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Islanders gearing up for the future with great draft class

With or without John Tavares, the New York Islanders had one of the best drafts in recent memory.  It’s all speculation because between injuries and expectations these picks may never pan out, but boy does it look good on paper.

We already talked about the two steals of the draft in Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson, but the rest of the draft turned out to be a heist as well.  Before we get to the other picks, let’s talk a little more about Wahlstrom and Dobson.  From what scouts have said, Wahlstrom projects to be a top line scoring winger on any team.  He can score from anywhere, has nifty mitts and has all the confidence in the world.  Dobson is an all-world skater (important for a D-man) who uses his stick to keep opposing wingers at bay.  He’s a big boy for such a young kid and can potentially wind up being an even bigger steal than Wahlstrom.

The best part about these two picks is that they can contribute almost immediately.  While guys like Michael Dal Colle have been wasting away in the minors for years, guys like Wahlstrom, Dobson and last year’s first round pick Kiefer Bellows all have a legitimate shot at making the team.

The other picks

The Islanders went with a good mix of players to round out their draft, most notably top goalie prospect Jakub Skarek and defenseman Bode Wilde.  With Linus Soderstrom spending his first year in North America this season, and Ilya Sorokin’s status as a future Islander unknown, the Islanders grabbed yet another insurance policy for the future.  Skarek is a butterfly goalie from the Czech Republic with excellent athletic ability and a knack for the dramatic.  He was rated the top goalie in the draft and was taken in the third round.  Wilde is the only project of this draft class, but he’s worth it.  Once a mid-level first round prospect, Wilde fell out of the first round due to some character concerns after he de-committed from Michigan.  He is an elite talent and may wind up pairing with Dobson one day.

Second-round pick Ruslan Iskhakov is a young, feisty Russian center who has a little bite to his game.  He has a bit of a Napoleon complex as he’s only about 5’9, but he is extremely skilled in all areas and is a finisher.  The other picks are just the cherry on top, with the Islanders making value picks with American center Jacob Pivonka in the fourth, Blade Jenkins (great name) in the fifth, and another American defenseman Christian Krygier in the sixth round.

Overall, it was a great draft for the Islanders.  Even if they wind up missing on their later round picks, the haul they were able to get in the first round is enough to call it a success.  The Islanders had grades ranging from A- to A+ from experts, and they most certainly did not reach for any picks or take on any projects

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