Just got back from the top prospect luncheon in LA, where we reporters got the chance to swarm these poor kids and quiz them about their big day tomorrow.
Some of the top defensemen in the draft--Erik Gudbranson, Cam Fowler, and Brandon Gormley--shared their thoughts and experiences from visiting Long Island.
Here are some tidbits:
"It was interesting. It was a lot different from where I'm from. When I first got there we sat in traffic for an hour and fifteen minutes. And everybody lays on the horn pretty good," Gudbranson joked.
And while it's no secret that the Nassau Coliseum is the last thing to entice a prospect, he gave a different perspective.
"Everybody says it's a dump, but to walk in and see all the history, all the cups, I was really blown by that when I was there."
When the 18-year-old was asked about his chance of making an NHL team, he seemed determined but humble.
"I know being drafted and drafted high is a huge plus for someone, but I also understand that I'm going into camp even par with their seventh round pick, so I do have to practice hard and work a lot over the summer. To make the team I'm going to have to be one of the best players there. Just because I'm being drafted high doesn't mean anything."
Gudbranson also talked a great deal about his younger brother Dennis, who is heading into his fifth year of remission from leukemia.
"I don't want to take away from the draft, but knowing that my brother is safe and completely cured from one of the worst illnesses, is definitely going to be the best day of my life."
"Long Island was good. I went to Long Island and Columbus. They treated me well and I got to see the city in both areas. I was happy they brought me in and wanted to get to know me a little bit better."
Fowler said he's been getting plenty of advice from previous Spitfire teammates about what to expect tomorrow.
"Everyone I've talked to, guys that went through it last year on my team said 'Soak it all in because it goes by fast. You never have the opportunity to be drafted again. You just have to be able to relax and take in the sun and city. There's no place I'd rather be right now. I'm so fortunate to be in this place and this position. No complaints, just waiting to hear my name called on Friday."
Oh, and his favorite part about visiting LA so far?
"The In and Out Burger is delicious, I can tell you that."
"Long Island was great. it was a great experience and they have a great organization there, a great future ahead of them. They're a rebuilding team and I think they are doing a great job. They're headed in the right direction for sure."
With his high ranking, where does he think he'll fit best?
"Any team right there. They're all rebuilding teams, like Moncton was, so any rebuilding team in that areaswould be a good fit for myself. You just want to go to a good rebuilding team that has a chance to win and hopefully that's where I go."
Fun fact about Gormley:
He shares a hometown with Dallas Stars forward Brad Richards and the two families are close. The Richards family used to babysit Gormley and his sister when they were young.
Sign up for Newsday’s Islanders texts with a 14-day free trial at newsday.com/islestext.