|The last time the Islanders' drafted a goalie in the 1st round|
may be enough to make you say no to a goalie,
13 years later.
Anyways, we have had a lot of discussion concerning the short-term and long-term future in the crease for the New York Islanders. Evgeni Nabokov may possibly be on his way off of the Island. Even if he re-signs, some fans take issue because: 1) he didn't perform well in the playoffs against a power-house Pittsburgh team (but, neither did Craig Anderson), and 2) he's going to be 38 years old.
In the system, Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson, once considered to be the future in goal, still have much developing to do before they can be considered as options in net. Outside of Poulin and Nilsson, Mikko Koskinen is playing in Finland, but he, too, may be a few years away from being NHL-ready.
Unfortunately, Cody Rosen never panned out (ha), and Tim Thomas is never going to play hockey in an Islanders' sweater.
With the Islanders' goaltending situation murky, I took the time to evaluate Zachary Fucale, the starting goaltender for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. Fucale led the Mooseheads to a President's Cup this season, and is slated to play in the MasterCard Memorial Cup Finals tomorrow against the Portland Winterhawks. I received some interesting feedback.
For this Saturday's discussion, let me ask you: With the Islanders' future in goal unclear, would you draft a goalie in the first round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft?
Once upon a time, Kevin Poulin was touted by Patrick Roy as the best goaltender in the Canadian Hockey League. It appeared the Islanders found a steal in the 5th round of the 2008 Draft, and Poulin would further the excitement when he made his debut in 2011, posting a .924 save percentage in ten games before falling to a freak injury.
Anders Nilsson stole our attention in 2012. At 6'6, Nilsson took up a lot of the net and proved to be the most fundamentally sound out of the two Bridgeport goaltenders. His registered his first NHL shutout, and came within one minute of earning his second consecutive shutout against the New Jersey Devils.
Unfortunately, both goalies appeared to struggle in 2013. Kevin Poulin played behind a shoddy defense in Bridgeport until he sat on the bench as the back-up to Nabokov for the better part of March and April for the New York Islanders. Anders Nilsson missed most of the 2012-13 AHL season after suffering from a mystery illness, which turned out to be a lack of B-12.
We all want it to work out with both of these prospects, but there's no denying that the 2013 season was a setback. What was once considered a possible long-term goaltending tandem for the New York Islanders, Poulin and Nilsson cannot be considered a sure-fire scenario anymore.
In my opinion, that opens a major hole within the Islanders' organization, as Nabby, or any of his possible replacements aren't exactly the definition of youth. Sure, the Islanders may be able to pull off a trade for a goalie (cough, Jonathan Bernier), but the assets within the organization are not my assets to play with. Maybe Garth Snow doesn't desire to move one of his big-three prospects for a goaltender. Perhaps Garth doesn't want to give up a first-round pick either, especially since this year's draft is particularly deep. Well, if that happens to be the case, the Islanders are in major need of a goaltender for the future. Why not start building towards one now, right?
I know how Garth operates at the draft, and the mantra is correct. You draft the best player available, regardless of the position. What happens if the best player available happens to be Zachary Fucale, or maybe another goaltender?
In my Fucale piece, I received several comments mentioning that the Isles' should want nothing to do with a goalie in the first round. Others have raved about Fucale, hoping the athletically-gifted kid drops to the Islanders. Of course, if they do draft a goalie, you have to give him a few years to develop, but wouldn't it be worth it in the long-term?
What say you, Isles fans? With the holes on this Islander's squad, would you take a goalie in the first round of the NHL Draft with the 15th-overall pick? I would.
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!