Featuring 3/4 Islanders content!
(Edit out the couple of paragraphs about Milan Lucic)
Brad Marchand, Lucic's teammate in Boston, didn't attend the draft but can recall vividly surrounding a little computer with more than 100 family members at his home in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia, while selections were being made.
"I thought two teams were really interested, the [New York] Islanders and the Bruins," Marchand told NHL.com. "My coaches at Moncton [in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League] that year, Ted Nolan, Daniel Lacroixand Danny Flynn, were all going to be the coaches of the Islanders the following year, and I had been speaking to the Bruins' staff throughout the year, so I thought it would be between those two teams."
The Islanders selected forward Robin Figrenin the third round, with the 70th pick; the Bruins took Marchand with the very next pick.
"We had to keep refreshing the computer to get an update on the draft picks; it was nerve-racking," Marchand said. "Every time we refreshed, more guys would be drafted. Finally, the third round came around and the Islanders and Bruins were choosing back-to-back. I think my grandfather looked back at the computer and said, 'It's Boston,' and we all went into an uproar. Boston traded up for me and that was very exciting."
The Bruins had acquired the 71st pick the morning of the draft from the Islanders in exchange for fourth- and fifth-round picks in 2006.
Marchand said that after being drafted, he immediately looked to see who the Bruins had taken ahead of him -- all forwards.
"I remember playing against [Lucic] in the Memorial Cup that year and he was a very tough kid to play against, a big body and good player," Marchand said. "I knew that he was a kid I would be battling against at camp, and I wasn't too happy about it. Thing is, you always hope they draft guys at different positions so if you're a forward, you're hoping they draft defensemen. But [2006 first-round pick Phil] Kessel and Lucic were ahead of me, so I wasn't very happy about. It worked out OK in the long run."
While Marchand had to wait more than five hours to hear his name, right wing Kyle Okposo had his dreams fulfilled just seven selections into the first round when the Islanders chose him.
"I remember it well -- there was kind of a lot of waiting around and lot of excitement and anticipation, but when you hear your name it's a special feeling and that's a time I'll never forget," Okposo said. "After the draft there were media scrums and that took a while. Then I went up to the Isles' suite with my family and hung out for a bit. I met the people in the organization; [owner] Charles [Wang] was there and then I was able to grab dinner with the family and wind down."
Okposo might have been asleep by the time his current teammate on Long Island, defensemanAndrew MacDonald, was notified that the Islanders had selected him in the sixth round, with the 160th pick.
"I got a call in the morning since I was on the east coast in Nova Scotia, so I had gone to bed already," MacDonald told NHL.com. "I just got a call in the morning and didn't really expect to be drafted at all, so it was definitely a pretty special moment for me."
Growing up in Judique, Nova Scotia, MacDonald said his father rooted for the Montreal Canadiensand his mother for the Boston Bruins, while he was "kind of a Chicago and Toronto fan."
"But when you're an older teen and playing hockey seriously, your view on things kind of change, so once I was drafted by the Islanders, I started looking them up and learning about them," MacDonald said. "I was coached by Ted Nolan and Danny Flynn with the Moncton Wildcats in the Quebec league and they had just signed on with the Islanders, so obviously they had a lot of influence in picking me. I was pretty grateful for it."