Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Draft One Month Away!

It hasn't been my intention to let so much time elapse between posts. Goodness knows there has been a lot of news surrounding the Islanders, including a pretty important arena vote scheduled to take place on August 1st.

While the aforementioned date is important, there's another important date coming up before it. I have my calendar circled on the date exactly one month from today. It's one of my favorite days in the sports year: the NHL entry draft.

Having attended the draft in the past, I can tell you that it somewhat makes up for a poor season on the ice. I experienced the nervous anticipation, terror, and absolute jubilation that led up to the 2009 selection of John Tavares. And that was only in the hour leading up to the selection.

It's an important day for the franchise. It's the culmination of months of hard work by the scouting staff and hundreds of collective days of travel. And it shapes franchises. Perhaps not immediately, but it does. For better and worse.

This year, in case you haven't heard, the Islanders will make their first selection from the 5 spot. And much like in the past few years, save perhaps for the Tavares pick, I have no idea how Garth Snow is going to use the pick.

I've been going over the mock draft lists. Some of my fellow bloggers have their own. I have gravitated toward this one recently. I like it because it provides a prospect's statistics and a short biography in an easy-to-use format. I'm not sure that their guesses will be accurate, but then again whose routinely are?

What I do know is what I want out of this draft, and it's different than most years. That the Isles should select the player available whom they feel has the most talent goes without saying. I am a big believer that talent trumps character. I think the selection of Kirill Kabanov will eventually bear that out.

But I think I'd also like the player selected this year to be a bit of a character, in the mold of a Kabanov or a Michael Grabner. A kid who will help forge the identity of this Islanders team. A counterbalance to the no-nonsense approach of players like Tavares and Josh Bailey.

With the impending departure of Zenon Konopka, I feel the Islanders are losing a bit of their personality. I believe it is to the team's detriment.

I'm not saying they need a Sean Avery in the locker room. Far from it. Just someone who, down the line, of course, could be another "face" of the Islanders. It would certainly make this team even more fun for us all to watch and root for in the future.

Maybe they'll pick him on June 24th. I know I'll be watching.

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