The Islanders' lottery experience was much like my own — when it was over, nothing changed.
The Isles will stay with the fifth overall pick at the June 20 NHL draft, which projects to be a good one. You can find Central Scouting's list here, and it includes links to other rankings as well.
The Islanders could certainly use a dynamic offensive player like Nikita Filatov of Russia, or they could get another power forward like Kyle Beach. Or will they get a chance at one of several top blueliners like Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, Luke Schenn or Zach Bogosian? I'd like to see a forward come in but either way, the Isles will be getting a quality player and GM Garth Snow will have some decisions to make.
Owner Charles Wang has made some comments regarding reported tension in the front office and the possibility of giving Ted Nolan a contract extension. Saying "we'll honor the contract" isn't exactly a vote of confidence, and while that approach may make sense in the business world, it's a little different in pro sports, where media coverage can turn a smoldering situation into a five-alarm blaze.
You either like the guy or you don't, and if Nolan is going to be given year three to prove himself -- as if he hasn't proven himself thus far -- who's to say he doesn't get snapped up by someone else? Was this season a step backwards? Yes. Was it Nolan's fault? No.
You'd think that since Wang brought Nolan in, the coach would be in good standing. But reports of a rift between Nolan and Snow concerning the management of Rick DiPietro to the talent on the roster have percolated all season.
Nolan is pretty much a proven coaching commodity who has gotten a lot from what he's had to work with, and he's well-regarded throughout the league. Snow, meanwhile, went straight from backup goalie to GM and has done a fair job this season, although it was clear from the start that scoring would be a problem. And it was -- big time.
Both men owe Wang a debt of gratitude -- Nolan for being rescued from exile and Snow for being given such a huge opportunity with no experience. Is Wang hanging that over their heads?
With a less-than-dynamic crop of free agents, it will be interesting to see how Snow addresses the needs on offense and how the draft plays out. We'll be watching.