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New York Islanders Cloudy History in NHL Draft Lottery Era

NEW YORK - JULY 22: National Hockey League Executive Vice President Bill Daly (L) presides over the NHL draft lottery with Joe Crotty (C) of Ernst
NEW YORK - JULY 22: National Hockey League Executive Vice President Bill Daly (L) presides over the NHL draft lottery with Joe Crotty (C) of Ernst /
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BUFFALO, NY – JUNE 24: Kieffer Bellows celebrates with the New York Islanders after being selected 19th during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY – JUNE 24: Kieffer Bellows celebrates with the New York Islanders after being selected 19th during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Pre-Tavares Era: 2005-2008

The Islanders History Within the “Era”:
2005: One ball in the sweepstakes for Sidney Crosby, Finished 15th in NHL. Record: 38-29-11
2006: 4.7% chance, Drafted 7th (Kyle Okposo). Finished 24th in NHL. Record: 36-40-6
2007: No lottery 40-30-12 made playoffs
2008: Drafted 9th (Josh Bailey). Finished 26th in NHL 35-28-9

From 2005 to 2008 the New York Islanders had a chance at the first overall pick on three separate occasions. Although to be fair, every team in the league had a chance at landing Sidney Crosby at number one in 2005.

Through these four seasons, the Islanders are, of course, out of the playoff picture longer than they’re in it. Twice they finish in the bottom fifth of the league and twice above that. Meaning they get two chances to add a decent prospect to their system, in 2006 and in 2008.

In both of those years they don’t win the draft, but with a 4.7 percent chance in 2006 and a 2.5 percent chance in 2008, they weren’t likely going to draft first anyways. Instead, they drafted seventh and ninth. Picks they used to get Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey respectively.

Both turned out to be good picks. One just bloomed much later than the other (looking at you Josh Bailey). But you can’t say there was an overall strategy to the Islanders. They approached every year like they had a chance to make the postseason. And they made good on that chance twice. And when they didn’t they didn’t. They rolled with the punches.

Which isn’t a good approach. You don’t want to be a passenger on the wings of history. The organization should proactively put a strategy in place that could bring sustained success, year-over-year.

And that’s seemingly what new GM Garth Snow seemed to do in the years from 2009 to 2012.

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