Can Comparisons Be Made Between the Oilers and the Tavares/Islanders Drama?

Just last year the talk of the NHL entry draft was who the New York Islanders would take as their first overall selection. Going back even as far as two years before that particular draft, John Tavares was positioned as the consensus easy choice.

A Brief History

One year prior to Tavares actually being drafted, Tavares was the talk of the rookie crop. Just shy age wise of entering the draft with most of his teammates, it was a newsworthy item that Tavares and his supporters were trying to bend a few rules to make him draft eligible before his age would technically allow him to be drafted.

He was good enough at that time to be considered a top draft selection and he watched as players he knew quite well got to enter the NHL while he, just a little too young, had to wait another full year. At the time, Tavares' age was big news.

As his new junior league season started, Tavares was still leading the pack coming into the draft. Unfortunately for Tavares, who stayed about the same in terms of his talent level, his status quo play made room for players like defenceman Victor Hedman from Sweden and forward Matt Duchene (who eventually went third overall that year). Each gained ground in the debate about who really should go first overall and each player had their supporters.

For the New York Islanders, drafting first overall was a huge deal. The city and the team needed something to get the fans involved. The speculation and buzz surrounding John Tavares did just that and Islander fans flocked out like they hadn't in years, all excited about what adding a franchise player like John Tavares could do for their team and hockey on Long Island.

The problem? No one knew for sure that Islanders GM Garth Snow - who in the past was known for what some might call odd choices - was actually going to take Tavares. Many in the know and experts who made up countless mock drafts believed Tavares to be the guy, but few could give a definitive guarantee. By the time of the draft, many couldn't actually decide if Snow had settled on his choice or not and quite a few predicted Snow to go a different direction.

Of course, back on Long Island the team and the city patiently waited and created an atmosphere like Islander fans hadn't seen in a very very long time. Tavares signs were everywhere, jersey's had been purchased, and the arena was full of fans just waiting for the Islanders to announce John Tavares as the newest member of their professional hockey club.

Fast Forward to Today

The Edmonton Oilers sent an email to fans letting them know they'd be holding a draft party at Rexall Place. For $5, fans could come watch as the Oil make for the first time in franchise history, the number one selection at this years draft.

Is it me, or does the less than one year old situation with the Islanders bare far too much resemblence to the current situation of the Edmonton Oilers?

Last year, experts were suggesting that had Taylor Hall been available at the draft, he'd have gone extremely high. Some scouts even went so far as to say they'd have drafted him over John Tavares. Obviously Hall wasn't and he didn't, but scouts back then knew Hall was something special.

Taylor Hall spent all of last year as the guy who'd be the next big thing in the following years draft. He stayed his offensively amazing self, but as the season wore on, this Tyler Seguin kid kind of came out of nowhere and created an argument that people shouldn't be so fast to just mail home Taylor Hall's selection at first overall.

Much like Garth Snow and how he stayed away from giving any indication as to whom the Islanders would draft, Steve Tambellini and the Oilers have everyone guessing. Many still believe Hall to be the guy, but noone knows for sure thinking Seguin is the guy the Oilers want.

Meanwhile, thanks to todays invitation, they'll be some 15,000 plus fans in attendance at this years draft party wanting the Oilers to draft Taylor Hall. Why wouldn't they? They watched Hall dominate at the World Juniors and they've seen very little of Seguin.

It was believed after last years draft took place, that Garth Snow and the Islanders had always known they'd be selecting John Tavares. People were unsure, but eventually everyone got the player they expected to get. With how many similarities between the way this years draft and last years draft are shaping up, should we believe Edmonton's draft year may turn out the same way?

Perhaps the Oilers have always known since winning the draft lottery that Hall is their guy and perhaps this silence over who they are going to take is just for intrigue. If Hall isn't that guy, why on earth would the Oilers invite an entire arena full of people to watch Edmonton draft the player very few fans of the Oilers want?

Seguin has every right to be considered a possibility at number one, just like Hedman and Duchene the year before. Seguin has made a strong case that he's the better prospect. I won't be surprised if the Oilers think so too. Even still, Hall is the consensus choice among scouts.

My advice to this franchise? Don't be surprised if the fans you've invited to fill Rexall Place don't agree with you when you select Tyler Seguin. The only prospect a lot of these fans know is Taylor Hall. He impressed them, they want him and your about to tell 15,000 strong they aren't getting him if you draft Tyler and not Taylor.

I don't pretend to know who I'd take if I was the Oilers. I guess what I'm saying here, is if the Oilers don't know yet either and the fans want Hall, inviting everyone to Rexall just makes little sense.

Likely I'm over thinking things and this is just another way to fill a stadium and produce extra revenue. I just wonder, if it's not that simple, if there's hidden meaning here.


I'd say you could be right. Your logic does makes sense. But being the devils advocate lets say a decision hasn't been made or it has and Seguin is their man? Who would be privy to this? Tamby/MacGregor/Lowe/Katz most likely? Would they kibosh the party plans at this point? Although i can see the possibility that they were heavily leaning towards Hall by the time the Spitfire's won the Memorial Cup. I have to think a final final decision had to wait for the combine and interviews.

What if Chiarelli offers Tambi their 15th pick this year and next years 1st for Hall and Souray last minute?

I think that Fans are excited either way and common sense would have to prevail if Boston offers something so sensible.

Even though the majority want Hall to be chosen on June 25th. I have to think that half of those people when pressed would openly admit they dont know enough to totally be qualified to make that decision. Worse comes to worse Seguins supporters would help the Hall supporters see the light of day.

This should be a Party and a celebration no matter which one of these 2 players is chosen. I personally think it should be even a greater party if Tamby can somehow unload some dead weight and procur valuable draft picks in exchange for taking Seguin.

June 11, 2010 at 9:32 AM comment-delete

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