As the draft seemingly slowly approaches it is the biggest question in Islanders Country, who will be the 1st overall pick? With rumors of John Tavaras dancing in most Islanders fan's heads and the hope that he will bring a cup to Long Island, it could be clouding what is really behind the exteriors of the "Big 3". Lets take a quick look at each of the "Big 3" in my eyes. Mind you I am no hockey guru with hours of scouting done on each player.
It seems that every Islanders fan knows this guy's story. The amazing young player that broke Gretzky's scoring record in the OHL, the player who averages over 2 points a game. It is hard not to drool at the thought of seeing him in blue and orange scoring at will. But lets take a quick look at some other teams who have a great sniper on their team. Atlanta has Kovalchuk, aren't they picking rather high in this draft? What about Tampa Bay with St. Louis, I am pretty sure they are picking #2 in this draft? Ottawa has their sniper in Heatly, welcome to the #9 pick in this draft. What I am trying to say here is that an amazing sniper doesn't automatically mean a Stanley Cup. This may seem like the dream pick for all Islander fans but no promise of a cup comes along with it. But it is known that he will put fans in seats or standing cheering next to their seats.
A defenseman with 6'-6" size and who can skate better then most forwards has every goalie in the NHL begging their GM to make a trade to pick this guy. With comparisons to Nick Lidstrom and Chris Pronger, it seems like this kid could be the next best defenseman in this draft. They say "offense wins games but defense win championships", so going by this it should be a no brainier. I wouldn't be to quick to jump. When drafting guys for the back end it is always a crap shoot. Not saying Hedman won't be great because I am sure he will be, but there could be a better defenseman later in the draft that just hasn't developed yet. So what I am saying here is that on a team where offense and defense was a problem last year it is harder to find a true goal scorer then a d-man. Once again would be a great pick for the Islanders but may not be what we need right now.
This could be the trickiest one of the "Big 3" to get a feel for. Matt played second line for his team this year and was only starting to make noise about mid way through the season. He is however consider to be a "complete package", a kid that can skate like a bat out of hell and play great at both ends of the ice. His numbers aren't as impressive as Tavares but he still averaged over a point a game last year. Now this is where most na sayers step up and say of course he could do that facing team's 2nd defensive pairings. But you think about where this kid will step into on this team right away, with Bailey and Weight he could be as far back as the 3rd line for a season or two and that may help get his feet under him. But as most islanders fan are saying we need a player with this pick to be an impact player right away. Personally I feel Matt could do that as well as Victor and John. The one quote that keeps sticking out in my head is "John will win you games, Matt will win you championships"
Now I am not making a pick on who I think the Islanders will pick or who I want to be called at 7:15pm on Friday. I stand fully behind what Garth Snow and Company have done in the past drafts and what they have planned for this one. That is also the way I feel most Islander fans need to approach Friday night. I know most fans would want to tear the building down and start calling them the Kansas City Islanders (doesn't really fit) if we don't pick Tavares but I feel like no matter who we get out of these 3 we will still be on the right track to turning this team around!!
Thanks for reading and please excuse any grammar or spelling mistakes I may have had.