NHL Draft: Trade the Islanders 1st Round Pick? Not This Year

Even at 15, the Islanders have a valuable asset in their first round pick this year. - Abelimages

While many Islanders fans see a piece of trade bait in the team's first round pick, the Islanders would be wise to hold on to it this year.

Over the past couple weeks, we've taken a look at some worthy candidates that could be drafted by the Islanders on Sunday with the 15th overall pick (the latest being this profile of Nikita Zadorov).

The Islanders do have another option in how to use their first round pick...trade it in a package for someone who could immediately help the club. But if I were Garth Snow, I'd quickly scrap any plans that may be leaning in that direction.

Of course the Islanders could benefit from adding an established NHL player to their roster, especially in the crease. But unless the trade were part of a package for an "in his prime" star player (Bobby Ryan, anyone?), it would be a mistake to pass on adding a player from this year's draft to the Isles' already impressive prospect pool.

Considered a deep, talented draft by the majority of people you ask, the Islanders in the 15 spot this year could draft a player who would be the equivalent of a Top 10 pick in some other years. Trading this chance for a player who could possibly only wear an Islanders sweater for a year or two would be a wasted opportunity to strengthen the organization.

Am I opposed to trading assets to acquire a veteran player who could help the Islanders win next year? Absolutely not. But just because the Islanders finally made the playoffs last season doesn't mean that the team should stop building its foundation through the draft. And when you have the opportunity to grab a prospect who has a good chance to be an impactful NHL player, you don't trade it for short-term help.

Want to trade next year's first rounder for that kind of player? While still not an idea I'm in love with, I'd be more apt to do that. I know what assuming does, but based on how the Islanders team has progressed, you would hope that at worst next season's Islanders match their 2012-13 outcome. Most people would expect an even better showing from the team in 2013-14.

If that is the case, then next year's first round pick won't be nearly as valuable as Sunday's first rounder is. I realize that this team isn't going to be better than last year if we don't add a quality starting goalie, but there are other ways to do that without parting with this year's first round pick.

I'm honestly not in favor of ever trading a draft pick unless it's part of a deal for other draft picks. I believe the best course of action is drafting players and then trading the young players for more established NHL players only when you know what you have in a prospect. Trading a pick and possibly missing out on the next Mike Bossy before you see him play professionally doesn't seem like the best way to manage your assets.

And the Islanders would be wise to adopt that line of thinking as well...at least until Monday.

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