At the 2009 draft, the New York Islanders picked twice in the top half of the first round. Here’s the story on how they got that second first-rounder.
Leading up to the 2009 NHL draft, the New York Islanders already had the first overall pick but GM Garth Snow wanted more and would eventually move way up to 12th overall and select defenseman Calvin de Haan.
According to Snow, his scouting staff made the case for drafting Calvin de Haan so Garth moved up to get him. Calvin de Haan was ranked as the 25th skater in North America. Just getting into the first round, even if late in the first round may have been enough to get de Haan.
But as we know, the Islanders got that extra first-round pick and then moved up twice to select the defenseman. Here’s how Garth did it.
First off, this isn’t a typical trade tree. Usually, a trade tree starts from one player and then branches out with each subsequent transaction his trade lead to. But for this, we’re going backward. We’re going to start from the bottom of the branches and work our way up to Calvin de Haan.
Here are the picks Garth picked up before the 2009 draft:
Piece 1 – Trade down in 2008
At the 2008 draft, the New York Islanders held the fifth overall pick. They would trade that pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs and get the seventh overall pick in 2008, the 68th overall pick in 2008, and a second-round pick in 2009 (37th overall).
Piece 2 – Bye Mike and Chris
Now, armed with a second first-rounder, the Islanders got about their business of moving up at draft to take the defender they wanted.
Moving up Ten Spots
Garth found a willing trade partner to move up in the draft with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He sent them that first-rounder (26th overall) he got from Ottawa, that second-rounder (37th overall) he got from Toronto at the 2008 draft, and his own third and fourth-round picks (62 and 92 OVR) to move up ten spots. He also got a third (77th OVR) back from Columbus in the deal.
Garth was just outside of the top-half and wanted to move down further to secure de Haan.
The Islanders probably could have picked de Haan with the 16th overall pick. Again, the NHL’s final rankings had de Haan ranked as the 25th skater in North America. But Garth must have feared another GM would beat him to de Haan (like Florida who took Dmitri Kulikov) so he moved up again.
Moving Up Four Spots
Garth sent the16th overall and 77th overall picks he just got from Columbus as well as the Islanders seventh-round pick (182nd overall) to move up four spots and get the 12th overall pick.
And there, with the 12th overall pick, Garth Snow got Calvin de Haan. It was a bit of a stretch to take de Haan at 12 overall, but then again, Florida did pick a defenseman with the 14th overall pick. de Haan turned into a pretty good NHL caliber defender so it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch now.
But there’s one more wrinkle that I wanted to highlight here.
PS: Nokelainen to Boston
By moving up from 26 to 16, the Islanders sent their third-round pick (62nd overall) and their fourth-round pick (92nd overall) in the draft to Columbus. On the second day of the draft, Garth would get those picks back by making another deal with Columbus.
He sent a second-rounder (56th overall) to the Blue Jackets for the safe return of the Islanders own third and fourth-round picks:
The condition on the pick was if Nokelainen played 50 games in 2007-08, the Isles would get the pick. Nokelainen played 57 games and secured Boston’s second in 2009 for the Islanders.
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Garth Snow put in quite a shift at the 2009 draft to stockpile as much talent as he could get his hands on. Overall he wasn’t a great GM, but on occasion, like in June of 2009, Garth Snow could make it seem like he knew what he was doing.