Editorials

New York Islanders Prospect Pool Needs “Everything” From Draft

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24: Kieffer Bellows celebrates with the New York Islanders after being selected 19th during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24: Kieffer Bellows celebrates with the New York Islanders after being selected 19th during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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What do the New York Islanders need to pull out of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft? Depending on who you ask it could be a bit of everything. That sounds fine, but when you think about it a bit more, it isn’t.

The New York Islanders don’t have the most noteworthy prospect pool in the NHL. Kieffer Bellows, Devon Toews, and Josh Ho-Sang top the list and then there’s a significant gulf in talent after that.

The Islanders have a few bits and pieces here and there, but you wouldn’t say there’s a fourth blue-chip prospect somewhere in the organization.

Note: Yes, I know about Ilya Sorokin. And yes I excluded him from this list. I don’t like counting on players who are under contract with other teams as part of the future of this team.

So when the New York Islanders Director of Player Development says the team needs a bit of everything right now, he’s probably not wrong. And then you think about it a bit more and you go, wait. That ain’t that good.

We Need It All

The New York Islanders enter the 2018 NHL Entry Draft needing “just about everything” according to their Director of Player Development Eric Cairns. Yeah, the Director. Of player development for the New York Islanders said that.

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Again, it’s not like he’s entirely wrong. And it’s probably PR 101 for a Director of Player Development to say we want more good recruits. Cause more recruits equals job security. But it’s still not a good thing.

Think about it for a second, by needing more good prospects, or not having enough for organizational depth means two things. Either the Isles didn’t draft enough, which is generally the result of a few good years. Or the prospects you did have are now playing with the big club.

The Islanders are in group one. But they shouldn’t be. It’s not like they’ve been in “going for it mode”.

Since 2013, the New York Islanders ranked tied at 21st for most draft picks used with the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, and MInnesota Wild with 36 draft picks.

Want to know the teams with fewer? The Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruin, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, and Calgary Flames.

That’s three teams constatnly in “going for it” more in Pittsburgh, Boston and Anaheim. A team that held on to some ridiculously long playoff stream in Detroit. And then Ottawa and Calgary.

And look, fewer draft picks are fine if you’re winning. If the team is sacrificing draft picks in order to add players at the deadline. Like Boston and Pittsburgh do. But the New York Islanders haven’t been at that level since the early 80’s.

They had two 100 point season in the last four years and still made three first-round selections. If there’s anyone to blame for a depleted system it’s the man in the GM’s chair for trading away all those draft picks. While simultaneously not winning. That’s one heck of an achievement.

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Next: Draft Profile for Picks 11 and 12

I get that the guy who’s responsible for developing players for the Islanders is excited that he’ll get four picks in the top two rounds this season. But if the organization is lacking depth in the system it’s likely due to the fact that they just haven’t been drafting enough.

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