The euphoria at Nassau Coliseum could be heard all the way up in Montreal. On a day where the Islanders were the most relevant team in all of sports, they made the most of the moment.
The Islanders selected John Tavares
with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, held at the Bell Centre on Friday night. Tavares was the top prospect according to nearly every scouting service.
“Our goal was to find the best player in this draft that will become an integral piece to us winning a Stanley Cup,” Snow said. “John has been a game-breaking type of player at every level he has played and will add a scoring touch to our lineup.”
After the pick was announced, applause broke out in Montreal—and pandemonium broke out in Uniondale—where upwards of 10,000 fans gathered at the Coliseum for the Islanders Draft Party.
As Snow stepped to the microphone, Islanders Country fell completely silent. By the time the name had left Snow’s lips, two buildings—331-miles apart—were filled with cheering, applause and screams of joy. Throughout the past several months, Islanders fans made it well known who they wanted the team to select. After the pick, the party was on.
"There's a great tradition there," Tavares said, who was told about the 10,000+ fans at the Coliseum. "I'm very thankful to be going there and I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of Long Island. It's going to be a great future for all of us."
Tavares, the 19-year-old center from Mississauga, Ontario, played in 247 career Ontario Hockey League games over four seasons, compiling 215 goals and 218 assists for 433 points. He also played in 38 career playoff games, recording 20 goals and 56 total points.
In 2008-09, Tavares led the OHL in goals (58) and points (104). He scored 50 points (32-18-50) in 24 games after being traded to London during the middle of the season. Tavares also finished ninth in the OHL in playoff scoring with 21 points (10-11-21). His six power-play goals in 14 playoff games tied for the league lead.
Tavares won back-to-back gold medals with Team Canada at the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Championships. He had 15 points (8-7-15) at the 2009 Tournament to be named World Junior MVP and World Junior Top Forward. Tavares’ career World Junior goal total of 12 ties him with Eric Lindros and Jeff Carter for most goals in a career by a Canadian at the World Junior Championships. In total, Tavares has 20 points (12-8-20) in 13 career World Junior Championship games.
Tavares becomes the fourth overall No. 1 pick selected by the Islanders. In 2000, the Isles took goaltender Rick DiPietro
first overall; In 1973 defenseman Denis Potvin was the top pick and in 1972 they selected forward Billy Harris.