After snagging the No. 1 pick during last year’s NHL Draft lottery show, the Islanders could not duplicate that same fortune last night.
Despite hopes of leapfrogging the four other teams in front of them to secure the top pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Islanders retained their fifth pick during the NHL Draft Drawing show in Toronto last night.
“Going in, we had the fifth overall pick. Coming out of the lottery, we had the fifth overall pick. We know we’re going to have a good player,” said Islanders general manger Garth Snow, who sent Director of Scouting Ken Morrow to represent the organization last night. “It’s an exciting time to be an Islanders fan. It’s a special time because of the young players on our team, the young players we have on Bridgeport and in the system. Obviously, this is going to be a big draft for us.”
By virtue of their 26th-place finish this year, the Islanders had only an 8.1% chance of moving up to nab the No. 1 selection. Although the improbable jump had occurred in the past—the Islanders moved from fifth to first in 2000 before selecting goaltender Rick DiPietro first overall—the organization had no such luck last night.
All teams—Edmonton, Boston, Florida, Columbus and the Islanders-- retained their respective positions, giving the Oilers the No. 1 pick and a difficult choice between top-rated prospects Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin.
Although the Islanders did not move up in position, they will no doubt add a promising young player to their already-emerging young nucleus of John Tavares, Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo.
“You could probably compare it to last year and even the year before,” Snow said of this year’s draft class. “It’s a deep draft. We know we’re going to get a great prospect and a good player.”
After finishing in 30th place last year, the Islanders won the top pick during the draft lottery last year and went on to select Tavares, who recently finished his rookie year with 24 goals and 30 assists.
Given his success in his first full season in the NHL, Snow said Islanders fans should be encouraged about what this year’s pick may yield.
“John had a great rookie season. You can look at his numbers and be impressed. The things he’s done outside of producing points, it’s been fun to watch. It’s a great sign for the future.”