IPB’s Potential Options for Islanders' #4 Pick

In less than a month’s time, Islanders general manager Garth Snow and his draft-day decision-making will once again be held under the NHL microscope. Five years removed from a first-round ouster at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres, Snow and his hockey brass will look to add an additional piece to the team’s “rebuilding” core, when the Islanders and its 29 counterparts take aim at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center on June 22 -23 for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Snow or my personal choice – David Volek – will make a selection that not only the organization, but most importantly the Islanders’ loyal fan-base can look at as a key turning point to its recent struggles. Nineteen years ago, Volek netted a Game 7 overtime-winner in the Division Finals – at the recently-demolished Igloo – that would halt the Penguins’ two-year Stanley Cup reign. His presence might not only give the organization some badly-needed luck, but also would tweak a bitter foe in front of its faithful fan base.

Possessing the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft will also present the organization some interesting alternatives on which they can vastly improve their present-day hockey club.

Here are some viable options that I have compiled, in which the structure of the current-day and future Islanders could be transformed significantly.

Islanders select the Best Player Available at #4 – Leksands IF (SWE) winger Filip Forsberg – The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Forsberg, whose overall play has drawn comparisons to three-time 30-goal scorer Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks. Forsberg, 17, would be a bona-fide candidate to be John Tavares’ running mate on the team’s first line for the next decade. At such a young age, Forsberg has already experienced international success, having won Gold with Team Sweden at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Calgary. Nonetheless, while Forsberg’s commitment to his Swedish club team might deter eager suitors, his skill-set is undeniable.

Islanders trade the fourth overall selection to Carolina for the Hurricanes’ first (eighth overall) and second (38th overall) round picks – Reluctant to select Red Deer defenseman Matthew Dumba with its own pick, the Islanders might be more inclined to draft the 6-foot, 185-pounder later on in the top-ten. While the 17-year-old Dumba might have the skill-set to be a potential top-four NHL defenseman, his frenetic style and lack of physical prowess might scare teams from drafting him real early. Still, his overall talent might be too much for a team like the Islanders to pass up. With the 38th pick, the Islanders could add a potential second-round gem in Kelowna (WHL) defenseman Damon Severson or Saskatoon (WHL) defenseman Dalton Thrower.

On the flip side, Carolina is looking to add some scoring punch to a team that finished 16th in the league in goals for. One or two of Forsberg, Quebec (QMJHL) winger Mikhail Grigorenko and Sarnia (OHL) center Alex Galchenyuk should be available with the fourth overall pick.

Islanders trade the fourth overall selection to Tampa Bay for the Lightning’s two first round picks (10th and 19th overall) – With Everett (WHL) defenseman Ryan Murray more than likely to be selected among the draft’s top three picks, the Islanders might not be sold on the other top- tier defensemen to select them with a top-five pick. Therefore, why not potentially fill two needs by trading its pick for multiple assets. Ottawa (OHL) defenseman Cody Ceci (#10) and Plymouth (OHL) power-forward Tom Wilson (#19) each have the talents to fill a need on defense and up front, respectively.

For Tampa Bay, Edmonton (WHL) defenseman Griffin Reinhart is a player that the organization seems to covet. Reinhart’s play in his team’s run through the WHL postseason and now the 2012 Memorial Cup makes it more than unlikely for him to be available for the Lightning at pick #10.

Islanders trade the fourth overall selection and a third round pick (65th overall) to Buffalo for defensive prospect Mark Pysyk (or D Andrej Sekera) and the Sabres’ second first round pick (21st overall) – Barren with NHL-ready defensive prospects, acquiring the 20-year-old Pysyk could be impactful to the 2012-13 Islanders. Having just completed his fourth WHL season for the Edmonton Oil Kings, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Pysyk might find himself caught in a defensive logjam up in Buffalo. On the Island, Pysyk could easily be penciled into the team’s opening day lineup, come October. Defenseman Andrej Sekera, committed to a cap-friendly $8.25 million over the next three seasons, could also step into the Islanders line-up next season and command top-four minutes. With the 21st selection, Wilson or Peterborough (OHL) defenseman Slater Koekkoek would be excellent additions. Koekkoek, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury earlier this season, has drawn comparisons to Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian.

In the Queen City, there are serious rumblings regarding the Sabres’ interest in Pittsburgh center Jordan Staal. If the Sabres are unable to satisfy the Penguins’ needs in a multi-player swap, they certainly will turn their attention to the top of the draft in hopes of acquiring a badly-needed top-six forward. Grigorenko, Forsberg and Galchenyuk should be on their radar.

Islanders trade the fourth overall selection and F Josh Bailey to Vancouver for D Alexander Edler and the Canucks’ second round pick (57th overall) – Having its top three defensemen – Kevin Bieksa (4.6M), Dan Hamhuis (4.5M) and Keith Ballard (4.2M) – all financially committed through the 2014-15 seasons, defenseman Alexander Edler should be one of the hotter commodities heading into this offseason. The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Edler, 26, collected 49 points – 11 goals and 38 assists – in 82 games for the Canucks. Edler is scheduled to make a reasonable $3.25 million in 2012-13, before he becomes a restricted free agent. Ideally, Edler would be a more-than-capable replacement to current Islanders captain Mark Streit, who is entering his final year of a five-year, $20.5 million deal.

For Vancouver, Bailey would be a nice fit as its third-line center, while drafting Forsberg to play alongside his fellow countrymen – Henrik and Daniel Sedin – could make for a seamless transition from Sweden.

While names like P.K. Subban, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo and Jarome Iginla have and will all be bandied about by the time the draft rolls along, I personally would find it difficult to see any of the aforementioned players being worth the compensation necessary for the Islanders to trade its pick, along with any additional assets.

The NHL Draft is just 30 days away.

Leave your thoughts on the Islanders draft strategy in comments below.