Our New York Islanders went into last week’s NHL Entry Draft with a purpose. And apparently, it was to add depth to their system. I am sure many fans, including this one hoped the Isles would package picks with other assets for a trade to try and upgrade their roster immediately. It’s entirely possible that those deals just weren’t there for them, so they did the draft thing and acquired the prospects that addressed their need. That was Left Wings.
In the first round, with the 19th pick, the Isles selected 6’1, 195# Kieffer Bellows of the USA National Team Development Program. Kieffer is the son of former NHL’er, Brian Bellows, so he grew up around professional hockey and probably gets a tip or two from Dad on his game from time to time. The physical, 50 goal scorer (31 assists) is noted for his puck handling ability and strong skating per elite prospects. He is also known for his fore check and his ability to control the flow of a game, which could explain why Bellows was rated 10th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. So it’s safe to assume Bellows will have some time to develop a little more in the Isles system after his Boston University commitments. I would imagine that fans should get to see him showcase his wares at this year’s Blue and White scrimmage.
It’s worth mentioning that my 1st round choice for the Isles, Julien Gauthier was drafted two picks later by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Garth Snow added five more picks on day two. He mostly stayed the left wing course with two picks in the 4th, one in the 6th and 2 in the 7th, adding a D-Man with the last pick of the draft. Snow traded the Isles 110th pick along with a 2017 6th rounder to Chicago for the 95th to select a former WJ Russian silver medalist, 21 year old named Anatoli Golyshev. The 5’8, 178#, Golyshev has 3 years of KHL experience (and is still under contract thru 2019) that includes a career highs of 25 and 19 for 44 points in 56 games (with most at even strength) playing for Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. Let’s see if he can shake the small, Russian stigma and get a chance to make an impact for New York in their system.
The Islanders traded up with Philadelphia to acquire the 120th selection for a 2017, 4th rounder to draft 6’4, 219#, 17 year old Finn, Otto Koivula. With a career high 58 points last season and another 12 in playoff competition, Koivula must have been the choice to management. There is hopes that he can use his on-ice vison and accurate shot to make some as he develops over-seas, while improving his mobility.
With the 170th pick, the Isles choose Collin Adams of the USHL. As another smaller sized forward at 5.9, 172#, Adams played big and got noticed last season by being named to the USHL All-Rookie 1st Team. He did so by scoring 27 and 34 for 61 points in 59 games. Adams has a standing commitment to play for North Dakota next season. He is known for his leadership qualities, both on and off the ice and one of those “heavy” shots we love to hear about.
Nick Pastujov was added to the Islanders system with pick #193. Pastujov (6’0, 199#) tallied 21 points in 60 games for the U18, Bronze Medal US National Team and has a commitment to play for the University of Michigan next season. He was apparently fishing when he heard the news that he was drafted by New York.
With their final pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Islanders went defensive and brought 5’8, 181# David Quenneville into the organizational fold. With the Tigers of the WHL, Quenneville scored 14 and 44 for 55 points and models his game after the Kings, Drew Doughty. He has two brothers in NHL organizations. New Jersey Devils 2014, first-rounder John Quenneville and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Peter Quenneville.
After stockpiling prospects at the draft, we can probably assume the Islanders are shifting their focus at add the “win-now” talent they need at the start of free agency. It should be interesting to see if any trades happen before then or if the team is content to wait and make their offers to specific targets on July 1st. If Snow can’t make a splash at that time, he may be looking for trades later in the summer and before the start of next season like the ones he orchestrated for Boychuk and Leddy.
What are your plans for Friday?
You are irreplaceable.