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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Posted By: CHRIS BOTTA, VP of Media Relations

I don't know anything about Mark Katic. What I do know is that he must have been VERY high on our scouts' list, probably as high as early second round. I say this because I had lunch with Jankowski on Monday and I asked him for the name of the kid he envision the NYI taking with the first pick of the third round. Ryan gave me the name but added the Islanders would most likely have to move up to grab him.

Max Gratchev
So when the Islanders were poised to pick at the beginning of the third and Jankowski's predicted prospect was still not taken, I was standing on the sidelines saying to myself "Ha, I know who we're getting." And then they called Mark Katic's name and my jaw dropped. But I guess that was our staff's reaction to Katic sliding all the way to the third round.

Now don't get me wrong, folks. I'm not comparing this to anything like the Cherepanov and Esposito stunners. Just making the point that the collection of bird-dogs who saw more than 2,000 games last season like Katic. They like him a lot.

Some Parting Thoughts:

I'd love to tell my bosses that Corey did such a good PR job at the table that he got a huge feature story for us by a Hall of Fame hockey writer in the Boston Globe on our fourth round pick. But please read Kevin Dupont's story on Max from Thursday's Globe when you have a few minutes. I'm sure Islanders TV will spend some time with him at the prospects camp next week...

That prediction last night about possible high drama around the NHL today? Just change that to anytime over the next two weeks...

Finally, I don't want to get a complex, but is it possible some of the bloggers are coming up with wacko Ryan Smyth scenarios just so I'll fire back on the team website? It's either that, or their potato skins last night were laced with something.

Simon Lacroix, Courtesy of Shawinigan

With the team's final selection, the Islanders chose defenseman Simon Lacroix in the seventh round – 196th overall. As a member of Shawinigan of the QMJHL, Lacroix led the defense with 11 goals, 27 assists and 38 points. His eight power play goals and two game-winners were tied for third on the team.

Born: 1989-05-29
Height: 6'02"
Weight: 180 lbs
Birthplace: Orléans, ON


Posted By: MARIO SARACENO, Scout

Simon has a right shot, which is always a plus for a defenseman. At 6-2, 175 lbs he has a lot of size to fill. Simon is a smart defensive player, but also has an offensive upside. He makes that first pass well and plays on the power plays. Last year as a 17-year old he logged 30 minutes of ice time a game, but we expect he'll play even more this season. The coaches on Shawinigan loved his attitude and character. We're glad to have picked Simon in the seventh round, and look forward to seeing his potential once he fills out a bit. Once he fills out more it will help him increase his strength.


Blake Kessel
n the sixth round of the 2007 Entry Draft, the Islanders selected defenseman Blake Kessel with the 166th pick. Brother to Boston Bruins forward Phil Kessel, Blake skated with Waterloo of the USHL during the
2006-07 season.

In 59 games with Waterloo, Blake was 11-27-38, while leading the defense corps in goals, assists and points. Kessel finished the season a +12 and with 24 power play points.

Birthday: Apr 13, 1989
Hometown: Verona, WI
Position: D
Height: 6-2
Weight: 210


Posted By: JIM HILLMAN, Scout

Blake is a solid defenseman, who makes a good first pass. He plays the defensive side of the game tight, but likes to jump into the play, using his speed. Blake is a complete player, who improved every time I saw him. By the end of the year he was the best defenseman on a very good Waterloo team. Next year he will be attending the University of New Hampshire.


Max Gratchev, Courtesy of QMJHL
The Islanders selected Max Gratchev in the fourth round – 106th overall – in the 2007 Entry Draft. During the 2006-07 season, Gratchev led Rimouski of the QMJHL in goals (35), points (77) and was tied for first in assists with 42.

Born in Novosibirsk, Russia, Gratchev was raised by his father, who played pro hockey in Russia. At a young age, Gratchev moved to North America to continue playing hockey.

Position: LW
Height : 5'11"
Weight : 198 lbs
Shoots: Left
Birth date : 1988-09-26
Birth place : Novosibirsk, Russia


Posted By: JASON LOCKHART, Website Coordinator
Posted At: 12:50 pm

The Boston Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont wrote a poignant article about the Islanders' latest draft selection, Max Gratchev. Dupont discusses the death of Gratchev's mother during child birth and his ultimate arrival in North America.

To access the article, click here.


Posted By: MARIO SARACENO, Scout

Max was originally drafted by Quebec of the QMJHL, but was traded to Rimouski. He's a high-energy and intense player, who can play on either wing. He's a guy with flare. Max is a player who never takes a shift off and has good skating ability. He's someone who would play well under Ted Nolan. He developed a good scoring touch this year. Max is effective on the power play, but can also kill penalties. We're all very happy we got him. I can see him one day suiting up for the Islanders.


Jason Gregoire, Courtesy of the Lincoln Stars
With the 76th selection, the Islanders chose Lincoln Stars forward Jason Gregoire in the third round. Playing in his first season in the USHL, Gregoire posted totals of 16-20-36 in only 32 games. His +28 rating was first on the team during the regular season. Gregoire led the team with four goals in the 2007 playoffs.

Position: Forward
Shoots: Left
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 175
Date of Birth: 2-24-89
Home Town: Winnipeg, Manitoba


Posted By: KEN MORROW, Director of pro scouting

In two of the games I saw Jason, he had hat tricks, so he has some goal scoring ability. He was a very smart player and good around the net. What I liked best about Jason was that he came on at the end of the season, and consistently got better as the season progressed.

Scouting the amateurs is a whole different ballgame than watching the pros. These are guys, who we might not see play for the Islanders for another five or six years, but this kid stuck out in my mind.


Posted By: JIM HILLMAN, Scout

Jason has deceiving speed and is good around the net. He takes advantage of his opportunities because of his quick hands. I got a chance to see him play with Lincoln of the USHL and he was effective at winning the one-on-one battles at both ends of the ice. I didn't expect him to be available this late in the draft.


Mark Katic, Photo Courtesy of Sarnia Sting
With the 61st overall pick, the Islanders selected the fast-skating defenseman Mark Katic out of the OHL's Sarnia Sting. In 68 games with Sarnia in 2006-07, Katic was 5-35-40 along with a +8 rating.

His vitals:
Height:    5.11
Weight:    185
Birthdate:    1989-05-09
Hometown:    Porcupine, ON


Posted By: TIM MaCLEAN, Scout

I first saw Mark Katic this summer at the Canadian Under-18 camp. He was a really dynamic skater. Then I saw him most of the season with Sarnia as the year went on. Mark has good offensive ability and moves the puck up the ice as well. He's small but not scared to work the body. When I met him in person, he was a very nice kid. Mark is a quiet young man, but he is a quality individual.


Posted By: RYAN JANKOWSKI, Assistant General Manager/Director of Amateur Scouting

Despite being undersized, Mark is a defenseman made for the new NHL. His vision and puck ability are high end. He has good awareness and has smart playmaking ability. Mark's forte is to control the game on the rush. He is a talented puck distributor on the power play.


Posted By: JOSH BERNSTEIN, VP of Communications Posted
Posted At: 10:35 am

Last night may have been quiet on the Islanders draft front, but ITV was hopping with coverage. We interviewed Assistant GM Ryan Jankowski 4 times in the past 16 hours, and he was composed and relaxed all throughout. In this morning's "Draft Day Blog", Ryan talks about some adversity he had today, and it had nothing to do with the draft.

We are hoping to have blog updates throughout the day from Ryan, New England scout Chris O'Sullivan, and maybe even a surprise visit from one of the most important members of the dynasty team of the 80's…we'll leave his identity a mystery!  Go to Islanders TV – registration free through July – and watch for updates all day!

Garth Snow with Islanders fan Glenn at the Draft in Columbus

Posted By: COREY WITT, Media Relations Coordinator
Posted At: 9:55 am

As of  9:55 AM, the Islanders are still holding pat and won't pick until the beginning of the third round. That could always change, so stay tuned.

But that doesn't mean there hasn't been anything to write about. The early morning draft floor has been buzzing and chances are something big will still breakout somewhere in the NHL today.

While we have no news to report yet, here's our latest photo from the Island Snapshot Cam. It's Garth with Islanders fan Glenn from Riverhead. Glenn is here with his wife Claudia and flew in from the Island to watch the Islanders pick their future firsthand.

Garth Snow and Ryan Jankowski

Posted By: COREY WITT, Media Relations Coordinator
Posted At: 10:45 pm

While the Islanders didn't make a pick on Friday night in the first round, Garth, Ryan and the rest of the crew were still hard at work throughout the night.
Take a look at these inside photos from the draft table at Nationwide Arena.

Ryan Jankowski, Tony Feltrin and Ken Morrow

Posted By: CHRIS BOTTA, VP of Media Relations
Posted At: 10:20 pm

Okay, so no pick tonight, no trade of rights or anything else, no announcement of any kind. We've had plenty of loud days at the draft, so this was a quiet night. 
That said, it was a good night for hockey. The stands were packed with loud fans. The media risers were bursting at the seams. The Cherepanov and Espo scenarios added some drama (I hear they're freaking out in Montreal). The amount of coverage at the draft dwarfed the coverage at the Cup Final. Makes sense: people love player transactions.
Corey might have some pictures later tonight, maybe a note from a scout. Thanks for hanging with us. Hey, this was like the "Seinfeld" pilot -- a blog about nothing!
Maybe tomorrow.

Posted By: CHRIS BOTTA, VP of Media Relations
Posted At: 9:35 pm

Larry Brooks of the NY Post and John Dellapina of the NY Daily News are representing the local media in Columbus this week and it was worth the trip for the city tabloids. The Rangers got the super-skilled Cherepanov. Once he was passed up in the top ten, everyone in the rink was saying he'd go to the Blueshirts. Should be interesting to see how the kids pans out.
As for the Islanders, nothing doing so far. The phone rings a lot, the NYI make some calls, but nothing worth doing. One connected guy from another team told me a few minutes ago that the nature of this prime-time first round could mean the bigger trade action could come Saturday, after every team staff goes back to their hotel conference rooms and sorts things out.
If you were watching TSN, Bob McKenzie had a bit of a scoop. He said Anaheim acquired Tampa's first round pick this year so it could potentially package it at the trade deadline for Jason Blake. That didn't pan out and the Ducks moved back in the draft tonight. Since I have already challenged one TSN scoop this weekend, let's give Bob the benefit of the doubt. Besides, Brian Burke is an open book.
That's two phenoms on Pittsburgh: Esposito goes at 20 to Pittsburgh, joining Sid. He looked as pained as Brady Quinn for two hours, but now you can't wipe the smile off his face.
I know absolutely nothing. Seriously. But if the draft starts at 10:00 am tomorrow, I would suggest you don't wait until 11:00 to see how the Islanders did with their first pick in the third round. I repeat: I know nothing. I'm not even at the draft table, Corey is. Simply a hunch.

Posted By: CHRIS BOTTA, VP of Media Relations
Posted At: 7:05 pm

Random notes and thoughts on the fly while Corey and I wait and see if anything happens tonight:
John Fergie Jr. about an hour ago: "It's going to be a zoo here tonight." And that was after JFJ shook things up by adding Toskala for a hefty price.
Islanders fan club president Pierre McGuire on the Toskala deal: "It comes off as desperation."
Clearing things up a bit on my earlier post today, the report that irked me was by Darren Dreger of TSN. Darren is great for hockey, does good work and has the connections. We've traded a few emails today and I guess we'll see who ends up being right. Just because two people on two different sides disagree on a report, that doesn't mean it's personal. For the record, Darren stands by his story...
Congratulations to the city of Columbus. The excitement outside and inside the barn is tremendous...
I've been to more than a dozen drafts. JFJ was right. I've never seen so much intense chatter at the tables.


Posted At: 7:00 pm
Posted By: COREY WITT, Media Relations Coordinator

Ken Morrow and Bill Torrey
The Draft is about to get started and the draft floor is buzzing here at the Nationwide Arena. GM, coaches, scouts and management from every team are mingling. Some haven’t seen each other since the last draft. While catching up with one of my fellow PR colleagues from out west, I turned around and saw Ken Morrow and Islanders legendary GM Bill Torrey reminiscing. That was a photo opportunity that just couldn’t be passed up! The countdown is on and the excitement is mounting.  More later on. Enjoy the Draft!

- Corey


Posted At: 5:05 pm
Posted By: TIM MacLEAN, Ontario Scout

Tim MacLean
Hello Islanders fans, Tim MacLean here. I'm the Islanders' Ontario scout, meaning I scout pro and amateur players in the Ontario region, including the entire OHL. Earlier today, I went to a NHL training session to learn how to use the “draft computer” at the draft table. We use this computer to select and send in our picks to the NHL's Central Registry before they are announced. This will be my first time being on the computer on draft day, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The NHL did a great job of setting up a system that is easy to use and helps ensure that a team doesn't make a mistake and pick the wrong player. Instead of having one person explain the system to all 30 teams at once, the League had IT people working with small groups.  I paired up with a Florida scout and our instructor walked us through the whole thing.

My instructor is from Long Island, so he was very careful to ensure that I knew exactly what to do. It was great to have a fellow Islander teach me about the technology while showing a passion for the team as well.  The entire lesson took about 30 minutes and I will be looking forward to entering the names of our future Islanders this weekend.

Tim MacLean
Ontario Scout.


Posted At: 3:20 pm
Posted By: JASON LOCKHART, Website coordinator

Ken Morrow
As mentioned in my entry yesterday, the Islanders aren't scheduled to make any picks prior to the third round. However, there have been many late-round selections that have gone on to boast noteworthy NHL careers, including many on Long Island.

Let's start with some current Islanders everyone is familiar with. The backline triumvirate of Radek Martinek, Bruno Gervais and Chris Campoli were all chosen in the sixth round or later. Martinek was selected in the eighth round back in 1999. Gervais was chosen in the sixth round in 2003. Campoli was picked in the seventh round at the 2004 Entry Draft. Consider this: only four players from the 2004 Draft (Alex Ovechkin, Rostislav Olesz, Andrej Meszaros and Johan Franzen) have played in more NHL games than Campoli.

Looking back a bit further in history, the Islanders seem to have a knack for choosing future NHL defensemen late in the draft. Ken Morrow, at the draft table for the Islanders this weekend after a glorious playing career, was selected in the fourth round of the 1976 Draft. Not to be outdone was Stefan Persson, who was selected in the 14th round – 214th overall – in the 1974 Draft. And we can't forget one of the fiercest defensemen to grace the Nassau Coliseum, Rich Pilon. It took seven rounds and 143 names to be called in 1986 before the future 14-year NHL veteran was selected by the Islanders.

Some clutch performers were also bypassed in the first couple of rounds. Mr. Islander, Bobby Nystrom, was selected in Round 3 of the Islanders' inaugural Amateur Draft of 1972 (yes, there were fewer teams back then, but stay with me). Plus, the Goliath slayer, David Volek, was a tenth rounder in 1984.

So if you're thinking that NHL stars only emerge from the first or second round, just check the record books. You'll find some of the greatest players to have played the game, such as Brett Hull (Round 6), Doug Gilmour (Round 7), Jari Kurri (Round 4) and Luc Robitaille (Round 9) – to name a few – overlooked at the draft, but ultimately making an impact when it counts most.


Posted By: JOSH BERNSTEIN, VP of Communications
Posted At: 2:20 pm

An exciting day for Islanders TV is already underway. We just did the first in our series of video blogs over at the hotel. Ryan Jankowski talked about his plans for today and tomorrow, and the preparation leading up to the draft.

We hope to track down Bryan Trottier later in the day for a video blog as well. We have scouts everywhere, so we hope to interview them and give you a fresh blog every couple of hours today.

Keep logging on to Islanders TV – registration free – at

Talk to you later!


Posted By: JASON LOCKHART, Website Coordinator
Posted At: 11:30 am

Just when you thought you had all the draft coverage you would ever need with Islanders TV's behind-the-scenes access and VERSUS' televising of the first round, has also joined the party.

Starting at 6:30 pm on Friday evening and ending with the final selection of the draft on Saturday, will be streaming live video of each day's events. You'll be able to watch all 30 teams in action as they bolster their farm systems with future NHLers.

For Friday evening only, you can also listen to audio of the NHL Radio Broadcast live from Columbus. is hosting the live streams, but you can access them directly by clicking the links below.

In addition to the live streams, below you will see an updated draft selection page, where you can find the picks of all 30 teams along with information about each prospect. built in a neat function that allows you to sort the picks by a variety of categories including amateur club/league and position.

We hope you enjoy the wall-to-wall coverage of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.


Posted By: CHRIS BOTTA, VP of Media Relations
Posted At: 10:10 am

So I'm not on the ground in Columbus five minutes when I'm already getting calls about a scam.
Seems Garth made it clear to one of the Big Market GMs yesterday that he wasn't even considering moving Ryan Smyth's rights to him or anyone else in a trade, a la Hartnell/Timonen to Philadelphia. Now normally I wouldn't be able to share this info, but guess what? Turns out Garth reiterated his stance to every reporter in Columbus yesterday. He even said it to Greg Logan over the phone. Logan has it in today's Newsday.
But that didn't stop a major Canadian broadcaster -- who usually knows better and has EVERYONE'S cell numbers -- from going with a story saying Snow is "investigating" moving Ryan's rights. The journalist even goes so far as to suggest my buddy Bryan "The Can Opener" McCabe and his rather significant contract would come to the Island as part of the deal. And the "professionals" in Canada have something to say about the NYI Blog Box? LOL
I guess there could be another move in the NHL this week like Hartnell-Timonen, but isn't it pretty obvious this was kind of a special case? You know, the Preds being in no position to commit long-term...the Flyers with oodles of cap space and ownership dying to return to contention in the East ASAP...a dangling first round pick from a major trade between the two teams just three months ago...hello?
Should be a fun couple of days.


Posted By: COREY WITT, Islanders media relations coordinator
Posted At: 8:55 am

Good morning, everyone. Today is my fourth day in Columbus and the excitement in this city has been building each day as the draft nears. Every day the city is getting busier and more crowded in what is turning out to be a Who's Who of hockey. One of the great things about havig the NHL draft in a smaller town is that everywhere you walk you see someone in thegame. In a span of 15 minutes, I walked past two Western Conference GMs “casually” talking on a street corner, then shared an elevator with broadcasters Steve Coates, Eddie Olczyk and Larry Murphy.

The hockey ops staff arrived Wednesday, but I haven't seen too much of them as they've been in meetings most of the time. Some of the scouts like Tim MacLean and Jad Ramsey are experiencing their first draft from the team perspective and you can tell how excited they are to have a hand in building the future of the team.

Columbus has one of the newer rinks in the league, but the coolest part of it is their downtown arena area. There are apartments, restaurants, bars and shops all in a brick décor and all very cool. This is what the Coliseum/Lighthouse project is supposed to be like, and it's very exciting to see and hang around that area.

The first round of the draft is tonight so I'll check back in from the draft table. I should have the time, but you never know.


Posted By: CHRIS BOTTA, VP of Media Relations
Posted At: 10:45 pm

So many questions to ponder on the eve of the first round of the NHL Draft...
  • Do the Islanders stick with their two third round selections, or do they package a pair of picks to move up if one of the top kids on their draft board starts to slip to the late first round and beyond?
  • If you're at the Islanders' draft table Friday night and all day Saturday and know you'll get some TV time, do you bring two suits...or one suit with two radically different shirt-and-tie combinations? (any hockey guy who tells you he didn't think about this early this week is lying)
  • Is it too easy to assume the scouts will grab the best defenseman available with the Islanders' first pick, considering the team – Dustin Kohn aside – is a bit thin in blueline blue-chippers?
  • Did the Islanders' signing of Rick DiPietro to a 15-year deal pave the way for franchises like Philly and Florida to give out 6-year deals without batting an eye?
  • Will the Islanders make a trade involving a player on the current roster? Or will they acquire an NHL regular? Or both? Or neither?
  • Where will Islanders royalty Brandon Sutter (son of Brent) and Colton Gillies (nephew of Clark) end up?
  • How far will former hotshot prospect Angelo Esposito fall, and is there any doubt just about every team that passes on him will have some explaining to do in a few years?
  • If the Islanders stand pat and use their first pick in the third round, will Ryan Jankowski have the guts to say, "This is the player we would have taken if we had a first round pick"?


Posted By: COREY WITT, Media Relations coordinator
Posted At: 9:50 pm

Here are my first shots with our new fancy camera...

Click here for Corey's Snapshots - DRAFT 2007 - Day 1 Photo Gallery.


Posted By: RYAN JANKOWSKI, Islanders Assistant GM
Posted At: 6:40 pm

Jankowski interviews one of many draft prospects Thursday morning at the team's draft headquarters.
Our staff started rolling in on Wednesday. Amidst delays and lost luggage we were still able to enjoy a summer evening together for dinner and some laughs before the work began on Thursday.

Thursday morning we met for breakfast and had meetings but not in a traditional group format. Our meetings were more 1vs1 with scouts from each area as we gathered final opinions on the later names on our list.  In this case, most of the work was done earlier in the month when we held our scouts meetings on Long Island to form the Islanders draft list. We use these few days before the draft to fine-tune our list based on any further information we have found in the past two weeks and raise any questions since we last met about our list.

Thursday afternoon we had some player interviews with players who did not attend the NHL Draft Combine in Toronto.  It is only 20-30 minutes with each player but it gives us a chance to get a snapshot of personality and character.  Our scouting staff has spent all winter and spring researching these players on and off the ice so we have an idea of what the player is going to be like. However, you can never pass up an opportunity to put a face with the name and at least visit with these young men for a little while leading up to their big day.

Thursday evening we did our annual scouts dinner.  This was the first draft scouts dinner for Garth Snow and he took over in fine form from where Mike Milbury left off.  Mike always did up a nice night to show the appreciation to the scouts and this year was no different.  The night was lots of laughs as each scout takes turns telling old and new stories. With our scouts spread out all over the hockey world, it's a rare chance for the whole staff to be together and bond.   Although our staff comes from all over the world and have a variety of experiences we all share in a common goal and bridge the distance from each other to perform as a team.

On Friday morning we will meet once again for breakfast and fine-tune the list a little bit more individually.  We will have another player interview, this time a second interview with a player we had already met at the combine.  We decided to call him in as a follow-up to ask a few more details and try to narrow down some more information.

At the same time throughout the week, we are also working with our pro scouts finalizing details as we get closer to July 1.  We also had very good meetings with them earlier this month on Long Island but this also gives Garth, Ken Morrow, Ted Nolan and staff a chance to throw around a few more names as we target Free Agency. 

At 1pm tomorrow we are going to meet as a group to go over exactly what is going to happen Friday in round 1 and Saturday in round 2 and on.  This is to ensure everyone is on the same page.

We are going to have all but three of our amateur scouts at the table with us.  I will be relying mostly on Tony Feltrin, whom I look to for guidance as he has masterfully guided us through this day many times in the past, as well Vellu Kautonen who is our main voice in Europe along with Anders Kallur.  On the North American side Mario Saraceno has been with us for more than 25 drafts and brings a strong voice to the table along with newcomer Chris O'Sullivan, who knows the New England draft eligible players.

Ken Morrow is in his first NHL draft from an amateur standpoint.  Although Kenny is mostly heard on the Pro side, he scouted games in the USHL and College for us and his input is very valuable.  Tim MacLean, after attending 10 drafts in his former position with Red Line Report, is for the first time at an NHL table and is our voice in Ontario where he did an outstanding job.  Jim Hillman brings knowledge of the USHL and Minnesota High Schools to the staff will also sit at the table.  Matthew Smith, Marc Leblanc and Al MacPherson – our scouts in Boston, the Maritimes and Western Canada respectively – will be a phone call or instant message away for their vital recommendations.

The staff will reconvene Friday after round 1 and discuss  any surprises from day one and who is there starting at pick 31 on Saturday morning. This will give Garth an opportunity to hear the scouts – should a 2nd round pick possibly be available for us.

The excitement has been built up over the winter and now as we are only hours away from draft day 2007.  People ask how you have prepared given we do not currently pick in the first two rounds.  Our scouting philosophy does not change because of this. We are just as prepared as if we had a top-10 pick.  We as a staff always have to be ready.  Should it not, it is just as exciting to have 5 picks and puts just as much pressure on us to land future Islanders.  The scouts want to make a difference and build the core of the Islanders from within. This weekend is our time to do that. 


Posted By: Josh Bernstein, Islanders VP, Communications
Posted At: 5:25 pm

Hey folks. I am at the league broadcasting meetings.

Lots of buzz about the impact that Islanders TV is having on the way other teams look at their media coverage.

We have a ton of great stuff planned for this weekend at the draft.  Garth has been good enough to let us put a microphone on him at the draft table. That will be good stuff. 

Also our Assistant GM Ryan Jankowski is going to do a video blog all weekend.  He's very sharp and good in front of the camera, so I am looking forward to that.

Don't forget: Islanders TV Preview, sans registration, starts Friday.

Gotta run...The Commish is about to speak at our meeting!

I'll blog more later.


Posted By: CHRIS BOTTA, VP, Media Relations
Posted At: 5:20 pm

Quirky Newsday sports media columnist Neil Best reports this afternoon in his WatchDog blog here  that our dear friend and colleague Mike Milbury may be up for the spot vacated by Brett Hull on NBC. This would be good for too many reasons to list.

In his blog, Best calls on this team website and other Islanders fan boards to link his blog in a rather sad attempt to boost his hits stats to Greg Logan-ian proportions. That will never happen, but we're happy to help out. Neil never resists a jab at the Islanders' place on the sports planet, but he has given some pump over the last year to our various cockamamie ideas, most recently the NYI Blog Box.

Hope this helps, Neil. And while you're at it, Islanders fans, please contribute to the Comments section. Wouldn't want Neil to think only Mrs. Best reads the thing.


Posted At: 4:00 pm
Posted By: BRYAN TROTTIER, Executive Director of Player Development

Bryan Trottier
Draft weekend is always exciting. I remember my draft in 1974 very well. I was in an interesting position because I had already been drafted by Cincinnati of the WHA and they had offered a lucrative contract to keep me from entering the NHL Amateur Draft. The offer was more than my family had ever had - $500,000 over ten years – but I decided to take my chances with the NHL Draft.

The Draft back then didn't have the hype and exposure it does now. Instead of waiting in the stands at some arena, I was sitting at home by the phone. When I received the call I was very excited to hear I had been chosen by the Islanders in the second round behind Clark Gillies.

The two of us flew to Montreal to sign our first contracts, which weren't that much in terms of base salary, but the signing bonus of $250,000 was more than enough for me! It was in Montreal that I met Bill Torrey, Al Arbour and Aut Erickson, who made the initial call. It was a great day with my mom and dad on hand to witness the signing.

One thing that I really appreciated about the Islanders was their patience with me. I was a little intimidated to jump right into the NHL so they were very encouraging about my returning to juniors. That extra year in juniors paid off in the long run.

At the time of my signing, I didn't know a great deal about the Islanders so I tried to find out as much about them as possible. Since I grew up in Canada I initially had hoped to be selected by a Canadian team, but I made it my mission to find a new identity with the Islanders. Thirty-three years later, I don't think things could have worked out any better.

Now as the director of player development, it's a new excitement being able to contribute to the growth of the Islanders' future. The enthusiasm and focus from our prospects over the past year has been exactly what I expected. That's been the most rewarding part.

I had the opportunity at last year's prospect camp to introduce the kids to the organization and Long Island. They were like sponges so I had to be mindful about what I said and the way in which I said things.

A year later, I'm hoping to see how well these kids have grown and matured, physically as well as mentally. It's important that they not only develop their skills on the ice, but also off the ice. It's important that they blend with their peers and their surroundings.  But it's vital to not rush these kids. Every player progresses at his own pace.

Now that I have a year under my belt, I will be spending more time with our prospects at Bridgeport, working with the Islanders and Sound Tigers coaching staff to ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of development. It's exciting to see the future of our team knocking on the door.


Posted At: 3:15 pm
Posted By: JASON LOCKHART, Website Coordinator

Order of Islanders Draft Picks

Round        Overall
3                 62 or 63
3                    76
4                   106
6                   166
7                   196

Hey Islanders Country,

It's Jason Lockhart here with all you need to know about the Islanders' five scheduled selections – so far, as of mid-day Thursday – at this year's NHL Entry Draft in Columbus, held on Friday and Saturday.

As you already may know, the Islanders aren't slated to start drafting until the third round due to trade deadlines moves for Ryan Smyth and Richard Zednik. That means Friday SHOULD be quiet, with only Round 1 being completed on the first day. But if you want to be caught up on all the proceedings going on Saturday, get that coffee started early because the draft begins at 10 am.

The Islanders' first selection comes right at the beginning of the third round. Through the Freddy Meyer-Alexei Zhitnik trade, the Islanders acquired a third-round pick. The Islanders are scheduled to make their first selection either in the 62nd spot – the first selection in the third round – or the 63rd. Sources tell me it will be the 62nd.

After that, it's pretty straight-forward. The Islanders retained their original third round pick in the 76th position and the 106th selection in Round 4. From there, the Islanders miss the fifth round due to the Janne Niinimaa-John Erskine trade with Dallas last season, but pick back up in the sixth (166th) and seventh (196th) rounds.

The five scheduled selections would be the fewest in Islanders history at a single draft. The lowest total prior to this season was in 1976, when the Islanders made six selections. But clearly it's quality over quantity, considering the Islanders' fourth round selection in 1976 was an unassuming defenseman named Ken Morrow.

It may seem like Rounds 2-7 will take forever, but consider each team has only two minutes to make their selection. And unlike the first round, there's no big to-do with bringing the players up on stage and taking countless photographs.

For those of you interested in catching the first round on Friday, you can watch it on VERSUS starting at 6:30 pm.

Keep checking back to the “48 Hours in Columbus” blog for up-to-the minute updates from the draft in Columbus. It's draft weekend, so you never know…

Thursday, 2:10 pm: GARTH SNOW, Islanders general manager

Greetings from Ohio, Islanders fans. Welcome to "48 Hours in Columbus," our web staff's desperate attempt to come up with something original for our draft coverage on the team website. Just kidding.

The staff asked me to kick this thing off with a note and I'm happy to do so. I'm excited to be part of my first draft as general manager of the Islanders. Sometimes the NHL draft is the start of someone's tenure as a GM, but for me it's kind of the end of my first season. The good thing is that I've been through a full season, been to all of the GMs meetings, know all the agents and have all the contacts I need.

Most importantly, we have a scouting staff we really believe in. I'm excited for them because after watching more than 2,000 games the next two days is their time to shine. I have complete confidence they'll do a great job finding players we'll all be proud to call New York Islanders.

I guess the level of interest in this Draft Diary will be determined partly by what happens with our team. I'll do my best to make things interesting, but as of mid-day Thursday, probably no one could tell you what's going to come down. We've talked about a lot of things, taken our fair share of calls. Right now our first pick is in the third round. But that could always change one way or another. Stay tuned.

No matter what happens, this is the only place you have to go as an Islander fan to get the whole story. Ryan Jankowski, our assistant GM who oversees the draft, will contribute to this space when he has the rare free moment. Jason Lockhart will write about each of our draft selections, including analysis directly from the scout(s) who recommended the players. Corey Witt will have some insight into all the action in Columbus, and if he can figure out how to use his new digital camera will also post some behind-the-scenes photos. Chris Botta will try to break a scoop or two. There will also likely be some surprise contributions from citizens of Islanders Country more well-known than those three.

Thanks for checking in and for being such great fans. Enjoy "48 Hours in Columbus" and all of draft weekend. I guarantee it will be more fun than Yankees-Giants and Mets-A's.


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