First off, I would like to thank the New York Islanders for running the NYI Blog Box for a second straight year and allowing me to be a part of it this season. Over the course of the year I have met a lot of great people that helped me get adjusted to something that was very new to me while never making me feel like that "new guy." Despite the season being a long, hard season to watch, it was probably the most fun I've had watching hockey and an experience that I will never forget and hopefully look forward to continuing next season.
As Isles fans we are fortunate enough to be constantly victimized by such players as Sid and Malkin in Pittsburgh; Ovechkin in Washington; Parise in Jersey...wouldn't it be nice to have a young star that could finally stick it to the teams we get bullied by the most for a change?
Well now there is a chance for a change. This past Tuesday the Islanders had luck on their side as the Hockey Gods parted the playoff clouds for just a few minutes to smile down on an island that had thousands praying for the first overall pick. Most Islander fans probably feel that when they need something good to happen with this team, they get the opposite of what they were expecting. Maybe that mantra has taken such a strong effect that so many people were expecting us to drop to the second overall pick that we in fact landed the first...I don't know. But the bottom line is that the New York Islanders have the first overall pick and an opportunity to bring in a player that can change the future of this team.
Last summer we were disappointed we did not get the chance to draft Steve Stamkos, but we knew we would have better odds at landing Tavares with the roster we had going into October. By December everyone felt our odds were pretty good, but no one really wanted to say anything for sure just yet. There was still a lot of hockey to be played.
Finally, it all came down to the lottery, and for once the odds were on our side. But now many are afraid of what might happen with this pick.
I won't go into another Tavares vs. Hedman blog. You all know where I stand on that: either or would be great, but Tavares has to be a no brainer. But what if Snow trades this pick....
What if Gary Bettman walks up to the podium on June 26th and announces a deal that sends the 1st overall pick and most likely Tavares to another team? What if another Spezza/Yashin deal comes back to haunt us? Could it happen?
Yes, it very well can happen. And I am sure that Snow is going to listen to all the phone calls he receives between now and draft day, and you can bet that Brian Burke is going to try to chew his ear off through those telephone wires.
However, if Snow intends on sticking to the plan as he has said all along and proven thus far, he will NOT trade this pick. There is too much at stake. If he wants to have a young contending team then do it. Draft Tavares and sign one or two free agents to "sprinkle" into your roster as you've said and done before. Not only will he miss out on a potential star if he trades the pick, but he will have thousands of fans calling their season ticket reps asking for refunds and demanding cancellations. And I'm sure there will be others that will quietly turn their backs on the team they've followed for years.
That's how big this opportunity is for this team.
There's a lot at risk here, but luckily the ball is in the Islanders court. I believe that Snow will keep the pick and draft either Tavares or Hedman, and when he does this team will have something great to look forward too in the very near future.
But in the mean time, let's enjoy some playoff hockey and hope Ovechkin destroys our favorite enemies, the New York Rangers.