Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Two teams one very important draft

(Courtesy NY Rangers)
The New York Islanders and the New York Rangers are both heading into Friday night's first-round of the 2012 NHL entry draft with different agendas but one thing in common. Both teams need to show something from the player that they wind up selecting if they select at all.

The New York Islanders with the number four pick in this years draft are in the lottery area for the fourth consecutive season. With all the uncertainty regarding whether or not the Islanders will be on Long Island for much longer then at least for now, the team needs this pick to leave no question that this franchise is serious about becoming a winner again.

It can be a unique situation for the Islanders because while this draft is loaded with high-end defensemen, the top of the draft where the Islanders pick will feature some pretty good offensive talent.

Last year I felt the Islanders needed to take Dougie Hamilton a defenseman on the same team as Ryan Strome and one year later nothing has convinced me that my feelings were wrong. Nothing against Scott Mayfield who they took in the second round but Hamilton has a better all-around upside than Mayfield does.

And for two straight years I have watched Ryan Strome disappear in key playoff series for the Niagara IceDogs. I still don't believe the Islanders have the true blueline leader in their system and this is no disrespect to Calvin de Haan or Travis Hamonic.

The best thing for the Islanders would be for Edmonton to select Nail Yakupov as expected, Columbus then take Alex Galchenyuk second leaving Montreal to select Mikhail Grigorenko third. That puts the Islanders into a situation where they can pick Ryan Murray of Everett and fill a big need.

Murray without any question is the best defender in this draft. Don't listen to those who say Murray is just a one way player because it is not at all true.

Check him out

But what happens if Murray is selected before the Islanders can draft him? I know many an Islander fan would prefer another forward but if Murray is gone then the Islanders might seriously consider dropping down a few slots and still be able to take a high-end defenseman.

The Islanders could drop 4-5 spots, pick up an extra draft pick and still get somebody like a Jacob Trouba or Cody Ceci. They won't be popular picks for the Islander fans at any draft party but they would be the smarter picks for the Islander future.

On the Ranger side of the ledger; the biggest key for them has to be staying with the program that they as a franchise have established. The team that just missed out on the Stanley Cup finals after going so long without being a cannot afford to be a one-hit wonder.

Yes the Rangers need to be aggressive whether it's at draft, free agency or the trade market; Glen Sather and company need to keep the franchise having forward and avoid those bumps in the road.

Gordie Clark likes to say "possibilities are endless" and here is really a very good test of that theory. What to do at 28? My own preference is trade downwards and pick up a couple of extra picks.

28 in my book is already in the second round which is an area the Rangers have traditionally done well with. That's one option and there's another one that is more in line with forward progress.

This is the perfect pick for the Rangers to move in a trade package to get themselves an established young veteran NHL player. Sorry I doubt Glen Sather is gonna lose his mind and pay what Scott Howson thinks he can get for Rick Nash.

If Glen Sather can get Nash for a bag of pucks, the dozen doughnuts and seven Tim Horton coupons then don't expect Sather to make that trade. It's always going to be his price or no deal.

Bobby Ryan would be wonderful addition to the Rangers but if I'm Anaheim; Ryan is also the last player that I would want to trade at this point in time. Have you looked at where Anaheim is as a franchise over the next couple years?

They cannot afford to trade Ryan who has a great cap hit for a player of his stature when their two best forwards will be heading to free agency after next season. If I am a betting man then I would bet on Ryan Getzlaf being the more likely trade bait for the Ducks.

I can see Glen Sather giving up Brandon Dubinsky and the 28th pick for Ryan Getzlaf especially considering both players had really bad seasons. But if I'm really going to trade then I'm talking to Carolina about Eric Staal.

Yes he has a no trade clause but I think he would waive it to play with his brother and yes he has a huge cap hit (4 years at 8.25 million per). If you're asking it's only a little under half a million more for Staal than it is Nash and you don't have to worry about watching Getzlaf walk after the season.

It also makes you the leading contender in the Jordan Staal sweepstakes of 2013 when he hits unrestricted free agency. I'd be more than willing to make an Eric Staal trade today because of how it helps you tomorrow.

But if you really want to keep the pick at 28 then as I've said all along whichever player is the best available regardless of position when it's time to make that decision. Honestly I would have to say that the Rangers would have to take a defenseman unless by some miracle Henrik Samuelsson is sitting there at 28.

Then you have to take Samuelsson because if there was a player about to have a monster breakout season next year then this is your man.

If the Rangers only stay at 4 picks then I go defense, defense, goalie, forward. Sorry if you are a Blueshirt Bulletin subscriber or at our chat then I will reveal their names.

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