New York Islanders Pros And Cons(ish) of Winning 2018 NHL Lottery Draft
Pro of Winning Draft Lottery
Obviously, winning the 2018 NHL draft lottery has a massive positive. The New York Islanders get to draft a potential generational Swedish defenseman. That’s the best type of generational defenseman you can get today! Nikolas Lindstrom, Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman, all Swedish.
Winning the draft gives the Islanders a nice injection of relevance in a league where they get no respect at all. (Something tells me Rodney Dangerfield would have been a big fan of the Isles.)
That’s the obvious positive. The not so obvious positive is what this does to the roster.
What does drafting a generational defenseman do to the likely hood of keeping John Tavares on the roster? The easy answer is “much better than without”. The one element the Islanders desperately need for 2018-19 is a defense that makes sense. A defense that works. And Tavares knows that.
Adding Rasmus Dahlin to the team helps that issue, big time. Dahlin doesn’t play a big tough physical style, like say Johnny Boychuk, but his silky smooth skating and incredible hockey sense allow him to get the puck out of the zone and going the other way like no other.
That skill set was the Islanders number one problem last season. They couldn’t exit the zone or breakup play often enough to reduce scoring chances and the other 30 teams in the league punished them for it.
In terms of the defensive pairings getting Dahlin would allow the Islanders to ice a more balanced roster without having to overpay via trade or in free agency:
Pair 1: Leddy – Pulock
Pair 2: Dahlin – Boychuk
Pair 3: Toews – Mayfield
Extra: Pelech, Hickey
Assuming the Isles keep Tavares, their incredibly productive top six will return completely intact for 2018-19. Adding this more balanced defensive pairing with Dahlin should place them in playoff territory next season.