Let’s go back to the 2008 season. The Islanders had missed the playoffs because of injuries to the big club and there was zero depth in Bridgeport. That was when General Manager Garth Snow announced that the Islanders would begin the process of rebuilding the organization. It’s every fans worst word to hear in sports….rebuild. Rebuild meant to fans that their team was going to stink to high Heaven and that they were in for a long season. So when the draft came along, Islanders fans wanted this thing to go by as quickly as possible. Hence the name: Nikita Filatov. I used to be on Newsday’s comment section everyday & I still passionately read the comments boards of Islander Mania and Filatov was on everyone’s wish list. Why? He was a scoring phenom. Some fans even went as far as saying the next Mike Bossy on the first line scoring for years to come. I myself and a few others were big on Colin Wilson, the still Nashville Predator while a few were also looking to rebuild through defense first with Luke Schenn.
So when it came to draft day, the official day of the Islanders rebuild, most Islanders fans waited with baited breathe as they knew Garth would pick Filatov. Then it happened, Snow not only traded once but twice moving from the 5th overall pick down to 9th. Talk about pandemonium. Islanders fans saw Toronto take Schenn at number 5 while Columbus took Filatov at 6. Who did the Islanders take? Josh Bailey? Who?!!! Garth’s defense was that Bailey was number 2 behind Stamkos in scoring the OHL. But it’s not FILATOV!!! Then the jokes started flying about a backup goalie turning GM didn’t know squat compared to what the fans knew. So let’s take a look at some of the forwards that were drafted in the first round of 2008:
Name Games Goals Assists Points
1. Steven Stamkos 380 213 183 396
2. Nikita Filatov 53 6 8 14
3. Colin Wilson 217 47 59 106
4. Mikkel Boedker 263 36 64 100
5. Josh Bailey 336 61 85 146
6. Cody Hodgson 146 36 47 83
11. Jordan Eberle 203 70 92 162
14. Tyler Ennis 196 49 75 124
Now we can discuss Bailey’s development for another time, but as of this writing Josh Bailey is 2nd in games played, 3rd in goals scored and 3rd in points in this draft class. The best part about Josh? He’s oozing confidence and when he’s confident, his game picks up two more gears in his game so his stats will only improve. This year will be a year that John Tavares will not be the only one to carry a team for stretches at a time. Josh Bailey’s time is here and now. Having the 3rd best scorer from that draft and to have the number 1 scorer of that next draft (Tavares), the Islanders started well on that journey back in 2008 and it’s only now, with time and patience, that the Islanders are here to stay for a long time. For those who wanted that prolific winger? Ironically, in the end, that’s what you got.