Another NHL draft is in the books and much to the dismay of the Islander fan base Nikita Filatov could have been but was not chosen by the team. The Voice is here to break down "The Good and the Bad" aspects of what Garth and Company have done this past weekend in Ottawa. If you have read my last column, you already know how I feel. How do the rest of the fans feel? Here is a breakdown of what I have heard from the fan base since Friday night on both sides of the coin.
THE GOOD -
1 - Increase the Odds. At best Filatov was one player and a good chance at becoming a franchise player, but now the team has a better chance because Snow turned one player into 4. Like it or not the team now has a better chance of getting quality for their picks just because of the sheer number of them and how deep this draft actually is. You cannot just judge the transactions on Filatov vs. Bailey alone. Its Filatov vs Bailey, Ness, Petrov and Toronto's 2009 2nd round pick. Experts say the system is now chock full of blue chip prospects who have a real shot at being big time players for the Islanders and that is a good thing, a very good thing.
2 - Build through the draft = contender. Ask Detroit, New Jersey, Anahiem, Pittsburgh Tampa Bay and Ottawa if they are happy about their team's success. On the same coin, ask Toronto and the Rangers how all of their big ticket free agents are doing the last 10 years. The bottom line people the only way we will break the 25 year long funk the Islanders are in is to build through the draft and this was the right draft to do it in.
3 - The team now has solid direction. - Hear me out on this one. Stability is key in sports. Players are attracted to it, fans are drawn to it, everything looks better when you have stability. Don't look now but the Lighthouse project is imminent. They are projected to start the long overdue renovation of the coliseum after this coming season. By the time this arena is completed we will know what the team has with its current crop of prospects. We have heard over and over again that the arena is the anchor that is holding the team back from generating income necessary to get the free agents to take us to the next level. The plan is now a 2-4 year plan to build a contender. If at that time the team is still struggling to make the playoffs then that is the time to hang Snow out to dry. Everyone wants to win now and turn the ship around overnight, but there is no clear formula to make that happen realistically. The only direction the Islanders can take is the direction they are in and its clearly pointed towards better times even though its tough to see the goal is at hand.
Time to switch sentiment... Here comes
THE BAD -
1 - Snow is to Filatov as Milbury is to Heatley - No matter what happens with the Islander prospects they have chosen in lieu of the Russian phenom people will always equate Snow's success with how good of a player Filatov turns into. If he puts up 35 goals next year for the Jackets, Snow will be crucified by the fans and the media. He will have Mike Milburied himself. Filatov's name will go right next to the names we are all trying to forget that are competing for Stanley Cups every year. Names like Spezza, Heatley, Luongo, Bertuzzi, Mcabe, Redden and Chara just to name a few. Its going to be a long time before we find out what we have with the kids chosen in the 2nd round, but we will know right away if Filatov is the real deal or not. If he tanks, then the fans will turn to see how Colin Wilson, Kyle Beach, Cody Hodgson and Mikkel Boedker are doing. This is almost a no win situation for Snow. Sre time will tell but the problem is no one rooting for this team wants to wait.
2 - Empty seats will stay empty - Short sighted or not, Filatov would have sold tickets and many of them. Instead fans busting for something to cheer for we are disappointed again by the Islander management. Short term prospects are as dim as they ever have been and is bad for business.
3 - Snow & Company smarter than the world? People do not like to be told that someone else is smarter than you. In passing up Filatov and choosing Bailey, Toews and Petrov and telling us that Bailey was the guy you wanted all along is a total reversal of what we were told going into the draft. We were told that we would get the best player at the position we were in and that at number 5 was either Luke Schenn or Filatov. Snow painted himself into a corner by opening his mouth and stating something he had no intention of doing. If there was at least an idea of what was to come maybe the fans would not have emptied the Coliseum like it was falling down Friday Night. Fact is, Bailey was rated by the scouting experts from the 10th best to the 17th best skater in the draft. Snow said he was the one he wanted. Filatov was rated the 3rd to the 6th best skater in the draft. Luke Schenn was rated the 4th to 5th best skater in the draft. Snow said Bailey was the one he wanted. Snow must know something the rest of the world doesn't. For his sake I hope he is right.
There you have it. Let me know what side of the coin you fall on and leave your comments here. I look forward to hearing what the fans have to say and I will respond to all comments.