It seems like yesterday we were all sitting around waiting and wondering whether The Islanders and their brain trust would do what we all wanted and expected them to do and that is draft John Tavares.
Now that JT has his first Islanders season and his first 24 goals under his belt the focus can be shifted to the very important question of "Whats Next?"
The Islanders hold the number 5 overall pick this season and should be able to net themselves another blue chip prospect. Who that will wind up being is any ones guess.
After top prospects Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall the door is wide open to who will go third, fourth and fifth.
With all of the analyzing going on over trying to figure out who the Islanders will draft and all of the dealing the Islanders have done in past drafts that task is next to impossible to determine but that does not mean we cannot discuss it.
I would love to see the Islanders stick to their guns and draft 5th if they cannot move up into the top 2 which is a pipe dream. The Oilers and Bruins will draft 1 and 2 unless they switch positions which has been rumored.
Taylor Hall will likely go number one to the Oilers and Tyler Seguin will likely be drafted by the Bruins. The bottom line is this you take the best player available at your position in the draft and these two kids are the class of this years draft.
Toronto Maple Leaf nation is probably kicking itself in the rear again after its failed attempt to get John Tavares and now trading for Phil Kessel will cost them dearly again if Seguin turns into the player he is projected to.
After the big two, we could see a run of defenseman being drafted with top prospects Brandon Gormley, Erik Gundbranson and Cam Fowler project to go in the top 6 or 7.
The Big question will be which one of them will be left for the Islanders to take? Most mock drafts have Gormley and Fowler going 3 and 4. If that is the case I would love the Islander to select RW Brett Connoly. He always seems to be around the net and is not afraid to get in the thick of things and pick up the so called "ugly" goal.
He is not going to blow past defenders and roof the puck and be on TSNs highlight reel but he can score and that is what the Islanders need.
If Fowler falls to 5th then he should be the selection. although his stock has fallen a bit as he was originally projected to be in the top 3 with Hall and Seguin maybe that can be to the Islanders benefit.
The wild card in my eyes is Vladmir Taresenko who has a KHL contract that may scare away many GMs. The Islanders still have the rights to Kirill Petrov of the KHL and he is also under contract to the Russian league so it is doubtful Snow would want to repeat that situation at least this high in the draft.
If Teresenko was a sure bet to be in the NHL next year his talent alone would put him easily in the top 3 of the draft.
Is he worth a shot? Only Garth Snow and his staff knows for sure.
The only sure thing at this time is the Islanders stand to get themselves yet another blue chip prospect for their ongoing rebuilding process.
The process is working as evidenced by the teams improvements last season and if things break right the team should contend for a playoff spot this season.
That is a discussion for another day as the focus is on the NHL draft and the Islander adding to their fully stocked cupboard of prospects.
Once the draft is out of the way we can discuss free agency and more which the Islander will have to be more active in filling roles unless they intend to promote from within to fill the holes in the team.
Who from the Islander system is ready to make the jump to the NHL?
On the forward line I would love to see Jesse Joensuu get more than the cup of coffee he has received. Robin Figrin may be ready for a long time look as well as Matt Martin. Trevor Smith should be able to stick with the team also if they do not pursue free agent help he is a capable 4th line center.
Anyone want to see what David Toews is capable of? I sure do.
On defense, Calvin de Haan had some injury trouble last season which will probably derail his shot at the big club at least for the beginning of the season.
Dylan Reese played very well in his stint at the end of last season, Mark Flood did not embarrass himself and could prospect Aaron Ness be ready for a shot? Training camp should be very interesting to say the least.
If the Islanders stay true to the rebuild free agency will not be an issue. They will promote from within and sign one or two hole filling free agents.
At this point bringing in big free agents is a mistake and Snow and Company should stick to the plan and build from within. The fans of the team have seen what building a team the right way can do i.e. Chicago and Pittsburgh.
After the draft tonight I will post a "Good and the Bad" of the Islanders draft so stay tuned to what should be a very interesting draft and another chapter in the building of the NY Islanders.