Today is the most important day in New York Islanders history.
Why? Because its the day where the Islanders could take a major step toward becoming relevant in the NHL. It's also the day they could fall on their face and essentially starting packing their bags for Kansas City.
With all the hoopla of the NBA draft this week (and the general fact that only a precious few care about hockey and even less about the Islanders), the NHL Draft has been lost in the shuffle. Oh yeah, its tonight if you didn't catch on.
Here's the situation: Their are two players in the draft that are both predicted to be future all-stars. John Tavares and Victor Hedman. Tavares is a center man who is being touted as the next Sidney Crosby. He's a dynamic scorer with all the skills to be the next great player in this league. He has, in addition to Crosby, drawn comparisons to Wayne Gretzky. In fact, Tavares broke Gretzky's OHL record for goals in a season . This guy not only has the chance to be great. He has the chance to be..... wait for it.... legendary. (Kudos to anyone who got that reference)
Although Headman is arguably just as good as Tavares, I am not of the belief that you build a hockey team around a defensemen. You win with scoring and goaltending. Defensemen are great, but if you have a chance to get a "league changing" scorer like Tavares, you don' pass that up.
Tavares is the type of player who can build around for 15 years. The Isles thought that they had that with Rick Dipietro (ironically also a number 1 pick), but now are seeing that building a team against an oft-injured, super inconsistant goaltender might not be the best idea in the world. Charles Wang and company can not afford to let the disaster that has been and might continue to be the Rick Dipietro contract affect their decision tonight. Money being the issue is no excuse. Although it may be hard to swing, they have to come up with a way to pay Tavares, At this point, I think one could make an argument that finding a way to pay Tavares is more important then anything having to do with Rick Dipietro. This issue is bigger then money. It's about a team that has one more chance to save itself from, well, itself. That chance is tonight.
That chance is John Tavares.
- Jordan Lauterbach