Our New York Islanders had no action on day 1 of the NHL Entry Draft after they traded the 15th overall to VGK a few days ago for “protection” in the Expansion Draft. They entered day 2 of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft with 4 picks and a desire to add talent to their system. Per Erick Hornick, “#Isles currently have 4 picks in this weekend's draft: 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th (all their own). Fewest picks NYI ever made is 5 – 2007.”
With the 46th pick, the Islanders selected D, Robin Salo. The 6’, 185# left shooting defensemen from Vaasan Sport (SM-Liiga) is known for the solid skill set showcased in the Finnish Elite league. There, Salo was a top pairing, shut down D-Man with an offensive upside. He has even played the role of forward when called upon and was awarded the league’s the top scoring rookie title. He has been called a position-ally sound defensemen that starts and joins the rush well, but needs work on his skating and footwork.
The Islanders chose D Benjamin Mirageas from Chicago Steel of the USHL with the 77th selection. Mirageas is a 6’1, 174#, left shooting D that helped Chicago turn the tide, en-route to its first ever 2016-17 Clark Cup Championship. Noted as a good pass making D-man, Mirageas has play making ability and works hard. It is noted that he has been improving in his on-ice decision making and working at refining his overall play.
D, Sebastian Aho from Skelleftea AIK of the Chamions HL joins the Islanders system after being selected 139th. The 5’10, 176# left shooting, mobile defensemen with high hockey IQ and ability to read the opposition well. He is a strong skater who moves the puck and can be relied on in any scenario. Per Arthur Staple, “Kautonen said 5th-round D Sebastian Aho, who is already 21 and just finished his fourth pro year in Sweden, could play in BPT next season.”
The LA Kings traded the 165th pick to Isles for a 6th rounder in 2018. With it, the Isles selected 5’11, 181#, Halifax LW Arneaud Durandeau. Durandeau is noted for his speed and having a good shot to go along with his feisty, agitating style of play. He’s a PP specialist who possesses strong stick skills and passing ability. He moves the puck well and is always ready to jump into the play. He tends to be a little undisciplined and his active stick racks up PIMs.
With the 201st pick, the Isles select LW Logan Cockerill of USNTDP. Cockerill is small at 5’9, 163#, but the quick, hardworking winger works hard in a 3 zones and checks hard. Is known for strong two-way game and PK skills and good vision of the ice. He needs work on puck skills and scoring touch.
The Islanders must be happy with their goal-depth and went with what they felt was most needed in the system based on their faith in Sorokyn and Soderstrom and the low number of picks. Per Arthur Staple, “Asked #Isles head scout Vellu Kautonen about G Linus Soderstrom: ‘One more year in Sweden and I think we have an NHL goaltender’ … Also asked Kautonen about G Ilya Sorokin. Still hopeful Sorokin will come to North America after next season/Olympics, but not a sure thing.”
The Draft seemed a little low key, based on anticipation of a “big” Travis Hamonic trade, but we can finally look ahead to free agency.
I feel the need for a top forward is still a thing the Isles need to address to stay relevant in the eyes of John Tavares and the race to be better. Time will tell if a deal for a Matt Duchene or Alex Galchenyuk type of player is possible, but the cost seems to be too high. There will be short term UFA options open as well. Hanzal, Gagner or even Jagr could make sense if the opportunity is there and the need arises. Whatever happens, something solid needs to be done to shure up the Isles forwards until prospects like Barzal are ready to make noise. The Metro is a tough division and the teams around the Isles are getting better. The Isles need to keep up.
“This was a situation that we felt we could capitalize on bringing in some assets, whether we use those in the future in the draft or use them as a currency in a future player transaction,” per Garth Snow. “I don’t envision anything happening here in the next two days but that can always change,” he said. “We feel like we have a good hockey team. We have a team that’s built for now and for the future. You look at our prospects and the draft picks and we also have the ability to use some of those assets to bring in a player that can improve our club in the near-term.
Per Arthur Staple on the stalled deal for Duchene, “Two league sources said Pat Brisson, Duchene’s agent (also the agent for John Tavares), is seriously unhappy with Sakic’s foot-dragging on a deal. That could lead to a reduced price tag later on should Snow still be interested.”
Snow is “100% inclined” to use any available assets to improve the Islanders for next season. Hopefully, other GM’s will be as inclined.
Jordan Eberle will wear #7 for the Islanders.
Per Kevin Dexter, “24 #NHL players have scored 20 or more goals in each of the last 4 seasons. #Isles now have 3 of them - Tavares, Ladd & Eberle.”
The Isles 2017-18 schedule has been announced.
Jack Capuano has been named an associate coach by the Florida Panthers