Granted, drafting in the NHL can be a crapshoot at best. Attempting to predict which superb minor league prospect will be an All Star in the big league (Sidney Crosby notwithstanding) is a task that is as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack sometimes.
However, the best teams in NHL history have always used the draft wisely, holding on to to their best prospects until they had matured and could contribute. This process may take some time, but if the draft homework is done properly, it can pay off with huge dividends.
The former Islanders GM, Mad Mike Milbury, didn't see things that way. His rash decisions regarding prospects became a boon for other NHL teams. His rationale bordered on the bizarre and I've often wondered if he didn't play just one year too many without a helmet.
Below is a list of an entire team comprised of Islander Draft picks from the last 16 years. Try not to get ill as you peruse what COULD have been.
C1: Jason Spezza
LW1: Todd Bertuzzi
RW1: Ziggy Palffy
D1: Wade Redden
D1: Zdeno Chara
G: Roberto Luongo
C2: Tim Connolly
LW2: Raffi Torres
RW2: J.P Dumont
D2: Bryan McCabe
D2: Eric Brewer
G2: Rick DiPietro
C3: Andreas Johansson
LW3: Taylor Pyatt
RW3: Juraj Kolnik
D3: Brad Lukowich
D3: Dick Tarnstrom
G3: Tommy Salo
A first line of Spezza, Bertuzzi and Palffy? Luongo as the starting goalie backed up by DP? Redden and Chara as first line d-men?
Excuse me while I chug the Pepto Bismol straight out of the imaginary Stanley Cup we would've won around 2003 with this lineup.
Garth Snow should take heed: His last trade involved sending Nilsson, O'Marra and and a first round pick to Edmonton for Ryan Smyth....great player, but I've attended more Islander-Ranger games at MSG in the last 10 years than he played in a Islander uniform.
Whitney Houston was right: The children ARE our future.
Don't trade away the prospects and you won't have to go crazy overpaying free agents.