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Islanders use glut of picks to restock system

by Brian Compton / NHL.com

OTTAWA -- The New York Islanders could have gone the route most expected and drafted Nikita Filatov with the No. 5 selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, but General Manager Garth Snow had other intentions.

Wanting to re-stock the franchise's system, Snow accumulated a total of six picks during the next two rounds and believes he came away with some solid players.

After taking Joshua Bailey with the No. 9 pick Friday night, Snow took another center with his second selection, Corey Trivino, at No. 36. Trivino will attend Boston University this fall.

Snow followed that up by selecting offensive defenseman Aaron Ness at No. 40 before grabbing stay-at-home defenseman Travis Hamonic at No. 53.

By making trades Friday night with both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators, the Isles were able to grab the player they wanted in Round 1, while stockpiling picks for Round 2 at the same time.
   
"We identified Josh and had a feeling he'd drop down a few slots, so we acquired a few second-round draft picks," Snow said. "It's a deep draft, so those are good assets for us to have to help build the foundation to win a Stanley Cup."
   
Some fans were upset that the Islanders -- who originally had the No. 5 pick -- passed on selecting skilled Russian forward Nikita Filatov. But Ryan Jankowski, the assistant GM and director of amateur scouting, believes the negative reaction on Long Island will turn into a positive one before too long.
   
"We take the best player, and we felt Josh Bailey was it," Jankowski said in an exclusive interview with NHL.com. "Josh is a tremendous player. The fans will come to appreciate him very much on Long Island."
   
Snow's regime thus far has certainly centered around character and grit. With the selection of Bailey, the GM is confident the trend continued this weekend at Scotiabank Place.  

"Josh (Bailey) is a tremendous player. The fans will come to appreciate him very much on Long Island."
-- Islanders Assistant GM Ryan Jankowski

"(Bailey) is a very smart player," Snow said. "He makes his wingers better. He's a high-character kid. I know our fans are going to love having him in an Islander uniform."
   
With Bailey already in the fold Friday night, the Isles began re-tooling the farm system Saturday.

Trivino, who turned 18 on Jan. 12, had 24 goals and 34 assists for the Stouffville Spirit this season. He also scored four goals for Team Canada at the Under-18 Tournament, helping his country take home the gold medal.
   
"The Islanders have a great organization," Trivino said. "It's a dream come true. I look forward to playing there one day and contributing the best I can. It looks like the Islanders are going to try to get the young players out there, so I think it's a perfect match."
   
Trivino is slated to get to BU next month to begin preparing for his freshman year. He's hoping to make a name for himself as soon as the puck drops.
   
"I'm going there in July and take a couple of courses," Trivino said. "I'm going to try to get bigger and stronger before the season starts. I want to become an impact player right away."

Ness came next at No. 40. Just as current Islanders forward Kyle Okposo did, Ness -- who scored 25 goals for Roseau High School in his native Minnesota -- will attend the University of Minnesota next semester.

He was asked how long he believes he'll play at Minnesota, where Okposo left during his sophomore season after signing with the Isles.
   
"As long as it takes," Ness said. "Whenever they feel I'm ready and I feel I'm ready, let's get going. I'll take that as it comes."
   
In the meantime, Ness is simply excited about being one of several high picks by the Isles.
   
"I know some of the guys who have been drafted," Ness said. "It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it. It should be a little different than Roseau, Minnesota."
     
With their third pick of the second round, the Islanders selected Hamonic out of Moose Jaw in the Western Hockey League. Hamonic racked up 101 penalty minutes for the Warriors last season and had 22 points in 61 games. He also won gold with Team Canada at the Under-18 Championships in 2008.
   
The stockpiling of picks by the Islanders continued throughout the afternoon, including the selection of David Toews in Round 3.

Toews -- the younger brother of Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews -- had 100 points for Shattuck-St. Mary's High School this season. He will play at the University of North Dakota next season. 

In the end, though, their ability to select three times in the second round of this deep draft could be the start of something big on Long Island.
   
"Trivino's a skilled forward, and he's a centerman who gives us good depth down the middle after getting Bailey," Jankowski said. "He's going to Boston University, so we know he's going to improve there. Ness is a puck-moving defenseman -- a guy that's perfect for the new game. He's tremendously skilled. Travis Hamonic gives us some depth on the defensive side. He brings grit and he's more of the stay-at-home, punishment-type defenseman that we were looking for as well."
   
When the final pick was made on Saturday afternoon, Islanders coach Ted Nolan was all smiles. Just like his colleagues, Nolan believes his club came away with a nice haul from this draft.
   
"Down the road, some of these kids could fit in very nicely," Nolan said. "If you hit two or three or four or five out of the mix, (then) that would be a great draft. All these kids have an opportunity now, and that's all they're asking."           
     
Jankowski seemed proud of what he and the team's scouting staff were able to accomplish on a weekend that saw the Islanders make a whopping 13 selections.
   
"It was great. We got a lot of picks," Jankowski said. "We stockpiled a lot of assets with our second- and third-rounders especially. We feel that we got a tremendous player in Josh Bailey, so overall, we're thrilled."

Contact Brian Compton at: bcompton@nhl.com.





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