Well, as we all know, it has been quite a dissappointing season. The final victory over the Rangers was a little band-aid over the large wound, especially since Okposo scored hopefully the first of many goals against the Rangers. However, before I begin discussing the point of this blog, I would like to say when we look at all the injuries this team has had to deal with (Sillinger, Witt, Campoli, Gervais, Sutton, Fedotenko, Hilbert (whatever happened to him???), Sim, Comrie, etc...it is fair enough to say it was an unfortunate season. Had we have been fortunate enough to have a healthy line-up, we definitely would have been much more in the playoff race. However, we cannot live on what-if's, and that is why we are here.
Looking at the up-side means taking a look at Monday Night, the Lottery Draft. To all of us Islander fans, Monday night is pretty much like competing for the Stanley Cup of non-playoff teams. On the line is that first overall pick, most likely Steven Stamkos, who could truly turn the Islanders franchise hopes around. We are looking at a truly deep draft, where especially nabbing anyone in the top 5 would truly just add to an already promising future. We currently sit in 26th place and that is where we will remain, regardless of St. Louis because we would have more wins then them to finish out the season. We could receive either the first overall pick, the fifth overall pick, or at worst the sixth overall pick. Before anyone jumps down my throat and says we "have no shot at the first pick," let me remind you that the worst team in the league rarely wins the first pick. The new lottery set up really allows for it to be a toss up. This is how the percentages work:
30th place team - 25.0% 29th place team - 18.8% 28th place team - 14.2%
27th place team - 10.7% 26th place team - 8.1% 25th place team - 6.2%
...and so on and so forth. Per NHL Rules, no NHL team can move up more than four positions in the draft order and no club can drop more then one draft position. This means the Islanders, with an 8.1% chance of winning the overall drawing, can be as good as the first over-all pick or as bad as the 6th overall pick. As I said before, do not doubt the Isles chances of winning the top overall pick, as last year the Blackhawks sat with the 5th worst record in the league and wound up winning the top overall pick (Patrick Kane). In fact, only three times in the past twelve years has the worst team overall won the first overall pick. The fifth overall pick has won it twice, not that promising but enough to keep our hopes up. And on a further note, if you read my Jeff Tambellini blog, you never know if his name could be thrown into a package to try and draw the first overall pick from whoever wins it (Possibly our first pick, Tambellini, Walter, and a player). When you read that blog you will understand why I feel Tambellini might be on his way out, regardless of the fact that I do think he is a good player just waiting to bloom.
Well, these are just some basic points I wanted to state prior to the NHL Lottery on Monday night. For all of those interested, it will be televised nationally on the NHL Network along with Versus. If you only have access to a computer, I was informed it will be streamed live on NHL.Com and possibly TSN, but don't hold me to that. As Islander fans, we should all begin to pray!!! This draft could truly hold a key to our future. Following Monday nights lottery, I will write a blog based on the top 6 guys, and who I feel the Islanders will select with whichever pick they may get. Keep those fingers crossed! Lastly, LETS GO ISLANDERS!!!