Top Pick Shuns Isles
By PETER BOTTE
Daily News Sports Writer
The Islanders have all but come to the conclusion that a second-round
pick this year will be more valuable to them than their first-round
selection from two years ago.
Michael Rupp, the project power forward selected by GM Mike Milbury
and the Isles with the ninth overall selection in '98, likely will re-
apply for the 2000 NHL entry draft to be held June 24 in Calgary if
he's not signed to an entry-level contract by midnight tonight.
"The deadline to sign him hasn't come and gone yet, but I'll say it's
not looking like it will get done," said Mike Santos, Milbury's
assistant in charge of contract matters, who's conducted negotiations
with Rupp's agent, Jay Fee.
Rupp, a 6-foot-5 winger, overcame a slow start this season to finish
with 32 goals and 53 points â" along with 134 penalty minutes
â" in 58
games for Erie of the Ontario League.
The Isles have shopped Rupp aggressively around the NHL for several
days, but apparently have not been offered anything to rival the
ninth pick in the second round of this year's draft they will receive
as compensation if Rupp goes back into the draft pool.