MONTREAL - Who is No. 1?
Garth Snow is tight-lipped about who he'll take with the No. 1 overall selection in the NHL draft tomorrow at the Bell Centre. And don't even try and get into a guessing game with the New York Islanders GM.
Will it be London Knights centre John Tavares?
Or are the Islanders going to opt for Swedish blueliner Victor Hedman?
Brampton Battalion centre Matt Duchene is also in the mix.
"We've had our staff in here for the last couple of days and it's going to be a great night," said Snow following the NHL board of governors meeting yesterday at the Marriott Chateau Champlain.
Plenty of teams looking to move up in the draft to select Tavares have offered immediate help, but the Islanders aren't likely to deal the pick.
The Islanders can't afford to deal the pick. Excited fans in Long Island have been filling message boards with support for drafting Tavares. And there's no question the Islanders need a marketable commodity.
The belief is the Isles will opt for Tavares, but Snow isn't saying. If Snow goes with Hedman, there's a chance Toronto GM Brian Burke will make a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning to select Tavares at No. 2.
The Leafs, currently sitting at No. 7, want to move up and are believed to be dangling defenceman Tomas Kaberle in Tampa's direction.
"We know we're going to get a great player and someone that is going to help us get to where we want to be," said Snow.
Those who have spoken to Snow aren't sure which direction he'll go.
"He's certainly not going to tell me, but he espoused the virtues of all three of the guys," said Atlanta assistant GM Rick Dudley. "Tavares is a glitzy name and that might be a good thing for that area.
"You're talking about an NHL scoring champion (Tavares) or a 30-minute defenceman (with Hedman). It's hard to find both," said Dudley.
"Both have a chance to make an impact. Hedman is 6-foot-6. He¹s like Paul Coffey and it's hard to argue about him.
"Probably, the most complete player is Duchene. But there are a couple of other guys as well.
"One of the problems with this draft is there are probably eight or nine guys that you can't say categorically that one guy is going to be the best pro. That's what makes the decision so difficult."