Decided to do a little research, projecting who the Islanders may/should take in the 2011 June Draft. For the sake of argument, I "projected" guesses. Please add your thoughts, and/or projected "corrections". First, I am guessing Edmonton (30), Ottawa (29) and the Isles (28) finish bottom three, and in that order. Barring the lottery, the Isles will either draft Gabriel Landeskog or Sean Couturier 3rd over all. Both have been listed at left wing and centre. Either would be projected to fill the need of a future playmaking left winger for JT who brings the physicality. Other Islanders' priorities that need to be addressed in the rebuild are, top pairing right D and bottom pairing D, second line centre, lack of team toughness, lack of respected heavy weight who can skate and play with the stars, lack of right centre and right shooting wingers. A number of, but not all, of these priorities can be potentially found in the 2011 draft. From rounds two through four, using draft guru Bob Mackenzie's January ratings, I've research what I could find on the web for players rating around projected Isles 2011 draft sellections who fit the above priority description. In other words, for the sake of argument, the Isles hold the 33rd pick, 50th pick (From Wiz to Montreal trade) in the second round, 63rd pick in the third round, and the 93rd pick in the fourth (I did not research further rounds). What I discovered is that the physicality players, forwards, centres and right and left defensemen are there to cash our lottery tickets on, but there is a lack of right shooting forwards who fit the description above. The following are the projections, excluding first round which is obvious (I know someone is going to say draft best player available, but for the sake of argument, once you get so deep in the draft, every player has multiple flaws and teams do draft at that point according to needs and draft philosophy):
2nd Round, 33rd pick:
Zack Phillips - 6ft 1 - 180 pounds. Offensive Right Centre - puts up good numbers in terms of goals and assists playing Canadian Junior hockey, has low PIM. Not sure about physicality, but if Phillips does slip to the Isles in the second round, he meets an Isles top need and may be too much of a potential find for the Isles to pass up.
Joe Morrow - 6ft 1 - 196 pounds. Left D - two-way potential second pairing D who currently plays with Nino, brings the physicality, not afraid to drop the gloves and is/appears to be a decent fighter (beat Colin Jacobs mentioned below, see youtube).
Tomas Jurco - 6 ft. - 193 pounds. Left Shooting Right Winger. Offensive forward with a bit of grit. Don't know if he fights.
Colin Jacobs - 6 ft 2 - 204 pounds. Right Centre. Physical, fights, defensive centre. Offensive number are about half Phillips'.
Brett Ritchie - 6 ft. 3 - 190 pounds. Right Shooting Right Winger. has some offense, size, not sure about physicality and fighting.
2nd Round, 50th pick:
Oscar Kleffbom - 6 ft. 3 - 200 pounds. Left D. Big shutdown Swedish D. May be soft though, has very few PIMS, not sure at all about physicality. Klefbom will probably be gone by this pick anyway, but may slip.
Seth Ambroz - 6 ft. 2, 211 pounds. Right Shooting Left Wing. Big physical power forward who has been dropping in the ratings like a rock. Ambroz was once ranked 5th overall in the entire 2011 draft. Not sure if Ambroz drops the gloves.
Scott Harrington - Right D. 6 ft. 1 - 203 pounds. Not sure about physicality or if he fights, projects as 2nd or 3rd pairing D. Has been droping in rankings.
Myles Bell - Right D. 6 ft. 202 pounds. Projects as second pairing D. Not sure about physicality or fighting. Has been droping in rankings.
Michael Paliotta - Right D. 6 ft. 3 - 198 pounds. Palliotta is an interesting prospect. Has size and appears to have physicality. However, did not find enough information.
3rd Round, 63rd pick:
Joseph Labate - Left Centre. 6 ft. 4 - 190 pounds. Labate has offensive upside, continues to grow into his man-body, is huge, very, very physical, and fights. He is rising in the rankings a bit. Google his name, some interesting articles available.
Conner Murphy - Right D. 6 ft. 3 - 195 pounds. Like Labate, Conner is rising in rankings, and there are a number of interesting articles on him available through google. Conner is physical and drops the gloves.
Dillion Simpson - Left D, 6 ft 2 - 205 pounds. Physical, 2nd or 3rd pairing D. Did not find enough information as to whether or not Simpson drops the gloves. Simpson, Murphy and Labate were all picked by Mackenzie as potential to move up into top 60.
If you made it this far, barring Larrson, if available I would draft Landeskog with 1st round pick (and hope like hell I'm right), Couturier if both Larsson and Landeskog are gone.
2nd round, 33rd overall: Joe Morrow (if Zack Phillips is gone, which I believe he will be, my heart still tells me Morrow)
2nd round, 50th overall: provided one or both doesn't rise too high in rankings, I am going to overdraft if necessary, which ever of Joseph Labate or Connor Murphy is ranked highest.
3rd round, 63rd overall: Either Labate and Murphy, which ever one I did not overdraft at 50th overall.
4th round bonus (not listed above): Peter Ceresnak - Right D - 6 ft. 4 - 190 pounds. Very physical, hard hitting D with little offensive upside. Classic 3rd defensive pairing. Ceresnak is Slovakia's top rated prospect. Not sure if he drops the gloves. If he's around early fourth, might be worth a role of the dice.
Well, that concludes. Hope for good debate...maybe I can dream this all worked out, and Franz was packaged to Nashville at the June draft for Shea Webber, who was persuaded to sign a five year, 5. mil per, four year deal prior to July 1 free agency. Isles then sign Brad Richards to 7 mil one year deal, sign Physical D Steve Montador from Buffalo for a few years and a heck of a lot less money, as well as smallish right offensive centre Chad Larose b/c there is no one else, and vet goalie Craig Anderson, maybe experiment wish Josh Harding...that's it...