We as Islander fans got our end of the year smile beating the Rangers and having some of the kids shine in doing so. Now the attention must turn to off season business. We can all whine and cry about how the team should send a rocket ship up to the moon and bring a chunk of it back for Marian Hossa but let us all be realistic people it simply isn't going to happen What will happen is a totally other thing. Here is my REALISTIC wish list for the off season.
1 - Big Draft Day - What the team has qualified for this off season will be answered tomorrow night at 8 PM on Versus. 8.1 %. That is the chance the Islanders have of winning the draft lottery and securing the number one overall pick virtually guaranteed to be Steven Stamkos. Stamkos is not the only jewel in this draft which is what makes this draft so monumental. Remember these names because if you see any one of them in an Islander cap on draft day we have scored, and scored big time.
1 - Steven Stamkos
2 - Kyle Beach
3 - Cody Hodgson
4 - Colin Wilson
SLEEPER - Nikita Filitov
The Islanders will have one of the 4 kids listed above on their roster after draft day, unless something catastrophic happens, like Snow picking one of the many defensive prospects projected to go in the top 10. There are a LOT of highly rated defense prospects which will only help the Islanders cause of picking one of the top 4 prospects and gives them a pretty good shot at Beach, even if they stay in the 5 spot. Past Stamkos, the number 2 offensive prospect is Kyle Beach, whom I believe is who the Islanders should select if he is on the board when their number is up on draft day with Hodgson, Wilson and Filitov as backups if they fall back in position.
2 - Bryan Mcabe. Yes I know the team needs scoring. The team also needs a stud on defense. Mcabe seems to want to leave Toronto, and Toronto would still love to unload his contract. Can they put together a trade? It was bandied about on deadline day but they couldn't come to an agreement. Now with the whole off season maybe the time needed to work out the particulars of a deal can be done and get the Islanders the defensive workhorse and power play point man every team needs.
3 - Free Agents - As was stated above, Marian Hossa is the jewel of the free agent market this season. It would be an absolute pipe dream to get him in the Orange and Blue but we can all dream and that is what it will likely stay, a dream. There are however other players out there who could help offensivley and come at a much cheaper price than Hossa, who will command a 6-8 year, 70-90 million dollar contract. Some of them are - Vaclav Prospal, Corey Stillman, Sergei Samsonov, Micheal Ryder, Pavol Dimetra, Brian Rolston and I may get some flack for saying this - Avery. Out of the names above I would put Micheal Ryder at the top of it because he is 27 and was absolutely buried in Montreal after his rocky contract negotiations with the Habs last off season. The free agents available on defense the team should pursue? Remember a guy named Wade Redden? Well lets be honest were not going to get him either. One name the Islanders could conceivably have a shot at.. how about John-Micheal Liles?
4 - New York Islanders 2008-09 Roster - The Voice of the Islander fan REALISTIC wish list -
LW - Blake Comeau, Jon Sim, Corey Stillman, Richard Park
RW - Bill Guerin, Kyle Okposo, Trent Hunter, Micheal Ryder
C - Kyle Beach, Mike Comrie, Jeremy Colliton, Mike Sillinger
Extra Forwards - Andy Hilbert, Jeff Tambelini, Sean Bergenhiem
Sprinkle in some more veteran presence and it could be a very nice mix. Some of you are thinking - No Vasicek? No people No Vasicek unless you want to send Mike Sillinger packing.
Defense - Brendan Witt, Chris Campoli, Bruno Gervais, Andy Sutton, Bryan MCabe, Radek Martinek.
Extra defenseman - Matt Spiller.
No Real surprises here I wouldn't trade anything but a middling prospect for Caber because of his bloated contract. I don't think you would have to given his status in Toronto these days. Hillen needs to prove himself in Bridgeport but he seems to have the tools.
Goaltenders - Rick DiPietro, Joey McDonald.
I would love to keep Doobie here but I have this feeling that he has impressed another team who needs a goaltender (LA, Chicago) to give him at least a shot at the number one spot, something he will never ever get here.
The road to next season is an exciting one my friends and it all begins tomorrow nights NHL Draft Lottery. Lets all hope as Islander fans that all of out bad karma with injuries comes back and nets us the number one overall pick. Sprinkle in a couple of free agents, a power play QB, and I will go into the 2008-09 season a happy blogger. In the mean time, everyone keep your fingers crossed and come on back to The Voice tomorrow for my thoughts on the draft lottery.