Two months ago, I would think the above statement was insane. But now, I can't justify drafting Tavares over Hedman. Yes, Tavares has unbelievable scoring ability. I think he'll be as good, or better, than Crosby and Malkin in a few years.
But I don't think that ability is more desirable than to have a 6'5" defenseman who'll be a rock on defense the next decade plus. You can always find people who can put the puck in the net, but hulking franchise defenseman don't exist outside of Pronger, Chara, and Bouwmeester - all of whom are superstars.
The Avs have a very respectable collection of defensive prospects as it is. Kevin Shattenkirk is a great prospect, and would be the ultimate compliment to Hedman for the next decade (very similar to the Lidstrom/Rafalski duo...and I'm not just saying that because Hedman is Swedish and Shattenkirk is American).
Kyle Cumiskey, Nigel Williams, Colby Cohen, and Cameron Gaunce all look like they're bound to be NHLers at some point, so a couple of them could be 2nd or 3rd pair defenseman for the Avalanche down the road. That's not mentioning Michael Vernace and Derek Peltier, neither of whom have looked out of place in their short stints with the Avs this season.
However, none of them are #1 defensemen. If you draft Victor Hedman, you have one of the best #1 defensemen for years to come in addition to all of those good complimentary defensemen.
He's to hoping we draft 2nd overall.
Tampa Bay lost in overtime tonight. If they get another point, it all but guarantees the Avs will finish the season 29th. Despite the tough schedule and massive injuries, there's no telling if the Avs can somehow pull a win out. But there's no way they'll get 3 more points, which is the edge Tampa will have on them if they lose another overtime game.
I like the odds of that happening, seeing as they've lost an NHL best (or worst) 18 overtime games.
I'm impressed with the hard workers the Avs should have the next few years. Mercier, Yip, McLeod, Jones, Stewart, and Stoa are all players who work their tail off, so even if the team still sucks three years from now we'll at least see that there are some players who actually try.