NHL Draft: Islanders keep 2014 first round pick, will give Buffalo 2015 first rounder

Mike Stobe

What was rumored a few weeks ago has now come true - the Islanders will keep their pick this year, sending next year's first rounder to Buffalo.

We've wondered and speculated about what the New York Islanders might do with their Sophie's Choice of whether to give this year's or next year's first round draft pick to the Buffalo Sabres, and today we finally have our answer.

The Islanders opt to keep the #5 pick in this year's draft in the hopes that they'll be significantly better next season, and won't regret giving up a (possible) lottery ticket in the McDavid/Eichel sweepstakes. But how much better will they be?

They started to put that picture into focus today by signing Jaroslav Halak to a four-year deal. When we last spoke to our friends at Lighthouse Hockey, they reminded us that the Islanders weren't that bad last year, they just had some of the league's worst goaltending. If Halak can provide league-average goaltending for the Isles and if their #5 pick is ready to contribute in the NHL next season, things could look very different next season. Still, that's a lot of ifs and buts, and we won't know for many more months.

The Sabres now have three picks in the first round of the 2015 draft - their own, the Islanders', and St. Louis's pick thanks to the Ryan Miller deal. Add two second rounders as well (BUF and NYI) and the very, very deep 2015 draft is shaping up to be an absolute barnburner for Buffalo.

How do you feel about this, Sabres fans? Are you happy to have another team to root against next year and another possible lottery ticket, or would you rather have a guaranteed #5 pick in this year's draft?

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