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NHL Draft Day: Today is the 1st day of the Tavares Era

[Updated with more links...] The TSN gang thinks the Islanders are drafting Victor Hedman. Newsday's Greg Logan thinks the Islanders are drafting Matt Duchene. Blogger Chris Botta thinks they're drafting John Tavares. Tonight, two of them will be wrong, one of them will be right -- and none of them will know why, either way.

One prediction is going off of scuttlebutt from scouts and GMs. One is going off of extensive interviews with the GM who won't tip his hand. One is going off, among other things, the preposterous juxtoposition of Islanders fans' expectation and their franchise's mask of ambiguity.

Because at the NHL Draft, surprises happen, opinions differ, and the legitimacy of teenager projection is fraught with uncertainty, like the progression of the next day's acne through your high school years. That uncertainty is why I want Tavares; when you have to decide based on the wide-open future of a teenager, every bit of evidence you have is important. And while Duchene's "X-Factor" ceilling is intriguing, and Hedman's potential has me salivating, the teenage player with the longest trail of significant evidence is Tavares -- and that evidence is pretty damn impressive.

But however it turns out, make no mistake: This is the beginning of the Tavares Era. Because whether the Islanders pick John Tavares or not, this summer, next season, and the next five years will be defined by that choice. Maybe it works out well, and we thank our lucky stars for being wrong. Maybe it works out disastrously, and we curse our fate for being right. Maybe it's all good, and this becomes known as an outstanding draft class. We can only hope so.

News LHinks and updates after the jump...

In case you missed it: Our coverage guide for the draft, as well as our Fan's Survival Guide in the Event the Isles Pass on Tavares.

Update: Botta has a fun interview with Scotty Bowman about the Big Decision.

Newsday's Package

Other NY Papers Sort of Cover NYI Hockey

  • In its league round-up, the NYT admits what few do: No idea who the Isles will pick.
  • Hilariously, the NY Daily News manages to turn the Islanders' big day into a Rangers story with the swift kick of a single dependent clause in the lead sentence. That, sirs, is dedication to the Blueshirt cause.

More NYI Blogger Views

Dissension in the ranks! Angie on the NYIsles Scene has a different vote than her counterpart; Mr. Bad Example at The Palm Isle likewise disagrees with his colleague The Rev. Zamboni. Kidding aside, these draft-day reflections are fun reads.

Gaspo at Still Drivin' will be playing softball (He has to, they're short!) instead of at a League Approved Draft-Related Function, but he predicts Tavares, dreams of good things, and gets greedy about the future. (Man, I miss the season, when everybody is putting stuff out regularly. There are some fun, differing views going around here. But I don't want Komisarek at that price.)

The Rest

  • As predictably as the Daily News bit above, Brian Burke is dominating Toronto coverage by stirring up bids for the good Kaberle.
  • Refreshingly not draft-related: Buddha at Hockey Wilderness says enough, already, to Jacques Lemaire.
  • Also not draft-related: Japers' Rink with Sergei Fedorov's thoughts after jumping to the KHL.
  • Do you like any of the GM candidates in Florida? A couple of those really scare me. Make it right, Architect.
  • It's been over 18 months since I've visited Hockeybuzz save for direct links to a few writers I like and respect. But I keep seeing hints around the blogosphere of just how ridiculous the Rumor Weasel has gotten. Hints like this one. No matter which way I turn it, I find it pathetic and cynical.

More here throughout the day -- and especially tonight. And don't forget, there is an army of SBN bloggers from various NHL teams in Montreal. You can find all of our latest NHL draft coverage here, or at the handy button below: