The 2009 NHL Entry Draft has the possibility of going down in the record books as a major turning point the turning point for the New York Islanders franchise. For a franchise who’s tank has been running on empty for quite some time, this draft brought along several things that the Islanders needed so direly: excitement, possibility, and relevance. Excitement, in the sense that they were placed in a position to draft a franchise player who could reestablish their presence in the NHL. Possibility, in the sense that the Islanders were presented with the opportunity to bring in a game changing, and more importantly, franchise changing, player. Relevance, in the sense that, for the first time in a long time, the Islanders were the talk of the NHL, and it was in a positive light that they were spoken of. To further on that statement, the Islanders first overall selection not only kept them as the talk of the NHL since 7:12 PM Friday night when the pick was made, but if all unfolds as it should with the development of this franchise player, the Islanders may find themselves being spoken of in a positive light continuously.
For a team that is ridiculed and mocked as much as the Islanders are by the media, fellow hockey franchises, fellow hockey fans, and even more so by hockey analysts, it seems as if this redemption was a long time coming for Islanders fans. While it is premature to say they will rise to the top just because of this one pick, the feelings of excitement and anticipation have not been this strong on Long Island for as long as I can remember. What helps to encourage this excitement and anticipation is the words of many well-respected hockey analysts, who all seem to agree on one thing: the Islanders may have finally reestablished their importance to the National Hockey League. According to Pierre McGuire, and even highly respected TSN Analyst, Bob McKenzie, the Islanders have finally brought in that player that they can build a winner around. Not only do they feel that this player will help them win, but they feel he can help bring back the glory and pride that this franchise once had.
What I must add on my own, however, is that the Islanders were always relevant and important to Long Island. Although many fans lost their way to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum over the last decade due to horrible teams, and lousy management, these fans never truly disappeared. The Islanders Draft Party was a true indicator of the pride that this organization has, and it is my hope that John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, and company can help the rest of the hockey world to see that.
Let us take a look at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft Class for the New York Islanders. Today I will be analyzing the Islanders first two picks: John Tavares and Calvin de Haan. Part two will feature a review of the two goalies selected by the Islanders: Mikko Koskinen and Anders Nilsson. Lastly, part three will take a look at three remaining draft picks for the New York Islanders: Anders Lee, Casey Cizikas, and Anton Klementyev. My intentions are to have all three parts complete by this Friday, but it will be a very busy week. We shall see how that plays out.
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