June 21, 2008

Snow Trades Down Twice; Selects Josh Bailey

With a 5th overall pick in a top heavy draft, it was hard not to get excited. One of those seven was going to be an Islander. We'd finally have a blue chip prospect to go along with Kyle Okposo.

Well, things went a bit differently than expected.

Garth Snow traded down not once, but twice to move down to #9 overall and selected center Josh Bailey from the Windsor Spitfires. It was a selection that was unexpected by the fans, as many of them had Filatov on their mind.

I have no issues with Josh Bailey, and I think will turn into a good NHLer. I see him as a 1st or 2nd line center down the road. Josh is a hard working playmaker, who has some grit to his game and doesn't back down. That's all great, and if his work ethic is as strong as it says it is he can make himself really good. When he was selection, the boys at TSN said he was a pretty good pick and even hinted he could be in the lineup next year.

The Islanders picked up some extra picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds by trading down twice. That's understandable as they have a need for quantity in the system. But, they needed quality just as bad here. In my opinion, you address the quality first. When interviewed after making the first trade with Snow, Maple Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher was interviewed by the crew at TSN. When asked about dealing away the 2nd and 3rd round picks, Fletcher didn't hesitate in explaining how important going for quality first is. He ended up taking defenseman Luke Schenn.

Now, that's not to say Josh won't be a quality player. In every draft quality players can come out of anyone in the first round. Some of those at the top might not pan out either. I can't say that I know enough about Josh to make any sort of assumption yet.

By moving down two times, not only did the Isles pass up on Scehnn, but they also passed up on winger Nikita Filatov, center Colin Wilson, and winger Mikkel Boedker.

The one that hurts the most is losing out on Filatov. Islander fans wanted this guy bad. The team ached for a guy of his caliber bad. Franchise wingers don't grown on trees, and last I checked a franchise player at any position wasn't rushing to sign here. That's why you draft them when you have the chance.

Bailey did put up 96 points in 67 games in the OHL last year, with 29 goals and 67 assists. But, it was his first year putting up points like that. When the pick was made, the TSN guys mentioned that this was the guy the Islanders wanted all along.

Some fans are annoyed when they think of the long and painful season they endured to even get a top five selection. Although they didn't win the lottery for the chance to get Stamkos, the team had a chance at the second best forward in the draft in Filatov, a guy who many analysts had said if he was Candian, then he would have gone second. Filatov would have been perfect for the Isles, because of his speed, skill, and his ability to be feisty despite his small size. There was no problem with being enigmatic.

Again, its nothing I have against Josh Bailey and I wish him all the luck and will root like mad he turns out to be a 70-80 point playmaker. He is a hard enough worker that he could possibly do that. Now, we already had 2 picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds to begin with. The Isles wanted to stockpile more while getting their guy. Now I'll admit, I would have been thrilled with Schenn or Filatov. But with a revamped scouting crew, maybe they saw something in Bailey that many fans haven't seen. This is all very possible as many fans haven't seen any of these prospects play; myself included. That is why it's difficult to say for sure who exactly is the best pick.

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