As predicted, the Islanders house cleaning has already begun with the departure of team captain Trevor Linden to the Canadiens for the 10th overall pick. Linden didn’t produce on Long Island and this move frees up space down the middle. With two top ten picks for the second time in three years the Isles are expected to take a couple of forwards to bolster their goal scoring. At the 5 spot they are likely to pick one of two centerman, Jamie Lundmark or Kris Beech. It is reported that Milbury favors Beech’s size, speed, and two way game despite Lundmarks greater upside. At the 10th position the Isles will most likely selesct one of two wingers, Jani Rita or Taylor Pyatt. Pyatt is a huge left winger, however unlike Rupp he can actually score and is perhaps the fastest player in the draft. He won the CHL All-Stars lap skating competition with a faster time than Rico fata did last year. Jani Rita is also a likely possibilty if he is available at the 10th pick. He is a big fast right winger who plays a power game, however some question his scoring ability.
There is also a strong possibilty that the Isles will use the 5th and 10th pick to move up to select one of the draft premier prospcts and have already spoken with Tampa Bay and Atlanta about improving their draft position. More changes are in the winds with the Isles and veterans Rich Pilon, Bryan Smolinksi, and Mariusz Czerkawski seem almost certain to have new adresses by the season opener as budget slashing continues. Not even Palffy is safe from cuts as Milbury is also looking to drop his $5 million plus salary. Any further trades will be sure to include either draft picks or other yound prospects.
In other news the Isles recently signed Petr Mika, the Czech Republic’s leading scorer at this years WJC. he is expected to start next year in the AHL. Speaking of the Isles farm team, the Lowell Lock Monsters have officialy severed ties with the Islanders and are to be affiliated with the Los Angeles Kings. The Islanders are allowed only five players at Lowell next year and then the association will be completely dissolved. Lowell cited the Islanders lack of players to provide as the reason for their decision.