Lotta strands in Old Duder's head here. So rather than form coherent thoughts on each, we'll go with the lazy blogger's tried-and-true route asking you to discuss and react (and vote) to these five topics:
1) The #5 pick: We're on Monday of draft week. We've seen bits floated here, there and everywhere about the Garth Snow's willingness to shop that pick. To me it all reads like due diligence -- market-probing to see if someone is unloading a real player. If it moves at all, my money would be on a trade down on draft day. What's your gut say?
2) David Ullstrom: Ullstrom intrigues me (in a "two-way Swede" kind of way) more than your average Islanders fan, I suspect. The Isles official site has a write-up with him talking about his adjustments to North America at age 21, with quotes from Jack Capuano. Questions: Do you expect Ullstrom to be an NHLer? If so, when?
3) Eric Brewer and Sean Bergenheim: Brewer is said to be close to re-signing with the Lightning, after coming off a 4-year, $4.25 million cap hit deal signed in St. Louis. He had a wrecked back for much of his time with the Blues, but this year was a healthy year. Questions: Would you have bid on him to give the Isles another "top four" guy? (I might have, but not at that price.) And Bergenheim's not coming back, but would you bid if you were GM?
4) Forward upgrade? Timo Seppa has a neat piece at Hockey Prospectus trying to peg just one need to fill for each Atlantic team. For the Isles -- and sorry if you've heard this from me before -- it's a versatile forward. He suggests Eric Belanger, a good penalty killer and two-way player with some offensive touch. To me the argument for cutting Zenon Konopka loose -- despite his popularity -- is to upgrade forwards 1-12. Share his and other roles with better, more versatile players. I know everyone dreams of another dynamic scorer, but they just aren't available on the market or via non-back-breaking trade. Q: For next year, what kind of forward do you think the Isles need?
5) Roberto Luongo: scapegoat or actual soul-sucking sad panda? I have noted that I'm not a big fan of Roberto Luongo here -- but not because of some mistrust in his skills; I think he's one of the top five goalies in the game over the last several years. Contrary to reputation, he has won "big games." But he's also looked quite a mess in some memorable big ones, too -- like just about any goalie. As a fan, I just don't trust him: His mopy body language when times are tough, and his truly bizarre "It's an easy save for me ... I've been pumping his tires all series" follow-up comments regarding Tim Thomas just screamed of a very popular and well-paid player with some crazy insecurities. Add that to the weird captaincy soap opera in the Luongo Head file.
So he didn't get it done in the finals -- but again, his counterpart just put up one of the most amazing goaltending seasons (and playoffs, with some implosions) in history. As a fan I don't really like the player, but as a cold observer I'd still share blame for the Canucks falling just short on offense drying up, defense banged up, and important forwards trying to play through injuries. Question: How much blame do you put on Luongo versus the other factors?
Polls and Bits
While we're polling, you may have noticed the weekly "how are you feeling about the Islanders?" poll is open again, cross-posted below. The needle hasn't moved much recently, for obvious reasons, but I bet it will change one way or the other between this week and next.
Scott Gordon joins the Leafs: He and fellow U.S. coach Ron Wilson always seemed to get along. FanShot discussion of Gordon here.
LHH Mock Draft: Our Mock Draft at Lighthouse Hockey is steaming along. Check this post for the first 28 picks with links to each pick's rationale. Expect the 29th pick to be ready by Tuesday evening.
Opinion-surfing: I usually enjoy Isles blog NYI FYI, and here's some quick musings on the Gillies re-signing and the third jersey rumors.
UPDATE: Islanders Draft Party. If you're going to the Islanders Draft Party at the Coliseum and want to meet other LHHers, discuss in CharlieIsles comments below. (This came up a bit in this post where ArsenalLI, ogam5, Bryan2112 and DarthDoyle volunteered their participation.)