With a 34-37-11 record (79 points), the New York Islanders finished 26th out of 30 teams. Back in 2010 winning the draft lottery meant a team could only move up four sports. As the fifth-worst team, the Isles were one of the few teams that could win and still claim the first overall pick.
The other teams (and their odds of winning) were: Edmonton (25%), Toronto (18.8%), Florida (14.2%), and Columbus (10.7%). The Islanders had an 8.1% chance of moving up.
The second and third overall picks were not yet part of the lottery.
The top prize that year was a toss-up between Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall. Seguin was the top rater player based on the NHL’s Central Scouting. With the Isles selecting center John Tavares in 2009, it would make sense that they’d pick Hall if they won.
As we know, Edmonton won the lottery and selected Hall. The Isles would keep the fifth overall pick and take winger Nino Niederreiter. We all know how that went.
Modern draft lottery:
Winners – 2nd, 1st, 4th
In this simulation, the Islanders would move up a spot to pick third. Erik Gudbransson was the third overall pick in 2010. I don’t know if this is better or not? Gudbransson is an OK third pair defenseman. Nino is a top-six forward…although not with the Isles.
I’m not sure which pick would have been better for the Isles? Getting Nino should have been exactly what the Isles needed. But the Isles did everything in their power to alienate him. Getting a bottom pair D in Gudbransson doesn’t move the needle forward for the Islanders.