By Kevin Lee aka gosens151911

The NHL Draft is a huge event for collectors, determining which teams will be drafting potential future stars and thus possibly attracting more hobby love in the near future. The most recent NHL Draft was one of the most exciting yet, with two young prospects who both had huge potential and a shot at being drafted first overall. They were John Tavares and Victor Hedman. In the end, the New York Islanders decided to use their first pick to select Tavares, with the Tampa Bay Lighting left with Hedman. These two picks may have just made these two teams the most attractive to invest in. They may be bad now, but like the Penguins, all that is needed are a few solid draft picks and they could soon find their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tampa Bay Lightning:
After winning the Stanley Cup in 2003-04 it has all been downhill for the Lightning with dismal season after dismal season. However, after winning the draft lottery in 2007-08 they were able to draft the much-hyped prospect Steven Stamkos. It appeared that things would change heading into 2008-09 season. Yet they struggled once again, ending up getting the 2nd overall draft pick in the lottery. After having a season with many troubles in the back end, they hoped that the 2nd overall pick would be good enough to draft touted defenseman Victor Hedman. In the end, they got the player they wanted. The future looks extremely bright for this team.

Heading into the 2009-10 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning have two of the best prospects in the league in Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman. Stamkos struggled early on in the 2008-09 season, affecting his hobby value with some saying he would become the next Alexandre Daigle. Nevertheless, he pulled it together in the second half of the season putting up very solid rookie numbers. There is no doubt he is a player to watch in the 2009-10 season. Having adjusted to the NHL it can be expected his numbers will improve substantially and thus increase his hobby value, which took a large hit with his slow start. The Lightning also have two stars to play along Stamkos in Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. Both players were part of the 2003-04 Stanley Cup team and definitely would like to get another. There hobby love has cooled since then, with the minimal success that the Lightning have had. Nevertheless, expect these three players to have very solid numbers next year and to possibly put this team back to the top once again. Defensively the Lightning are expected to improve greatly in the 2009-10 season, having drafted Victor Hedman. It is expected he will develop into their number one defenseman. There is no doubt that if he has a solid season he will be one of the most coveted rookie cards of the 2009-10 crop. The Lightning definitely have the possibility to rebound and become one of the most popular teams to collect!

New York Islanders:
The NY Islanders have been haunted by former general manager Mike Milbury who some have argued lost this team many Stanley Cups by trading the likes of Zdeno Chara, Jason Spezza, Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen among others away for duds in return. In 2006 Garth Snow replaced him and the rebuilding of the Islanders would begin. No longer would they trade draft picks away for had been stars, instead keeping them to rebuild from within.

Although the Islanders struggled in the 2008-09 season placing last in the league, many saw a team with much potential. Two rookies in that season, Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey, both showed they had the potential to be stars in the NHL. Already they are getting quite a bit of love from collectors who see them as players who could breakout at any time. Additionally, with the addition of John Tavares, the Islanders have three extremely talented offensive prospects heading into the 2009-10 season. Tavares himself should definitely become the most popular rookie to collect, especially being Canadian. There is no doubt that this team could easily become a contender very soon. The major question haunting this team though is goaltender Rick DiPietro who is signed to a 15-year deal. Although he is very talented, he has been injury prone throughout his whole career. Until he can string a few seasons in a row, this team will likely not go far. Nevertheless, if he can string a few solid seasons together in a row, his hobby value may improve and the team itself may easily become one of the most popular teams to collect.