GM Garth Snow and the New York Islanders announced today that the Islanders will be holding a contest to ask fans what they would do with the No. 1 pick overall.
Whatever the strategic purpose of this is, the main pull is promotion. My inclination is that if Snow is willing to hold a contest, it means that the first overall pick isn't going to be traded. I suppose that puts a damper on Burke's Tavares Quest.
But wait, what if Snow takes Hedman? Well, if he does he's going to be upsetting more than a few fans who stepped up to buy season tickets. The Islanders sales department has seen a "300-percent increase in phone calls and e-mail inquiries over last year at this time" and on pace to see 90 percent of its season tickets renewed. In other words, the first overall pick sells. And it sells well.
And for the Isles fans, its not Victor Hedman who sells, its John Tavares. A Newsday poll conducted showed that Tavares was favoured 10-1 over Hedman. So really, this competition is going to be a reaffirmation of that support.
So it becomes a lot clearer now why Snow refused to say who he was leaning towards for this year's draft. Not for trade leverage. Not to buy more time to make a decision. Rather, for promotion.
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