Hockey from the Blind Side, Blind Observations About the Draft

Well, it’s here and gone. With all of the build up, the 2014 NHL draft ended yesterday.

What was a surprise to me was the lack of any real surprises. I was expected a lot more trade activity, and that included the Islanders. And I’m not talking about swapping draft selections either. There were few trades at all, and Florida, as I suspected, held on to their first round pick.

So, when the smoke cleared, Garth Snow stayed the course and did his best to pick players he felt will move this team towards a championship. I was honestly surprised that there was no major trade with that pick, but I am usually wrong in my predictions when it comes to the Islanders anyway. That’s why I never win at gambling ….

A lot has been written and said about the draft as it is, but I figured that I’d tops in my opinions as well. I don’t think they really divert much from what a lot of people are saying, but it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to write. Also, I am going to make a few comments on some passed Sports Talk New York shows as well.Let me start with the draft and some free agency thoughts:

• I think Michael Dal Colle was definitely a solid pick for the Isles and fills a big need at wing for them. If the pick wasn’t traded, from everything my colleague, Paul, has written here, Dal Colle was the guy I wanted the Islanders to select. He may need to put on some weight and muscle, but the consensus seems to indicate that he will be NHL ready in two years. That, to me, is money in the bank for the Isles and an intelligent move by Snow.

• All right, so Josh Ho-Sang seems to be the controversial pick. Many teams passed over him, and it seems that his attitude and outspokenness damaged his draft value. He’s young and can mature, however. I can think of several family members and friends who some might have said had “attitude” problems at 18 years old who are completely different today …. including yours truly …

Ho-Sang is said to possess a lot of talent, and if he develops well and has the proper coaching and influences, he could very well prove to be a fantastic pick down the road. I think he needs to also fill out a bit and gain some muscle and size, but that can also come with time.

• How cool is it to have another Sutter in the fold? Yes, Lukas Sutter, the son of Rich Sutter, was drafted by the Islanders. I can’t wait to see that guy start to come through the system and find his way onto the team. From all reports, he seems to have the same gritty and reliable tendencies of all of the guys who have had the last name of Sutter in the NHL.

• The Islanders drafted two more goaltenders. This included a Russian player, Ilya Sorokin , and a Swede, Linus Soderstrom. This, to me, was not so surprising. Both guys are said to be promising, though, with goaltenders, as we all know, it’s a question of time and development and …. luck.

• Am I going to defend Garth Snow for “cursing” on television? Maybe, his choice of words could have been more careful, but the bottom line is I agree with his statement. Let’s face it, folks. He is “crapped on” all of the time by the NHL and even Islander fans. He is building a team towards the future, and despite what the thousands of armchair GMs we have in Islander Country might think, I think he’s doing the best he can under the circumstances. Some may disagree, but I don’t give a ……. either ……

• I don’t think I was in the minority by any means in believing that the Islanders would trade their pick. I honestly felt that they would make a splash by making some kind of deal. However, that is not to say that free agency starting on Tuesday won’t be interesting. It seems Snow has aggressively been courting a few interesting possibilities. I will be curious to see how this pans out though.

Join Gary and I tonight for our
Sports Radio New York
show. We will be talking the draft and free agency, and best of all, you can call in and yell at me if you choose. You can call the show at 631-888-8811.

It was great to have done the show with both Derek Wasiak and John Sweeney last week and to have been a guest on Derek and John’s show the previous week. Derek, for those not aware, is a Ranger fan and a passionate one at that. Also, the guy knows his stuff, so it was interesting to get the perspective from “the other side”.

What was a far different perspective from an Islander fan was how Derek commented on how little he pays attention to the draft and how few players the Rangers have drafted in the first round have developed into NHL stars. As an Islander fan, it seems we have lived and died by the draft for several years, and it was just strange to hear someone express so little importance in it. This is, in my opinion, probably more of a reflection of the philosophical differences in how the Rangers have been building teams and how the Islanders have gone about it. Personally, I think the salary cap has made the draft quite a bit more valuable, especially as the long term salaries and amounts of money being paid has made it a better option for teams to build by way of their own systems or via trades.

I hope you can join us tonight for the show. Also, please be sure to check in here for the latest news as free agency starts on Tuesday and we find out just what the Islanders might do.


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