Drafted By Player
1 Pittsburgh Marc-Andre Fleury
2 Carolina Eric Staal
3 Florida Nathan Horton
4 Columbus Nikolai Zherdev
5 Buffalo Thomas Vanek
6 San Jose Milan Michalek
7 Nashville Ryan Suter
8 Atlanta Braydon Coburn
9 Calgary Dion Phaneuf
10 Mtl. Canadiens Andrei Kostitsyn
11 Philadelphia Jeff Carter
12 NY Rangers Hugh Jessiman
13 Los Angeles Dustin Brown
14 Chicago Brent Seabrook
15 NY Islanders Robert Nilsson
16 San Jose Steve Bernier
17 New Jersey Zach Parise
Great draft class. Zherdev almost held out but outside of one apparent bust all of these players have helped their clubs. Bernier was just traded for Campbell.
Granted Parise is an excellent player who has had two thirty goal seasons in a row and had a knack for scoring big goals who is only getting better, but having written that how is this only an Islander mistake when seventeen other teams passed on him before Edmonton did not want Parise and gave up it's pick to New Jersey?
I remember that draft, at the time I would have been happy with Parise, Nilsson or Bernier. If many recall Parise dropped like a stone on draft day because of his size. For the Isles Robeet Nilsson's play making ability stood out and he had good family lineage from his father, Kent Nilsson.
Does it really come down to Pierre McGuire's rant on draft day that year where he plays arm-chair prospect expert for a few hours and simply blamed the Isles because he was not a Mike Milbury fan back then?
How come McGuire did not go off at Chicago for Brent Seabrook or the Rangers for taking the only player who has yet to sniff the NHL in that outstanding group?
It's not like the Isles went off the board here and took a player projected for the second round, or did what Phoenix did with Blake Wheeler. It's not like Nilsson was Mike Rupp, who now plays for New Jersey also.
Do you draft based on family lineage or ability to help your team win?
Eric Nystrom was available the year before (in a far weaker draft) where teams after the top ten selections were unloading first rounders to stock up on picks, Isles kept their pick, did not move up and Sean Bergenheim looks like a solid player. At the time Bobby Nystrom felt the pressure of his son being an Islander would have been a problem, today he has yet to break through with Calgary.
Los Angeles drafted Jeff Tambellini who has Islander lineage with his father and here we are two years later and we are still waiting for him to break through after he was traded for Mark Parrish.
Bottom line, you credit New Jersey for making a great trade to move up and for Parise for proving the experts wrong. You give the Isles credit for making a great run at a top player when trading for Smythe and you credit Robert Nilsson for his obvious progress in Edmonton.
This idea the Isles are the only team who made a terrible decision here just makes no sense.
I do think Parise is going to haunt the Isles for a long time on the ice just like all the other teams that passed on him.