Depending on who Columbus picks - Forsberg, Grigorenko, Galchenyuk, or Murray - that will strongly determine who will be available to the Isles at 4. All signs point to Ryan Murray or Matt Dumba, but will Garth really draft a d man this time ? I feel like if Forsberg falls to the isles at 4, then The Isles may jump all over it and then try to trade up from the #34 pick to get a d man like Hampus Lindholm, who is rising fast.
Trading the 4th pick for an established forward or D man could be a way to go, but Garth Snow does not have the gravitas to pull off something that creative.There is no OEL for Nino + or a huge package for Nash, Brown, Stafford, Pavelski, or even Iginla, because all that would require a level Moxi and know how that Snow lacks.
The Isles could always trade down - maybe trading the 4th pick to the Lightning (10, 23), Caps (11, 16), or Sabres (12,26) for their 2 first Rders, but the Isles (hopefully) will not be picking in the top 5 again, so they should take the talent and run.
There can be a smaller deal that could be made that would upgrade the Isles Top 9 forwards and that deal would be with Edmonton. It is not for the Nail. Edmonton will want 'a home run' type deal for the no.1 or for Taylor Hall - meaning Hedman for Hall or Larsson for Hall or Myers for the Nail. That's not the deal I'm talking about- This is purely speculation, so here it goes: How about a swap of 2009 1st rd. picks Calvin De haan for Magnus Paarjarvi. Paarjarvi would look nice on Fransie's or Bailey's leftside. De Haan could start at Edmonton right away and Magnus can possibly see some top minutes. It might take a bit more, but nothing a 3rd or 4th rder couldn't solve.
Back to the Draft - My guess is that the Isles will keep the pick and draft Ryan Murray with Matt Dumba as a wild card. IMO, Ryan Murray can fill in Mark Eaton's spot as a bottom pair d man and play 15 mins. a game next season. And that move could potentially save the Isles on a potential bad investment for Matt Carle or Dennis Wideman, who is not worth 5 mill a year for over 5 years. Murray can fill in for the next 3 years at ELC of 2.5 million. And who's to say that Murray couldn't be OEL in this year's draft - he certainly has the tools.
DEFENSE - Matt Donovan or Calvin De Haan will fight it out for another D spot next season with the other playing in the AHL. IMO, the final two spots on D should be filled by Dylan Reese (two way contract) and an UFA free agent signing (most likely a big body - shot blocking d man, not named Milan. I would love Bryan Allen.)
At Forward - PAP resigns, most likely for 3 or 4 years somewhere between 3 and 4 mill per. If not I would like to see the Isles try to bring in a GOOD cap mule. It is a risky move, but Martin Havlat and his 3y/15m contract is available as the Sharks need to shed payroll and get younger. Having the crafty Havlat with Tavares is very interesting. Kiril Petrov will most likely sign and bring his game over to the NHL - with potentially a promise to make the team, but not sure if he is the answer for this team in the long term. And Can he make the jump from the KHL to the NHL? I would like to see the Team resign Haley and bring back Jesse Joensuu from Sweden for depth, instead of signing someone like Jay Pandolfo for 1.4 million. I understand he is a specialist and kills penalties and Joensuu and Haley don't, but I would rather see Pandolfo's penalty killing minutes go to David Ullstrom anyway, who I believe with his speed and size would be useful on the PK.
I think it is safe to say that Parise and Suter or any other free agent is a pipe dream. I do think that a reclamation project is possible in Penner and Huselius (more likely Huselius, but talk about risky.) The Isles could look east to Russia at Zherdev or Radulov (no.4 pick for Radulov and a guarantee he plays on the island. Not happening.), I'd rather see what Petrov's got than explore Zherdev.
Another wild card could be Strome - If the new CBA is signed and allows under 20 year olds to play in the AHL - Ryan Strome will be joining an impressive group in bridgeport: Nino, Cizikas, Rahkshani, Nelson, Strome, Kabanov, Persson, Romano, DiBO, and Halmo. If Strome is not allowed to play in the AHL, then I think he will play on the Isles and not go back to juniors. It would be nice to see him with JT, but that is not going to happen. Strome is not ready to play 1st line minutes. Playing on Bailey's line - where they can swap at C and RW might be the best fit. A third line of Bailey (at C), with Strome and either Ullstrom or Petrov doesn't evoke a ton of confidence.
This roster on paper is not playoff team, but if they could stay healthy (mainly Nabo) and some of the younger guys can step up (Poulin, Donovan, Bailey, Nino, Cizikas and Ullstrom) then this team can sneak in. Remember you have De Haan, Nino, Nelson, & Cizikas, who will be pushing for full time jobs come mid season. There is also the opportunity to make a deal for a missing piece later in the year. Okposo and Grabner also must be better.
I wish I could say that the problems are solely roster based, but they are not. Sure we have issues: Arena, $, Ownership and Management, but if we want this team to be competitive, then we need to look at the Protagnist - the Regista - the Head Coach!
Much has been made about this team learning how to win, but they are not going to do that without the right head coach and proper leadership. I'm done with ECHL/ AHL coaches... Brent Thompson is not the answer (he can't even win an AHL playoff series!) and neither is Doug Weight.
IMO, Brent Sutter is the best choice to take this team to the next level. I wish the Isles would reach out and say come home Brent, this is your team now! He is someone who is connected to the cup the years and could make the difference on these players. His coaching record of 215-146 in 5 years. Brent hasn't won a playoff series yet, but maybe the Isles and him can accomplish that together.