Let me start off by saying this, I still love the draft. I do care where the Islanders end in the standings, but no matter where they end up I’m a believer in winning through the draft, just look at Boston & Chicago (more on that in my next post). I feel that through good drafting, a team can be properly managed better and gives more respect and stability to an organization when they make the playoffs year in and year out with the occasional Stanley Cup banner or Cup Final appearance, just look at Pittsburgh, Detroit and New Jersey. All five teams have the same things in common, good drafting. Can fans begin to include the Islanders in this prestigious category in the near future? Some already have.
Whether you hate them or not, when Penguins players say that the Islanders remind them of themselves six years ago with just a player or two away from a Cup run, you take that compliment. Folks, the Islanders are loaded in prospects to make a deep run into the playoffs next year and the Penguins know it. Which is why at this years draft in New Jersey things will be different then from past years.
Let me make a few points: First, the Islanders are built, there is no rebuilding needed anymore; Second, there will be no Josh Bailey scenarios where this draft pick comes in an plays because there’s not enough depth on this team; Third, the Islanders will not be expecting to draft another John Tavares in a mid first round draft, so don’t expect him to be on the Island next year; Finally, This player will be playing in juniors & Bridgeport in the coming years so there will not be Nino Niederreitter situation either. This draft pick will get the same treatment that Ryan Strome will be receiving this year, maturing in the AHL.
Having said all that when the Islanders do pick, there’s enough depth in this organization that fans should not expect to see this player for at least 3-5 years in Brooklyn. Maybe with a call-up or two, but that’s it. The role of a draft pick is to grow & mature while playing in the minors and respond when the big club calls you up. That’s it. However, the Islanders are picking for the future and in the future there will be some needs in Bridgeport to fill. When I do draft picks, I always start with position first not the best player available. So what position should the Islanders look at?
When I look at the Sound Tigers in 3 years I see many of the forwards are gone. By forwards, I’m talking about top six forwards who will make it to the NHL at some point in that time frame, so it would be wise to go forward in the first round. The defense looks to be okay, but with the eventual departures of Matt Donovan and Calvin de Haan, the Islanders may also look into drafting a quarterback powerplay defenseman. Finally, the goaltending looks bone dry, especially if Mikko Koskinen does not cross the pond to play, so certainly look for a goalie as well. With Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson, the Islanders may not need to draft a goalie in the first round, but I’ve been wrong before (Hello DP).
So starting on Friday through June 28th I’ll be posting roughly ten players who I believe the Islanders might draft and on June 29th, I’ll “predict” who will be the next New York Islander. Let me know if there is a player you would like profiled as well. Let the draft fun begin.
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