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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Try not. Do...or do not.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Final Hours

Well... it all comes down to this.

In the next 24 hours, the NHL Draft will commence, and the Islanders organization will take the stage first, faced with an immense decision... one that will help shape their future. After a 30th-place finish in the league and being blessed in the draft lottery, Garth Snow and Co. have some choosing to do- do they take the consensus No. 1, Canadian sharpshooter and creative center John Tavares, to build up some much needed offense? Or do they pick Victor Hedman, the big Swedish defenseman, to use as a cornerstone for their blueline? Or... does two-way specialist Matt Duchene come out of nowhere to eclipse the two "franchise prospects"?

You know Christine and I differ on this point- you can tell from our picks at the top of the page. However, I really believe that either way, the Islanders will benefit from having Tavares or Hedman. Tavares has become a brand name in junior hockey and was up until this point, the no-brainer decision for the top pick in the draft. He has offensive talent that any team can drool over, and the potential to be the star player that the Islanders need to market to their fans and those of the rest of the NHL. Rick DiPietro is no longer such a sure bet, and while Kyle Okposo could potentially be a star in the making, he didn't quite make as big a splash in the hockey world as Tavares has and will likely make.

Meanwhile, Hedman has the makings of another Zdeno Chara, if you just look at sheer size- 6'7'', 220 lbs- combined with skating ability. Not only that, but he loves jumping into the play and has good offensive prowess. The only downside to this is that the Islanders have quite a few offensive defensemen in Mark Streit and (quickly developing) Bruno Gervais, so would they really want another one on the blueline? However, size is one thing the Isles need (even with 6'6'' Andy Sutton and 6'8'' Mitch Fritz). So anything could happen.

The size of Hedman, the star quality of Tavares- either way the Islanders could use one of these prospects well on their team, and as such, although Matt Duchene has recently entered No.1 pick conversation, it doesn't seem likely to me that he will end up eclipsing either player. Although there is much, much good to say about Duchene- a talented two-way player, good work ethic, played big roles on a few great teams before his 18th birthday- something tells me that he offers what the Islanders could already have in Josh Bailey, which is a good playmaking center. Maybe there are more dimensions to him, but I don't see the Isles taking the gamble and letting go of either Tavares or Hedman.

There's really no way of saying what the Isles WILL do exactly. All of this is speculation; each player comes with advantages and disadvantages, and as such any could be a complete success or a bust. It's up to the Islanders to choose whichever player they feel brings the most to their club. Keep in mind, Isles fans, that it's easy to think that any one of these players will be the savior; however, it'll be a while before these guys even get settled into the NHL. (They're all only my age!) So be patient, and whoever we get, we should welcome them onto the Island with open arms. :)


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