By John Vogl
This hasn't been the Islanders' season, and things are getting worse by the minute for New York. That will have an effect on the Sabres' next two drafts.
Isles captain John Tavares will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered at the Olympics, Newsday reported today. The star center tore the medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee during Canada's 2-1 victory over Latvia on Wednesday, according to the newspaper. The final diagnosis will come when Tavares returns to North America, but it won't take that long to calculate the Islanders' fortunes.
Without Tavares, they're done. New York is in 25th in the 30-team NHL and 12 points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Fellow point-producers Thomas Vanek and Andrew MacDonald, pending free agents, are expected to be moved prior to the March 5 trade deadline. The chances of New York making a run are nearly nil.
The Sabres are scheduled to have the Islanders' first-round pick in June's draft, but New York has the option of deferring until 2015. If the Isles finish with a top-five pick, the odds of them keeping the selection are good.
The Sabres are hoping to rebuild quicker than originally planned, so two top-five picks this year would be welcomed. However, superstar-in-the-making Connor McDavid headlines the 2015 draft class, so additional first-round selections next year -- and additional chances at winning the draft lottery -- could be a good thing.
The Sabres told The News today that New York doesn't have to decide which pick to give Buffalo until after the draft lottery.
taggedNHL Entry Draft