In the 2009 NHL Draft, there was John Tavares and everyone not named John Tavares. Tavares was without a doubt the most heralded and coveted prospect since Sidney Crosby. In fact, he was so good that he unsuccessfully attempted to enter the 2008 NHL Draft at the age of 17.
For these reasons, it's curious that someone named Matt Duchene, the 19-year old 3rd pick in 2009 NHL Draft has been leading Tavares for over 2 months in both goals and scoring. Here are the stat lines for both players:
Matt Duchene: 23 Goals (1st), 27 Assists (2nd), 50 Points (1st)
John Tavares:21 Goals (2nd), 22 Assists (5th), 43 Points (2nd)
By no means does this mean that Duchene will end up the better player, but the fact that with just a handful of games left in 2009-10 NHL Season, the Calder Trophy (NHL Rookie of the Year) is essentially Matt Duchene's to lose in indeed interesting. Not only this, but you could argue that Sabres Defenseman Tyler Myers has been every bit as good as Tavares. Here's Myers stat line:
Tyler Myers: 10 Goals (7th), 32 Assists (1st), 42 Points (3rd)
Oddly, this is certainly not an unprecedented situation, as Sidney Crosby didn't win the Calder Trophy either. That award went to one "Alexander Ovechkin". This season, Ovechkin has a fairly decent lead over "Sid the Kid" in the NHL Points lead and the Capitals have had a far better season then the Penguins. Ovechkin would have to implode to not win his 3rd Straight Hart Trophy(NHL MVP). Crosby on the other-hand has just one Hart Trophy, but he does have something that Ovechkin does not, a Stanley Cup. Although, if the Capitals and Penguins face off in this years Playoffs, it will be the Capitals, not the Penguins with home ice advantage. If Ovechkin manages to raise the Cup, it would be hard to argue that Crosby is hands down the best player in hockey.
What this suggests to me is that both Ovechkin and Duchene are getting a raw deal. It's less a knock on Crosby and Tavares than it is a compliment to the talent of Ovechkin and Duchene. The only conclusion I can come to is that the NHL is utterly stacked with young stars.
Crosby or Ovechkin? Tavares or Duchene? I don't think there's a wrong answer to either of the NHL's two greatest questions. But I can tell you that both Duchene and Ovechkin are under-booked compared to Tavares and Crosby. Here's what I mean:
2009-10 Upper Deck #201 John Tavares Young Guns RC - $100
2009-10 Upper Deck #203 Matt Duchene Young Guns RC - $40
2005-06 Upper Deck #201 Sidney Crosby Young Guns RC- $300
2005-06 Upper Deck #443 Alexander Ovechkin Young Guns RC- $120