New York Islanders Top 10 Prospects In the System in 2018
How many fifth-round draft picks make their NHL debuts in the first year after they were drafted? Not many. Sebastian Aho (the Swedish one) did exactly that.
Drafted 139th overall by the New York Islanders in 2017, Sebastian Aho stepped into the Islanders lineup after the team’s blueline was decimated by injury. Johnny Boychuk, Calvin de Haan, and Scott Mayfield all missed time with injuries.
So in came the 22-year-old Swede who had just made his way to North America that season. Aho played in 22 games scoring four points. More importantly, the 5’10” defender didn’t look out of place in the NHL.
Aho doesn’t seem to be a top-pair player. But he absolutely looks like a player that fits in the NHL. He’s at best a second pairing player.
But again, this is a fifth-round player. He actually entered the draft a year before and wasn’t picked. Sebastian Aho was passed over in twelve rounds before he was taken by the New York Islanders and he fits in the NHL.
That’s what happens when size is seen as a deciding factor in establishing a players ability to “make it” in the NHL. At 5’10” Aho is absolutely “undersized” for NHL defensemen who usually stand above 6’0″ tall.
The Islanders currently have five defenders under contract. That doesn’t count RFA Ryan Pulock who has yet to sign a deal. That still only makes six defenders. Teams generally have seven defenders on the active roster, leaving a spot in 2018-19 for Aho.