Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/26/14 at 08:15 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Even knowing their history, the Islanders rolled the dice again in a meaningful way this past week. With the rest of the hockey world distracted by the NHL playoffs, the Islanders notified the Buffalo Sabres that they would use their first-round pick, fifth overall, in the 2014 entry draft and defer until 2015 transferring the first-round they owe them in the Thomas Vanek deal. The Islanders scout players like the rest of the league, so they are aware that not one but potentially two generational players could be up for grabs in 2015 – Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters and Jack Eichel of the U.S. under-18 national development team.
It is the sort of draft that only comes along once in a while, one that can shift the fortunes of a franchise in one fell swoop, one that gets general managers dreaming about ping pong balls and the luck of the lottery draw.
And now, assuming they stay bad for at least one more year, the Sabres will get two cracks at McDavid and Eichel – and wouldn’t it be something if they ended up with both? Hockey in Western New York might never be the same.
The Islanders, meanwhile, are gambling that the return to health of John Tavares and the decision to sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a four-year contract, thus stabilizing a woefully erratic position, will make them a playoff team - or if not a playoff team, close enough that the chances of winning the draft lottery and moving into a top-two position are negligible.
more plus other hockey topics like the Washington Capitals and Jeff Carter...
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