The New York Islanders need to draft with the mindset of selecting the best player available, not by need.
With the 19th pick in the draft it’s going to be difficult for the New York Islanders to get an NHL ready player. The goal has to be selecting the best player available, instead of looking to fill a void. The players that are available are 18 years old. Only a select few are ready to make an impact on an NHL roster.
The rest are left to develop their skills for a few years in the minors. A team’s needs change in a few years, there’s no way to really tell what your needs are going to be a couple years down the line. For example, the Islanders thought they would be all set with their abundance of young forwards, now we see that their most glaring need is another scorer.
There are a few different mock drafts going around, each have the Islanders taking someone else. It’s tough to predict that deep in the first round but that doesn’t stop people from trying.
Logan Stanley, D, Windsor (OHL)
DraftSite has the Islanders selecting the gigantic Defenseman from the Windsor Spitfires. He’s a 6’7″ d-man with good reach. Stanley seems like he’s going to need some time to enhance his skills and to grow into that huge frame. He had 5 goals and 12 assists this past year with Windsor. His goal total of 5 is similar to the Islanders and their Defensemen goal production. Nick Leddy and Travis Hamonic both had 5 goals. Jonny Boychuk led the Islanders d-men with 9 goals. It would be rare to see the Islanders with a big Defenseman as we have become accustomed to midgets on the blue line (no offense Thomas Hickey).
Luke Kunin, C, University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
Sportsnet has Luke Kunin going to the Islanders at 19. Kunin had 19 goals, 32 points in 34 games. He has a good eye for scoring opportunities. Some things that Kunin needs to polish up are explosiveness and strength behind his shot. The kid has a lot of potential and he can potentially grow into a highlight real type of player. He has a right handed shot which may be something the Islanders would look into due to a current need. Although I don’t see Kunin having an immediate impact I think Kunin has the skills to develop into a solid player.
Max Jones, LW, London (OHL)
Max Jones is just someone I think the Islanders should keep on their radar. He’s a powerful forward who isn’t afraid to do dirty work. I like his style, he is very physical but isn’t just a goon on the ice. He had 28 goals, 52 points in 2016-2016 with the London Knights. Although his physical play did land him a suspension this year due to his mega hit on Justin Brack.
It’s tough to project players a few years down the line but it would not surprise me if Max Jones turns into a Matt Martin type of player with maybe a little bit more offensive aspects in his game. Martin will most liekly go in free agency, maybe it’s not a bad idea to draft someone who can turn into a productive fourth liner. That doesn’t fix the now but I do think that he is a talented player and if he was available at 19 I wouldn’t mind if the Islanders took Jones.
It’s important that Garth Snow and the Islanders don’t try to improve for the now in their drafting. They need to rely on free agency and the trade market to improve the team for next year. They have to focus on just taking the best skilled player available when they are up on draft day. We’ll see what Garth and company decide to do this weekend in Buffalo at the 2016 NHL Draft.