One of the most openly hated logo changes of all time was when the Isles moved from their classic crest to the "Captain Highliner Fisherman" seen here. I'll be honest, back in the day I didn't think it was all that horrible but I hated the colour change that accompanied it. It wasn't until the team went retro and brought back the classic uniforms that I realized how bad the version from the mid-90's actually was.
1st Pick Last Year: John Tavares (1st overall) – Stepping directly out of the OHL and into an Islanders uniform, Tavares began the year like a bat out of hell collecting 5 points in 3 games. He came back to Earth in the second half as he endured a lengthy streak of goal scoring futility. Of his 24 goals this year, a feat on its own, 16 came before 2010. Tavares finished 1 point behind Matt Duchene in rookie scoring.
The Good: Josh Bailey (9th overall, 2008) – Not only did the Islanders nab a player a lot of people had underestimated but they traded back a couple of times and added more assets plus Bailey stepped right in the following season and contributed. Bailey already has 141 NHL games under his belt and although one could argue that his development may have benefitted from a Memorial Cup run with Windsor in 2008-09, The Islanders aren’t second guessing themselves about it.
The Bad: Ryan O’Marra (15th overall, 2005) – Once considered the “safe pick”, O’Marra has yet to have more than a cup of coffee at the NHL level. This isn’t the Islanders’ problem though having moved the former OHL center to the Edmonton Oilers as part of a package for rental Ryan Smyth. While still with the Islanders organization, O’Marra had an impressive stint in the AHL and looked promising but that hasn’t transferred to the Oilers’ AHL affiliate which has finished last for two straight years. An impending RFA, O’Marra is coming to the crossroads of his career and would probably welcome a change in scenery.
The Unknown: Rhett Rakhshani (100th overall, 2006) – The diminutive winger was a dynamic scorer throughout his NCAA career at Denver University where he totalled 50 points as a senior. His pro career is about to begin and the question is how he’ll adapt to the next level. His 10 AHL regular season and playoff games resulted in two points.
Coming Down the Pipe: The top two prospects for the Islanders are probably found on the blueline in Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan, both coming out of the CHL. Rearguard Andrew MacDonald, a late pick in 2006, stepped in for 41 games this past season and will be looking for more in 2010-11. Aaron Ness is still at Minnesota with the Golden Gophers and Dustin Kohn has been bubbling under the NHL surface in Bridgeport Sound for 3 years now. Up front imports Jesse Joensuu, Kirill Petrov and Robin Figren are joined by Jason Gregoire, Rhett Rakhshani and Corey Trivino. Rob Schremp will look to re-establish his position on the NHL roster after suffering a season ending injury in early March. (Photo: Hamonic... Aaron Bell CHL Images)
Draft Trends: His promotion to General Manager raised a lot of eyebrows but Garth Snow and his scouting staff deserve a lot of credit for their performance over the last few drafts. His handling of his first pick in 2008 was a clinic on asset management that should be applauded. The Islanders have taken half a dozen high school players over the last four years showing a willingness to take longer term projects. Is it safe to expect the Islanders to be active by trading up or down during the draft?
2010 Prediction 5th overall:
Dean Millard: Cam Fowler (Windsor) - For most of this year Fowler was the top ranked blueliner in the draft. He skates very well, has a good shot and plays a smart heads up game. The only knock on Fowler is he can play a little soft at times, which drops him behind a couple other rearguards in his draft class. The Islanders need some help on the back end and Fowler gives them a power play QB.
Guy Flaming: Brett Connolly (Prince George) – The dynamic offensive talent was shelved for most of the 2009-10 season but scouts saw enough in the games he did play as well as his 16-year-old WHL campaign to know that he’s the real deal. Some felt that if healthy all year, Connolly would have made it a 3-way argument at the top of the Class of 2010. Speed, smarts, hands, vision... there is nothing missing from his game aside from a lack of physicality one might expect from a 6’2 forward but he’s a big, skilled guy rather than a power forward.