ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 25: 95th pick overall Robbie Russo by the New York Islanders poses for a portrait during day two of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 25, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
At last, another NHL Draft day is upon us, and the New York Islanders have options, options, options. Every year under Garth Snow's regime there has been speculation come this day in June, and every year it's clear the Isles GM doesn't tip his hand.
So take what you want, take what you think he'll do, and take what the experts suggest ... and then just roll the dice anyway. Newsday's Arthur Staple puts it at:
"Snow is believed to be open to trading either up or down, depending on how the picks ahead of the Islanders go. ... If Snow can't get his man at No. 4, he seems to be open to trading down to acquire extra picks and most likely scoop up one of the many defensemen ranked in the top 15."
So yeah, as you were. Under Snow the Islanders have consistently selected a forward with their first pick and consistently taken "their guy" -- whether he be Josh Bailey, Nino Niederreiter or Ryan Strome.
Expect them to zero in on their guy again this year, whether he's a forward taken with the #4 or whether, as is reasonably speculated, they trade down. The fun part is whatever they do really impacts what the Maple Leafs can do after them. Tee hee.
This year's draft suggests, but does not promise, to be an interesting one thanks to the rather level field of prospects after the top 3-4, as well as the ample speculation about trades. It's extreme to think Jordan Staal is on his way out of Pittsburgh after rejecting a reported 10-year extension offer, but that doesn't mean it's not fun to speculate. And more solid rumblings have both Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan in play as the draft arrives.
We'll have posts on who's available and what's possible as the day goes on, but expect to be intrigued when the Islanders' pick at #4 comes up.
Meanwhile, IPB has a sampling of different rankings and mock drafts. And I must say, if you read nothing else around the draft, read PGI's hilarious "Choose Your Own Adventure" NHL GM send-up. It's at 16 recs and counting, and deservedly so.
We've profiled various random draft prospect characters in our NHL Draft Profiles section.
As for your draft rankings, here are some: