Tonight is the night. The most important night in Islander franchise history in the last 15- 20 or so seasons is tonight.
No its not a playoff series, a game against the Rangers, or a game they need to win to gain entry into the playoffs.
Its the Draft Lottery. 48.2%. That is the chance the Islanders have to win the number 1 overall pick this June, most certainly to be budding superstar John Tavares.
While this is no Sydney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin type. He could be a Vinny Lecavalier or Dany Heatly. He is a game changer. He very well could be the franchise player the Islanders have not had since the ill fated trade of Zigmund Palffy to the LA Kings.
In short - He is exactly what the doctor ordered.
I just completed reading a disturbing article by Newsday's Greg Logan on this very subject. Garth Snow is not tipping his hand as to who he may be looking at drafting. That there are 5 or 6 players he is considering.
The top two prospects in this draft are John Tavares and Victor Hedman in that order. After that there is a significant drop off. These two are potential franchise players, a term you will not hear tagged with anyone else in this draft.
Yes we all know that there are always lower picks that turn out better which is the gamble that Snow and company took last season by passing over Nikita Filatov and clearing out his own draft party in the process.
Could you imagine if the Islanders interpid GM passes over Hedman or Tavares? Imagine what it will be like, 3,000 Islander fans in the coliseum. They have the number one pick. Tavares and Hedman are biting their nails. Pierre Maguire of TSN is announcing that the Islanders will make their pick.. Wait.. Gary Bettman is walking tot he podium and speaks the words that have become cannon fodder in Islanders lore.
"We have a trade to announce"
Sorry Garth, this time the Coliseum would burn.
The plan should be quite simple. You have the first pick, you draft Tavares. You have the second pick and Tavares is off the board, you draft Hedman.
No trading down. No Hedging the bet. No fancy re-imagining or how to do business.
It is time the Islanders stop trying to re-invent the wheel and do what successful franchises do - and that is draft the best player at your turn in the draft.