Point/Counterpoint: Which Pick Should the Islanders Give to Buffalo?

After a bad 2013-14 season the Islanders hold the fifth pick in the draft this June. It will be the third time in the past five years that they are in the five slot and it’s the fifth year in the last six that they’ll be in the top five overall. But… Will they keep the pick? Thanks to the Thomas Vanek trade in October, they owe Buffalo either this year’s or next year’s first round pick. Today, we’ll debate the merits of each option.

Kevin Schultz

I’ve honestly had a hard time with this, debating which pick the Islanders should turn over to the Sabres. There’s something to be said for knowing where you’re picking and it’s hard to leave it up to all the different things that could (in this case) go right over the next year. But I think that if I’m Garth Snow, I’m swallowing my pride and my medicine and sending number five to Buffalo this June. Get rid of it, get it over with. You know how Islander County is and the last thing we all need is to stew about this for a year.

The immediate reaction last week after the lottery seemed to be that the Islanders would be showing that they’re “giving up” on next season if they pass up on this year’s pick. It would indicate that they’re expecting to be worse next year than they are this year. I’ve got a couple qualms with that. 1) The Islanders need a goaltender in the worst way. They will not be an improved team next year with the current trio. The team was also healthy for the most part up until the Olympic break. Wouldn’t a big acquisition restore faith even if they gave up the pick? Are we naive enough to believe this team will actually be better this year? 2) It seems pretty clear that the top of next year’s draft is going to be BIG with the grand prize the possible next Crosby, Connor McDavid. My nightmare is the Islanders falling into the bottom third (or worse) of the league and their logo coming up in the lottery causing a franchise altering player such as McDavid to play upstate instead of in Brooklyn. Christian, am I crazy?

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Completely crazy!

By the time the lottery was on last Tuesday I had long believed that giving up next years pick was the right thing to do if you are the Islanders. Next years draft has sex appeal and some big name players, but YES if you defer this years pick you are saying to everyone in Isles country this team is not getting better and we’ll be in the top-5 again next year.

Garth SnowThis Islander team is not that far off from actually being a threat in the playoffs they just need to make some smart off-season moves to facilitate that. And keeping the number five pick this year will help that. Holding onto the pick gives the Isles options to either 1) keep the selection to use it on a player like Willie Nylander, Sam Bennett or Michael Dal Colle. 2) They use the the selection as part of a trade to bring in the NHL defenseman or goaltender the Islanders so desperately need. It’s not that farfetched to think they could pull off a deal like that during the draft or in the day or so leading up to it. Potentially passing up on “the next Sidney Crosby” is tough to think about now, but if the Islanders play their cards right and make moves during the offseason — Like i believe they will do this year — this will be a mute point they will be no where near position to pick McDavid. So I think Snow will make the right call and keep this years draft pick and send next year’s selection to Buffalo.

Kevin Schultz

Well, without knowing Garth Snow’s plan for the off-season, it’s hard for me to assume that “this will be the year”. Obviously he’s not going to come out and say what that plan is, but I’m not sure where they go. A No. 5 pick is certainly great and nice for the future, but there’s almost no way that guy plays in the NHL next year. There’s usually only a couple of NHL ready players in a given draft. I would hope they go calling for free agents, but Doug Weight said it himself at the season ticket holder meeting last week, they call big free agents and no one wants to return their calls.  So that leaves trades and improvement from within.

As far as trades, that’s a tough thing to accomplish and just the thought of trading a top-five pick gives me heartburn.

I think Griffin Reinhart will be up next year, which is a great addition. Nelson, Strome and Lee look good but waiting on prospects to carry the team is hit and miss. Barring a season altering goaltender coming here — UFAs Miller, Hiller or Halak off the top of my head — I don’t see them being better than the eighth seed they were two years ago. And that’s if there are no injuries and everything goes right. Sure, a #5 pick was probably the worst case scenario this year, but it’s not far fetched that they could end up between 5-10 next year.

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

For Garth Snow to believe that his team will end up between 5-10 next year means he has already given up the upcoming year, which he can not do. The Islanders and their management know going into Brooklyn they CAN NOT have another year like they did this. And that means doing everything in their power to improve this roster in the off-season.

Mike Milbury may have ruined the idea of trading draft picks for fans of this team, but that can’t and shouldn’t be held against Snow. If the Islanders get the right deal for an established player and they have to give up the draft pick, then he has to do it.

Like I said earlier, I don’t think this team as far off as some people want to believe and even if they just make it in as an eighth seed, anything can happen in the playoffs. Just look at what is happening this year.

Kevin Schultz

I do agree that they can’t have another year like this (well, technically they can but they had better not allow it). There’s going to be a lot of positive momentum going into Brooklyn and on the flip side there will be minimal positive momentum if the team continues to be an also-ran.

This is a great opportunity for the team to, maybe not start over fresh, but create a sort of ‘new beginning’ if you will. It’ll be a chance to put to bed all the problems both on the ice and with the arena/financial situation that have haunted them for the last couple decades. Who knows, maybe there will even be a new owner by then. Hopefully however the draft pick scenario plays out, it will be a scenario that pushes the team forward.




112 comments
Jason Zimmermann
Jason Zimmermann

I honestly don't think management cares. If the team is as good as sold, and Garf's job is as good as gone, what difference does it make?

Joey Ferguson
Joey Ferguson

hope to god draisitl is available at the 5 spot. i could see him possibly making the team out of camp...... probably gonna think im nuts on that one.

Here's how I see it. I would give up this years pick, not because I think the Isles will be worse next year but because the other GM's in the league have to think the Isles will be a bottom 5 team again next year. Which pick has more value right now? This years #5 overall or next years 1st rounder with the potential studs available? I would then trade next years first rounder in a blockbuster to get the help we need on D or Goaltending. Then we go out and have a breakout year and the GM banking on the Isles being bottom 5 again next year is sitting there with the #15 pick.

since72
since72

There is one reason and one reason alone that Snow will keep the pick this season:  If the club doesn't improve in a hurry and Wang sells, Snow will certainly be gone.  He may be gone either way, but if the team is in the playoffs next season, he may stick with new ownership. 

He may use this selection as part of a trade to obtain a player who could help immediatly - which suits his situation best.  In any case, we have a GM whose job depends upon winning right now.  He doesn't care about 2015 and the fact that we have no selection in either the 1st or 2nd round. 

This creates a potentially dangerous situation for the fans because there is no telling what he will do.  I'm concerned about our high end prospects being dealt so he can put a playoff team on the ice now.  If the prospect pool runs dry, we have another Milbury situation which will take years to fix. 

Don22
Don22

It seems that most of the regulars here are for keeping this year's pick (to draft or trade) and send next year to Buffalo.  For anyone that feels it is better to keep next year's pick - you then remove yourself from the right to complain how bad the team is next year.  By giving them this year's pick you are not only expecting to be bad next year, you are pretty much rooting for it.

gleichzahl
gleichzahl

@dv92  not to mention wasting another year of jt's life.

(i tried 'reply' but this posting system sux)

dv92
dv92

Keep the pick. You know how badly we're gonna have to suck to get McDavid? Too many hungry kids to finish last in the league.

gleichzahl
gleichzahl

important goal scored last night by jared hickey-sturgeon.

questions: is hickey as good as sturgeon?  in the bigger picture, can islanders make the playoffs next year?  if you're leaning to 'yes,' keep this year's pick.  the biggest harm imo would be in sending out the message that next year will be another lousy one.  and frankly with the emergence of nelson, lee, strome, de haan, and reinhart, that's pbl a message garth snow can't put out there.

Julian Mauricio
Julian Mauricio

I think it's insane to give it up. ummmm it's the 5th pick.  What exactly am I missing here?  The trade itself was bad enough. Why in the world would you make it worse by giving up the 5th overall pick to boot? I think those of you thinking to give it up are bananas.

dinbigd
dinbigd

Haven't read 1 post yet. I speed read the article on debating whether to give up pick or next years. The argument that Isles will be sending a message of giving up on next season by giving this yrs pick to Buffalo is asinine!!!!The red flag giving up on next year is in FA & trades!!As it has been for many years. This years pick doesn't mean squat for next season.So w/ that said my opinion is give it up now. If Garth keeps it to make a blockbuster that would address the net minder & D then that should be the only exception. Lets be real people Garth is a dead man walking & good for him as I have been a dead fan walking for quite sometime. On another note I have been blessed by watching Stars playoff hockey that has been awesome w/ no real stake in the outcome of games but I must say I could easily change alliances if it weren't for my youngest son who because of me is an Isles fan. So while 16 teams battle it out for the Cup us Isles fans will debate on yet another useless pick. Sell Wang.

Joey Ferguson
Joey Ferguson

keep this years. trade it. make a package for a goalie

Mike O'Connor
Mike O'Connor

Keep the pick top five in this draft are studs. The rest is up in the air. IF the Isles fix their holes G, 2nd line scoring and a vet D we will be in playoffs next year. New owner? New arena in 15...no pick in 15 ..have to spend to hit cap floor. Indications are they're gonna make a splash this off season. Hope so but keep the pick anyway.

jepliberty
jepliberty

They should keep the pick and give them Garth Snow, and Cappy.  How's that for an answer.

dagr33k
dagr33k

Reading these posts is driving me crazy. What makes anyone think that we can trade the 5th pick for a star player when after the first 3 picks the draft is a crap shoot. The players that will be drafted this year won't be in the nhl for another 3 to 4 years if they even make it.

Io-dc Piper
Io-dc Piper

Give 2014 pick to buff and be done with it.

Michael Delman
Michael Delman

I am not an optimist, but I do believe the Islanders will finish next year by making the playoffs.  If you believe that too, sending the pick to Buffalo this year is a mistake.

Scott Weinstein
Scott Weinstein

If you're going to trade the #5 pick, IF, make it for a young, elite goalie prospect (Malcolm Subban or Petr Mrazek).

Wc Christopher
Wc Christopher

Would you rather target Evander Kane or PK Subban in a trade? For Subban: Strome, Pullock, #5 pick, and maybe a Bailey or Grabner. For Kane and Byfuglien: Grabner, #5 pick, Lee, Donovan. I'd do either trade and then for goal I'd get one of the following, Hiller, Halak or Reimer with Nabby as backup. If we did the first trade I'd consider trying to sign a winger like Vanek, or maybe someone like Heatley or Gaborik to a 1 year deal. As for trade two, I'd look towards signing a D man or 2 such as Markov, Meszaros, Niskanen or Orpik or try trading for Scuderi. Am I talking crazy or am I making any bit of sense?

dzruggie
dzruggie

The question is, how much value does the # 5 pick hold either for the Islanders or as a trade bait.  To project a possible losing season just does not work.  On paper after the lock out - don't forget the Islanders were ranked 29 or 30th.  So if there is a trade or a player at 5 who can be a solid player in the future (yes many top 5 picks over time turn out to be quality 3rd line players), you hold the pick for this year.

Harry F
Harry F

Give this year's pick to Buffalo. keeping the 2015 pick has nothing to do with the expectations of next year. It's a bigger statement if we add a few players, not whether we keep another draft pick. The fact that there is no consensus for the 5th pick means it's not worth keeping. We can use other draft picks to trade back into this year's first round and get a similar player in the 15-20 overall pick. Next year's draft is just way more deep. And unless there is another Schnieder scenario, it's unlikely we get anything really significant for that #5 overall 

dkdk
dkdk

So half the league has been preparing for playoffs and fantasizing about their team winning the Cup. Most of the others are debating which free agents to sign and what trades they can make to improve.

We get to decide which lottery pick to give up for 40 games of vanek. Wow. Just wow.

F U Wang. And f your biotch GM.

dagr33k
dagr33k

Trade the pick. This team has way to many holes to fill. If everyone thinks all they need is a goaltender you are delusional. They have drafted in the top ten for the last 6 years except last year. What makes anyone think they will not be there again next year with this management and coach. The questions i have are 1 will Tavaras come back totally healthy with no surgery 2 is Reinhardt NHL ready 3 will Snow be able to get an upgrade in goal 4 can Snow sign or pull off a trade for a good winger (doubt it after Vanek debacle) 5 will Strome,Lee, and Nelson continue to grow or will they fall into the sophomore slump. Their are a lot of ifs so that's why you trade the pick. It's not giving up on next year it's just the smart thing to do. Then if Snow comes through and we have a good season and make and win a playoff round, nobody will care where we draft next year. And if we suck it up, next years draft is loaded with more talent.

orange2327
orange2327

Yep all of these guys are2-3 year projects. Trade the pick for help now.

gleichzahl
gleichzahl

 basically you're saying that you're smarter than the gm that gets stuck with the #15 pick.

Don22
Don22

I'm not sure I understand your idea.  Are you saying that you would trade next year's pick now for goalie/defensive help now?  I can't see any GM making any significant trade on the chance that they might get a top 5 or even top 10 next year.  Usually when you see future picks in a trade they tend to be add in pieces, not the focus.  I like the thinking but I don't think any GM would bite.  I think they would prefer a #5 this year where they know exactly what they can get than a pick next year that will be unknown.  You can say the probability is high that it is a top 10 pick, but there is also the risk that it falls even further. 

since72
since72

 That is an interesting thought on feeling out potential trading partners for which year's selection they would perfer.  They don't have to inform Buffalo until June 30.  If Snow were to include the pick as part of a trade, he would have the flexability to trade either 2014 or 2015 to obtain the targeted player(s) and give Buffalo whichever one is left. 

Isleguy27
Isleguy27

I believe we have the Flyers 2nd Rd pick in 2015.

doc942
doc942

@Don22  You are 100% correct on all points!!!


dv92
dv92

@gleichzahl  That's alright this new system is kinda lame lol But you are right. We wanna waste ANOTHER year for jt?? If you give the pick up this year that sends a message that our organization is throwing in the towel for next year. Not a good message to send to your players. If they do give the pick up, not only do we waste another year of JT, he will be one step closer to wanting to leave this circus!

Steven Cook
Steven Cook

Kevin....The Isles weren't healthy this season.   Losing Visnovsky, Strait and Nabakov in November is one of  the main reasons their season was over in December.  And this posting system is awful. 

Steven Cook
Steven Cook

Christian....It is a MOOT point.  Not a MUTE point. 

Isleguy27
Isleguy27

Nice that the Stars are in the playoffs this year, but lets not forget, they've missed the post season the last 5 years.

orange2327
orange2327

The sabers dont want them. They already have a janitor and a doorman.

Isleguy27
Isleguy27

If I were a GM of either one of those teams I would gladly take your proposals prior to your drugs wearing off.

Doug Tyburski
Doug Tyburski

@Wc Christopher  Whoa!!!  That's way too much.  Strome is as untouchable as you can get and Pullock is said to be close to a can't miss prospect.  The Isles can get impact players without giving up as much as you mentioned

shlo
shlo

@Wc Christopher you are giving too much for these players.

You should not trade Strome or Pullock. You are doing what Milbury did on a constant basis- giving up young assets.

jepliberty
jepliberty

@Chris R @dkdk

Hey Wang, Put a hinge on your tiny little stump between your legs, swing it up your aho.le and then go kc.uf yourself.

dkdk
dkdk

I think this may be the most painful debate to date! A complete nonsensical snow mastered cluster.

Isleguy27
Isleguy27

@since72 @Isleguy27  I think everyone realizes or agrees that the Vanek trade wasn't a good hockey deal, however, the Amac trade was quite a good deal.

jrjr
jrjr

I wouldnt. Try looking at the ufa list first. Trades like this are for teams with cap issues. We have plenty of cap space. Oh wait, i forgot the islanders have no money.

Joey Ferguson
Joey Ferguson

@Wc Christopher @Doug Tyburski  i really wouldnt trade for PK. we need a vet dman can pick up a FA.. i dont think we need kane and byfuglien. if anything try to resign vanek when he hits the open market. maybe heatley. if anything id trade for malcolm subban (young goalie prospect)