Round 6 Pick 156
Original Pick: Jesse Graham | Our Pick: Connor Brown
In the sixth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders picked Jesse Graham at number 156. He was a 41 point player for the Niagara Ice Dogs in his draft year. The Islanders probably thought that they could make something of the undersized blueliner.
Two years from his draft Graham put up 54 points in 66 games. It looked good for the Islanders. But unfortunately, the 5’11” blueliner hasn’t been able to lift his game to the NHL level. He’s been stuck in the AHL and ECHL since 2013-14.
A pick later at 157 the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Connor Brown. A player with 53 points in the OHL in his draft year. In the two preceding years after being selected by the Leafs, Brown would add 197 points in 131 OHL games for the Erie Otters.
Sure, playing with Connor McDavid will help a player pad his stats. But to his credit, Connor Brown didn’t just ride McDavid’s coattails.
Two seasons in the AHL, Brown put up 90 points in 110 games. Earning him a spot in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Again, Brown was putting the puck in the net. In 171 NHL games, he has 70 points.
Connor Brown isn’t a first line or even a second line player in the NHL. But Connor Brown is absolutely an NHL player. The same cannot be said for Jesse Graham. He’s not only playing in the AHL, but he’s not even on the New York Islanders roster any longer.
If only the New York Islanders and Garth Snow hadn’t thought it was a good idea to pick only defensemen in the 2012 draft. The Islanders might have a great third line option in Connor Brown.
It’s not like Brown was picked way down the line in the sixth round. Sure, we picked the best player in the sixth round but he was picked exactly one spot after Jesse Graham. The Islanders strategy to pick only defenders blinded them to better options that were right under their noses.