John Tavares, Welcome to the New York Islanders
Islander fans got their man last night, as Isles general manager Garth Snow announced the first overall pick at the NHL draft last night around 7:18 PM.
As the name John came out of Garth's mouth, the Nassau Coliseum erupted like it hasn't since that Shawn Bates penalty shot goal against the Maple Leafs back in that brutal '02 playoff series.
There was some degree of worry, because Snow had kept the pick tight lipped right up until he made the pick. There was also a story that broke on Newsday.com about a half hour before the draft that the Isles were going to take Matt Duchene.
Snow did the right thing though by building up the suspense right up until he made the pick. If we knew Tavares was going to be the pick before the draft, then the atmosphere at the Coliseum last night probably wouldn't have been as electric as it was.
In the end though, Tavares was their man, as I said he would be. There was no way the Isles could pass on an opportunity like this to make this team relevant in the NHL again.
Fans from around the league now have a name they can associate with the Isles, and having a name like Tavares may be able to get this team on a nationally televised game or two on NBC next season.
Isles fans also have a reason to be excited about this team in a long time, too. Just look at some of the sales that were reported in Newsday today. In just the hour after Tavares was drafted, the Isles sold over $75,000 in ticket plans for next season. They also sold over $15,000 in merchandise for the night.
Let's remember to keep expectations for Tavares at a reasonable level though. This team still needs a lot, and Tavares does not solve every problem by himself.
He also is not on the level of Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin either.
Tavares can be a big piece to the puzzle though to turn this franchise back into a contender again in the next couple years.
After Tavares, the Isles traded up twice in the first round to No. 12 to select defenseman Calvin de Haan. I don't know too much about him, but the Versus telecast compared him to Tomas Kaberle.
The Isles have also taken two goalies, Mikko Koskinen, and Anders Nilsson so far today. I wrote about Koskinen in an earlier article about potential goalies to draft. Nilsson I don't know anything about.
I'll have something else up later on de Haan, and all the picks made later today after the draft ends.
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