We at Lighthouse Hockey have kept readers in riveted suspense for long enough. It's almost criminal to make people wait since June 27 to learn who, WHO, could possibly be the best New York Islander under 25 years old, the lone man not mentioned in the previous 24 who could possibly be worthy of the honor of #1.
Our panel voted. Then we re-voted. We counted votes. We recounted re-votes.
Could John Tavares' knee injury drop him all the way off the list? Could Garth Snow trade him in that much-awaited deal for a REAL top-four defenseman? Could Toronto steal him out from under our arms through the sheer windbag force of the Hockey Navel-Gazing Media Center of the Universe?
And almost as importantly, could laziness -- a value we hold dear at LHH Industries -- win out over our neurotic need to cross t's and dot i's?
No. Unanimously, no.
John Tavares, who turned 24 at the beginning of training camp (but was 23 when our pre-draft vote was taken), is number one. Still.
We love him for this. We love him for that. And we love him because he looks set to captain the Islanders back to the playoffs for the third time in the post-Milbury era, and for the first time in over a decade where we have decent reason to believe this team can do some damage.
The Full 25U25
If you missed our pre-draft run-up (so, before the 2014 draft picks and before the Nick Leddy trade), you can find the rest of our countdown here. It will change before next time. (Already Ville Pokka has been excommunicated, though Nick Leddy will surely be greeted with welcome arms.)
For now though: Hockey. Some of it played by very young, very good players. (Seven from our list are in tonight's lineup, with another in the pressbox and yet another on IR.) Enjoy!