Before 1998 they drafted well: Luongo(1997), Dumont(1996), Chara(1996), Redden(1995)
After 2007 they restarted their focus on quality drafting: (the whole 2008 class), Tavares(2009), Nino-Nelson-Kabanov(2010), Strome(2011), DEFENSE(2012)
THE 10 YEAR WAR AGAINST TALENT
1998: They draft Rupp with Tanguay, Antropov and Regehr still on the board… and they can’t even sign the guy.
1999: This was actually a good draft, but a FRAGILE one. Maybe the best two players drafted by the Islanders, Connolly and Martinek, could have been the foundation for a rebuild if they didn’t have cracks in their own foundations. This was a draught glass rather than draft class.
2000: Do we really need to go there? Right after this draft any NYI fan had reasonable cause… and no judge on long island would have convicted. If somebody was convicted of the murder of one Michael Milbury the most they would have gotten was 3 years probation and 200 hours of community service… where they could have distributed hot dogs at the NVMC…
2001: Who wanted anybody in that shallow draft class when you could get an enigmatic center who nobody else wanted to sign for 10 years… and then pay him for 16. We were positioned to get the player who turned out to be the second leading scorer from that class (11 years later). This was a draft you wanted as many darts in as possible, and we sold almost all our darts. We don’t pick until the fourth round and we get Cory Stillman with Erhoff still on the board (others passed on him as well), then Salficky with Wellwood still on the board(again, others passed on him as well), then Chiodo with Seidenberg (again others also passed)… but if there was ever a place to start a rebuild… and we chose to restart our demise.
2002: Bergy and Nielsen come out of this draft, so I can’t say it was a terrible draft. But on a team that started a true exorcism of veteran talent in 2006 there was some talent later in the draft that would have made this team better. The organization was just asleep at the wheel. Isles take Pahlsson with Wiz on the board (who knew he would some day teach Sean Avery the trombone). They took a guy named Stonkus right before Ian White. Brad Topping before Joey Crabb or Dennis Wideman. Of course these are just some other organizations getting lucky late in the draft, and we’ve had our successes there as well… but not really in these 10 years.
2003: Do we really want to discuss the $100M man here… wow… I won’t say it, but next time Pierre McGuire burps on air, you’ll be able to see the residue of this draft on his breath. Not that Milbury would have kept Zach, but maybe the sniper would have had more motivation when the trade was imminent.
2004: Nokie, Comeau and Campoli come out of this draft. Of the three I liked the pre-injury (which wasn’t much) Nokie the best, but there was some talent there… just not enough. For those of us who remember the young, aggressive Nokie, we believe he might have been better than those who were drafted soon after him… but it didn’t work out that way. Then there was the enigmatic (I seem to use that word often when talking about the Islanders) Comeau. If he was paying attention he may have been part of the core going forward. But if the Islanders were paying attention they could have had Booth, Dubinski, or Krejci. Campoli was the second piece of pork in the can of pork and beans… but it was fatty and had no taste or texture.
2005: I’m not sure where this draft was held, but I’d guess it was pretty close to a bar with karaoke. What a distracted bunch they were that day.
2006: Milbury is gone, but his staff directs GFY BigDealNeil at the table… and they get Kyle Okposo. Kyle is a solid first rounder and way too young to be disqualified from Islander Stardom, but if Nolan wasn’t hanging around the scouting staff before this draft they would have come up completely empty after the first round. Yes, there is still hope for the 220lb Q-tip, but without MacDonald this draft is a FAIL. Earlier that year they gave up the right to draft Milan Lucic in the second round for Janne Lmanopminnaa… I love to hate Milan right now, but that is one of those opportunities that you don’t get every draft…. And you don’t give up as a throw in for Janne blah blah bah minnaa. What hurts even more is what you do with the opportunities when you do have them. Case in point, robin figren right in front of Brad Marchand and cal Clutterbuck.
2007: this draft was spent on a cry baby… who helped us get to the playoffs the year before. We didn’t give up much in a thin draft, but when they did finally get an opportunity they took another fragile D instead of Yannick Weber (12 other teams passed) or somebody they should have seen as a 16 year old when they were scouting O’marra… Nick Palmieri. This was basically a throw away thin draft anyway…
…but if they hit on one more draft pick every other year this is already a Cup contender. That’s how important the draft is.