Swedish Defender, Rasmus Dahlin is heir apparent for the #1 pick at this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Dahlin is a solid, all-around NHL ready defender and won’t be around for the Islanders at the number 11 or 12 pick in the first round when New York has the option to select some of their future without losing a lot of assets going out in return. What Lou Lamoreillo and his staff will do next week isn’t known to anyone but them. The top needs for the Islanders are a premiere NHL Goaltender and a top pair D-Man. Trades will probably be made and change is surely coming to next year’s roster for New York. How much this summer’s draft will play into the future is a discussion for another time. We all knew the buzz on Mathew Barzal, but few thought he would be the favorite for the Calder after his rookie season. Will will know Wednesday night after the NHL Awards are announced. While the Isles have a draft party planned on the 22nd, there is always a chance for the top picks to be flipped in a package. A move like this can immediately address some of their more pressing needs to compete for a Stanley Cup by adding veteran players needed to fill holes heading into next season.
A couple of days ago, Darren Dreger mentioned That Isles Captain, “(John) Tavares is now focusing on negotiations with the Islanders on an extension. Daily discussions last two weeks. A deal could happen quickly, or if negotiations stall, Tavares still has flexibility to consider options during interview period. Lou Lamoriello has been speaking with Tavares on a constant basis...sharing his plan/vision of the Isles moving forward.” The recent rumblings have Isles country more optimistic on the possibility of J.T. staying home for elite money. Some have even speculated a possible home-town discount similar to the one Stamkos gave the Lightning in 2016 at $8.5M over 8 years with a NMC.
Tavares had to be waiting to see what the Isles new direction would be this summer after years of unsuccessful gambles and reclamation projects. Adding Belmont and Lou Lamoriello to the mix are strong reasons to consider staying with the team who drafted him first overall in 2009. There have been other rumors of J.T. waiting for the new NHL salary cap to be announced before signing to increase his yield and remain with the Isles. The Islanders are the only team who could sign him to an 8-year deal. That deal could be a buy-in with the Isles for the future or a sign and flip scenario for another team who wants him prior to July 1 to avoid a bidding war if he chooses not to remain in NY. The future plan will surely change based on the decision Tavares makes, but the Islanders have an NHL Entry Draft to attend to this week.
Our New York Islanders have 8 picks in next weeks Entry Draft at #11, #12, #41, #43, #72, #103, #134 and #196. If they go the draft route, I’ve compiled a list of players I could see them going for with their top 2 picks. A first and second round pick were acquired as part of a package by Garth Snow in Exchange for Travis Hamonic last year, adding to this seasons yield.
Evan Bouchard, D, 6’2, 193# (London, OHL): Bouchard is a big, smart, all-around Canadian D-Man who loves to join the rush, carry, pass and fire the puck. His game has improved and so has his ranking on most-everyone’s list. His size and durability means he can be a problem for other teams’ skilled players and an anchor on defense for big minutes. His intuition allows him to anticipate, read and react in all zones and his noted work ethic means he has a good chance to adapt to the NHL game.
Quinn Hughes, D, 5’10, 170# (University of Michigan, NCAA): Hughes is solid with the puck, makes good decisions and could be a very good NHL PP QB one day. The team USA defender has been called an elite defensive talent with a balance of speed and hockey IQ whose been known create space in all zones and set up plays on the rush with his creativity. Hughes also has the ability to make the opposition pay for their mistakes, in short, a complete defensemen.
Adam Boqvist, D, 5’11, 168# (Brynas Jr, Sweden): Boqvist is another gifted Swedish defensemen in this year’s draft. A modern, offensive D-Man, Boqvist can carry the play with his stick handling and his skating can create plays and open the ice whether on the rush, moving through the neutral zone or creating room around the net. His vision and offensive flair makes him a threat to the opposition, drawing defenders to him and has the tools to finish offensively.
Ty Smith, D, 5’11, 175# (Spokane, WHL): Smith is a leader on the ice and did so as Captain for Team Canada’s Gold Medal U18 squad. Smith is known for his solid skating, insatiable work ethic on and off the ice with an upside that compares with the best defenders in the 2018 Draft. He has also won WHL First All-Star and Scholastic Player of the Year honors last season.
Joel Farabee, LW, 5’11, 164# (USNTDP): Seen as a possible top 10 talent, this gifted LW may slide down due to his smaller size. What the Team USA product, Farabee doesn’t lack character, work ethic, skating or vision on the ice and the ability to make things happen. If he’s still available and with some time to develop in a pro system, he could become a steal for a mid-round first round pick.
Serron Noel, RW, 6’5, 205# (Oshawa, OHL): Noel is said to need more development, but has the tools required to be a power forward at the NHL level. His size and grit will make him a big asset to park in front of an opposing team’s net and let him finish chances down low.
These are my best guesses without trading up or down. It’s very possible packages of picks, prospects and players could be traded next week and the Isles organization could improve without adding many picks. There is also a chance they use many or all of their picks, even to trade up and down or simply add the best players available with the knowledge Management has approval to be aggressive at the July 1st open to free agency.
Here’s to doing what needs to be done.
The Islanders preseason schedule has been announced.
The NHL will announce the 2018-19 regular-season home openers for all 31 clubs on Wed., June 20 at 1 p.m. ET.
Per Arthur Staple, “Confirming SNY report, Greg Cronin was let go by #Isles. No other coaching decisions have been made as of now, at NHL or AHL level.”
Per Chris Botta, “As a follow up, I was contacted after article posted by two dismissed coaches from #Isles organization (who requested anonymity) who said they were fired Friday, June 8.”
The 2018 NYI Draft Party is on Friday, 6/22! Music, family activities, & appearances from special guests.