mean anything anymore.

"But it's always fun to see how it goes. I'll pay attention."

The Londoner was 11 years old when Columbus Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean traded up to the No. 1 spot to grab Knights forward Rick Nash with the first overall selection.

This summer is shaping up a lot like the 2007 draft for London. Two years ago, the Knights produced the first overall pick -- Pat Kane to the Chicago Blackhawks -- and No. 6 when Sam Gagner went to Edmonton.

"There are some similarities," London assistant coach Pat Curcio said. "Dale (Hunter, head coach) and I watched last year to see how the order would go and I'm sure we'll do it again because the team has more of a vested interest in it this time."

Now London's John Tavares is the overwhelming favourite to go first overall -- although some continue to promote big Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman for that honour.

The New York Islanders are currently in the NHL basement and if they stay there, would have the best odds -- nearly 50% -- of getting that top pick. They have been represented at Knights games at the John Labatt Centre over the last two months.

Kadri's first-round spot in the draft is still up for debate. He's helping his stock with his current playoff performance and a rash of five-point games.

"It's not about how many points you get," Kadri said, "but the further we go, the more publicity we'll receive. When you play well as a team, it helps everyone."

Both have some guys to lean on heading into the draft. Teammates John Carlson (Washington) and Michael Del Zotto (Rangers) were first-rounders last year.

It's hard not to notice the media outlets that try to match a team's potential draft order to the top prospects in their range.

Recently, Kadri -- a life-long Montreal Canadiens fan -- had been suggested to fall into the spot around where the Toronto Maple Leafs would pick.

"My parents would love that with Toronto only being two hours away," he said with a big grin. "It's just going to be an honour to be drafted."

He has also come out and said he would love to play in a warm-weather climate.

"That would be a dream," Kadri said. "To get up and play some golf before going to the rink would be incredible. That would be pretty amazing. I guess you could do that in Toronto, too."

The Florida Panthers, who are also in that range, would fit the bill for a pregame 18 holes. Peter DeBoer is the team's head coach and he's the guy who brought Kadri to Kitchener in the first round of the OHL draft three years ago.


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