The New York Islanders elected to use both picks in the first round, a major surprise to the media and fans alike who expected the pick to be moved.
In a real shocker, the New York Islanders decided to use both of their first-round picks in the 2018 NHL Draft. The assumption around the league was the Islanders would use at least one of those picks to look for a goalie or defenseman.
Before the draft really got underway, the Islanders number one trade target was taken off the board in Philipp Grubauer. Lou Lamoriello was forced to pivot and we noticed that in the first-round especially.
As the picks broke and Barrett Hayton and Vitali Kravtsov jumped up a few spots talented players began to be available for when the Islanders picked at 11 and 12. When Oliver Wahlstrom became available at 11 it was a no-brainer to take him.
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Wahlstrom, playing in the USDP League, had an extremely impressive year. He had 94 points (48 goals, 46 assists) in 62 games. Many projected him to go in the top-seven or so selected so the Islanders had this one fall in their lap and it’s hard to fault them for taking him at 11.
Their next pick was a defenseman, a position of need of course, and the Isles pulled the trigger on Noah Dobson. Dobson is a big right-handed defenseman sitting at six-foot-three 176 pounds. In the Q last year, Dobson had an impressive 69 points (17 goals, 52 assists) in 67 games played.
Neither one of these two were supposed to be there at 11 and 12, and the Islanders lucked out. Some said the Islanders were the winners of the first round and it’s really hard to argue that logic.
They did something that nobody expected, building for the future instead of the now. Ideally, the Islanders would be going all-in on 2018-2019, and they likely will do just that. They’re just going to have to call an audible and address needs by free agency.
Lou Lamoriello elected to hold onto both picks, and he gets the benefit of the doubt because of his name. I think if it were Garth still making the picks he would’ve faced harsher criticism for making those picks even though both seem phenomenal for the future.
Wahlstrom especially doesn’t seem very far off. He’s going to Boston College next year, but he could make the jump to the AHL or even the NHL too the following year and it wouldn’t shock me one bit.
Just because it wasn’t our plan, doesn’t mean it was a bad plan. Relax Islanders fans, Lou Lamoriello knows what he’s doing.