The #2 Pick


    I’ve read a lot of comments and feedback on everyone’s take for this pick but this is what has been making the rounds in the rumor mill – yes, rumors are still circulating through the playoffs. Keep in mind that this is pure speculation and isn’t exactly a mainstream rumor, but it is interesting and perhaps logical.

    The theory is that the New York Islanders will not and can not trade their number 1 pick. They need a face to put to their franchise and Kyle Okposo is not quite there yet. Di Pietro has been sidelined almost repetitively with multiple frustrating injuries that are starting to make that 15 year contract look that much more immature in terms of a managerial decision.

    The odds are sitting at about 60 percent that they will draft John Tavares. He’s a pure offensive player and he’s popular. Matt Duchene, while also a fantastic young forward, is simply not on the same map in terms of media ego as JT, so drafting Tavares will bring attention back into their market. It’s not necessarily a hockey decision as much as it is a business decision – albeit a safe one.

    But there is that 40 percent chance the Islanders will draft Hedman. Why? It’s simple really. Teams believe the best way to build your team is from the net out and they clearly do not have that top end blue collar defenseman. Hedman is that, and has the potential to be even more. If Di Pietro can solve his injury woes and have a guy like Big Vik in front of him, you’re looking at a talented defense core to build around.

    There was some speculation that Brian Burke would make a pitch for this pick, but as far as the Islanders are concerned they either have to pick Hedman/Tavares or move the franchise. Charles Wang is already having troubles trying to get the go-ahead to build the new arena and the Islanders are in a much more serious situation than people know of. This is a team that is on the brink of relocation and I don’t blame Mr. Wang for not wanting to jump through hoops in order to get a brand new arena built for a storied franchise – especially if the city is starting to set fire to those hoops.

    Therein lies the condition of the #2 pick. The Lightning are in a similar situation in terms of finances and the face of the franchise, but there is one glaring difference – last year, the Lightning drafted that future face of the franchise and his name is Steven Stamkos. While the Lightning do need a top end defenseman, since the Meszaros trade hasn’t exactly been working out thus far, they are inclined to listen to offers, but while some people suggest Ryan Malone may be the one on the way out there’s another big name making the rounds, and his name is Vincent Lecavalier.

    Surprised? Neither am I. He has been in the rumor front for the last two years it seems. He signed that big hefty contract, which I believe was fair for a guy who is arguably one of the top 10 best players in the game. What’s going on here is the Lightning are starting to realize that even under the new owners regime, they still lack a little thing called money. Stamkos is the next big thing to emerge in Tampa Bay, and if you don’t believe me then go watch some of Canada’s games in the Men’s Worlds. Stamkos is very close to being an 80 point player in the league and that makes a guy like Lecavalier expendable, especially if the franchise is already having a hard time paying him.

    The belief is that the Lightning have let it be known they will trade the #2 pick if someone also agrees to acquire Lecavalier. Sounds great right? Not so fast. The Lightning are not parting ways with Lecavalier, they are agreeing to trade him for equal value + the value of the 2nd overall pick. That’s a huge price tag.

    How huge you ask? One speculated deal involves a team in the top 10 (if I knew who it was, I’d share it) that would see a top prospect, a young gun forward, this year’s top 10 pick and a first from next year to be the trade equivalent. Let’s say it was Toronto. That trade would most likely be Grabovski, Tlusty/Schenn, 7th overall pick and their first in next year’s draft.

    Now, normally I wouldn’t believe in rumors like these, but I never thought the Leafs could literally buy a fourth round pick from a team either and Burke went ahead and broke that puppy like it was nothing. So in all honesty, this isn’t really a pipe dream. I do think the Lightning could still get more than what I mentioned, but since we have no idea what the main financial state is for the Lightning, anything can happen. They could be a bit desperate, but I think they’d allow themselves to suffer a bit more financially than to make an uneven trade for the simple sake of saving money.

    Needless to say, this year’s NHL Draft Day and the days leading up to it could be the busiest and most interesting of recent years. It seems the “New NHL” is starting to come back down to Earth and notice that these problems still exist. Now teams need to find creative ways to fix it, even if that means attaching picks to your superstars to kill the cost.

    Micheal A. Aldred
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