So we know what the fans all want. Nikita Filatov. No matter the site, Filatov seems to be far and away the top choice of Isles fans. Now before all those Russian bashers all come flying in, lets talk about this kid who just turned 18 years of age.
Unlike some others, namely last year's Ranger's draft pick, he is know for a great work ethic. Filatov brings his top game on every shift. He's hellbent on playing in the NHL. And before we get into the Ruskie hype thanks to Overchkin and Malkin's looming large on the landscape, lets tone that down. He's neither. He's been more compared cross between Ilya Kovalchuk and Maxim Afinogenov (McKeen's Hockey). Moreover, he's a dynamic forward, something the Isles need very badly. Add to this that he already speaks English, among a few others languages (his mother is an English language teacher), and is very articulate and bright, really might be opening some Isles scouts eyes. Many fans who have spoken to Charles Wang and Garth Snow has listened to them effuse about Filatov. Scouts are said to be high on him. So it's a forgone conclusion right? Especially when Filatov's own blog on the Russian sports site has it down to the Isles and a few other teams.
Before we all get Filatov jerseys, Los Angeles, despite defensive needs, is looking hard at Nikita at the #2 spot. Moreover, the Ranger loom as some have been saying they might be interested in moving up to add him to their own Russian line of Cherepanov and Anisimov. With Prucha and some young kids still of value in their system, the NYR could churn Isles stomachs to a nauseous goo and sweep in. Also add to this mix, Toronto, who has been taking a long look and might also try to come in near the top of the draft from their 7th spot. Columbus is also purported to be interested, hoping to add someone to the Nash line.
Luckily, this draft is heavy with something else MUCH NEEDED. Something the Isles lack. A TOP defensive prospect. This draft is ripe with them. Doughty. Bogosian. Schenn. Tyler Myers, who is a monster at 6"7'. Only questionmark is Alex Pietrangelo, who some scouts and fans wonder about his overall work ethic and are just not sold on as the very top dman. Of course, as an long-suffering Isles fan, I wonder like you, that somehow we'll then definitely hear "The NY Isles pick....Alex Pietrangelo". Anything is possible.
So, let me share with you who I do hear who the Isles have been talking, thinking about or not even considering...whether it be for pick #5 or pick #6 of round 2 (thanks to Wheeler leaving the Yotes, they get the #5 pick in round 2).
Zach Boychuk: The Isles have scouted the Lethbridge Hurricanes, speaking to him and Luca Sbisa. They also seem to be talking to Zach far more than just the Combine. Boychuk could go anywhere from 10 and after. He might even fall into round 2, if there are issues about his size.
Because Zach is smaller (think Comrie, at worst, and Martin St. Louis at best), he might drop to round 2 or that the scouting of Lethbridge was more about Luca, who is considered a top 10 dman, just a little off the main radar.
Well, you might be wondering if the Isles are talking to OTHER forwards then . . .
Colin Wilson: BU's powerhouse of a center left jaws dropping at the Combine. He's in prime physical shape and most feel he is very NHL ready. Isles have been talking to him "a decent amount". So clearly they are exploring other forward avenues.
Cody Hodgson: evidently has only spoken to the Isles just at combine.
So, they aren't targeting just any forward. But obviously if we were to project from all this:
They think highly of Wilson and of Filatov. They are considering round 2 of some players dropping to them, or perhaps just hoping. Plus, this doesn't even address how much they are talking to the top D prospects. As I heard from one forward: "they are also looking for a good defenseman".
So even the prospects seem to know where the Isles might lean? Or simply know what the Isles need so badly?
So, IF Filatov is taken by LA, or even, at worst someone sweep in and take him . . . it also means one of these 3 players will be available at the 5 spot: Zach Bogosian, Drew Doughty, and Luke Schenn (who St. Lou seem to be high on at the moment). So, fellow Isles fans, we might have no clue but this which Garth Snow has said . . .
"We will take the best player available, no matter the position. Umm, well, could assume we won't be taking a goalie"
So, there you have it! The only thing we know? No goalie. Ahhh, I feel enlightened.
What we can take away before this all happen next Friday is that the scouts have been VERY busy, and the Isles are really thinking about the future. So, hopefully whatever happens, we will have exactly what we need from this draft. Good D prospects and some forward prospects. As to which dynamic top guy? Well, that might be the coin flip depending on who is available once the Isles pick. If Filatov and a top guy like Doughty or Bogosian are both on the board, you can guess that the Isles might have a lot to consider.
So what do you think? Whats more important? A top dman or forward? What would you do if that scenario of Filatov and Bogey or Doughty was in your hands? These questions and more.
All will be answered only 10 days from now.