PHILADELPHIA - The Islanders will have options on the draft floor Friday night with the No. 5 overall pick.
"We're prepared whether we keep the pick and draft a good young player at No. 5, whether we use the pick in a trade to find a young player who can help us now, or whether we move down [the draft board]," general manager Garth Snow said. "Those are the scenarios we see right now."
Snow said he has "gotten offers" for the fifth pick, but nothing that was enticing enough to move it. Because of the jockeying of teams both ahead and behind the Islanders, that could change when the first round kicks off Friday night.
Florida has the No. 1 pick, and Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told reporters Thursday that he's received two legitimate offers for that pick. He called it "60 to 70 percent" that the Panthers will keep the top pick, so that might shuffle the deck for teams looking to trade into the top five.
If the Islanders stand pat and make their selection, it will be based on what happens above them. Five prospects are considered the cream of this year's crop, led by defenseman Aaron Ekblad and centers Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart, whose older brother Griffin was the Isles' top pick in 2011. Center Leon Draisaitl and wing Michael Dal Colle round out the top group.
The Islanders have interest in any of the five. They would love to pair Sam Reinhart with his brother, but that isn't likely to happen at No. 5, and Snow said he has no interest in spending the assets to move up.
The Islanders are interested only in adding players to help them after their dismal 2013-14 season. With the five-day contact window for free agents having opened on Wednesday, Snow was busy getting in touch with any number of agents. He declined to say how many players he'd discussed but said he'd been active.
"It's something new for our league and it's good to touch base with as many people as you can," Snow said of the contact window. "We're trying to let players know we're interested. That's about all you can do."
It is believed that Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen and former Rangers center Brad Richards were among Snow's phone contacts on Wednesday.
Snow is in the market for a first-line left wing, possibly a veteran center, a veteran defenseman and a backup goaltender. Free agency begins Tuesday and the Islanders will try to be aggressive early to find their targets, a tough task given the team's lack of success last season and unwillingness to bust its budget to sign mid-level players.