My previous two posts on the Best and Worst Islanders Draft Classes have brought up some wonderful discussions. A dark horse candidate (the 2003 draft) added late to the Worst poll nearly won. But the recent poll of the Best Islanders class post-1979 brought up discussion about the pre-'79 drafts. The seven Amateur Drafts the Islanders took part in created the basis of the team that won four straight Stanley Cups and into a fifth finals. The two highest voted drafts in this post will face the two highest voted drafts from the post-'79 draft class poll.
For those that are wondering why the separation point in '79, the NHL went from an Amateur Draft to the modern Entry Draft. The exact wording quoted by Dominik:
In 1979, the rules were again changed allowing players who had previously played professionally to be drafted. This rule change was made to facilitate the absorption of players from the defunct World Hockey Association. Consequently, the name of the draft was changed from "NHL Amateur Draft" to "NHL Entry Draft". Beginning in 1980, any player who is between the ages of 18 and 20 is eligible to be drafted. In addition, any non-North American player over the age of 20 can be selected.
I doubt anyone would argue for the inclusion of one of the other three drafts. If you do feel strongly about one of the other drafts, I'm more then willing to hear you out. Three of these drafts gave us Hall Of Famers. Although '72 didn't have a hall member, the Islanders traded Harris (from '72) and Lewis (from '73) for Goring.