New York Islanders 2018 Draft Class Update
By almost all accounts from the hockey draft guru’s, the New York Islanders hit a Homerun at the 2018 Draft. But how are the kids taken by the Islanders in last year’s draft doing so far this year? Let’s take a look.
When the New York Islanders entered the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas, a lot was on the line for Lou Lamoriello and his staff. They needed to have a big weekend and they were armed with the picks to make that a reality.
Lou and the Isles top brass had to be over the moon when it was their turn at the 2018 Draft at picks 11 and 12 and both Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson were still on the board.
Wahlstrom is spending this year playing for Boston College. So far the 6’1, 205 lbs winger has a pair of goals in his first nine games. Things are not going great for Wahlstrom at BC and there are rumblings he may leave school soon. The same happened recently with fellow Islander prospect and former first-round pick in Kieffer Bellows.
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Wahlstrom is expected to be a big part of the Isles top-six for years to come. The only question is does his Islander career start next season or the year after?
Dobson looks like a sure-fire top-four blue liner with his ceiling being that of a first pairing defensemen. The 6’3, 180 lbs D-man is off to a good start for the Acadre Bathurst, who as a team is struggling mightily in the QMJHL. So far Dobson has 8 goals and 14 points in 22 games.
Dobson was one of the last cuts in this past Islanders training camp. The Canadian kid from Summerside maybe be Long Island bound as early as next fall.
Rounds 2 & 3
The Isles had a pair of second-round picks, as well as a pick in the top half of the third round in this past June’s draft. Like the first round, the draft really fell to the Isles in rounds two and three.
Pre-draft speculation had Bode Wilde being a possibility for the Isles with one of their picks in the first round. So for Lou and his scouts to select Wilde with the 41st pick overall in round two they had to be beyond ecstatic.
While Wilde has to round out the rough spots to his game, he has size (6’3, 190 lbs), skill, and plays with an edge. Wilde is playing in the OHL for the Saginaw Spirit and he is doing very well with three goals, 17 points in 16 games. The Isles might have got the steal of the 2018 Draft.
Ruslan Iskhakov the other Isles second-round selection is playing for the University of Connecticut this season. The diminutive center (5’8, 152 lbs) has two goals and four points in ten games. Iskhakov did miss some time after getting hurt in a scary collision.
Another potential steal for the Isles might be goaltender Jakub Skarek who they took in the third round with the 72nd overall pick. So far the big goalie (6’3, 196 lbs) has been dominating the Finnish league this season by going 5-2-5, 1.78 goals against average, and .930 save percentage. Skarek is one of a trio of talented goalie prospects the Isles have in the cupboard.
The Isles have a couple of their late-round selections playing college hockey this season. Jacob Pivonka (center, 4th round) is playing at Notre Dame, while Christian Krygier (Defense, 7th round) is at Michigan State.
So far the late-round pick to watch out for regarding the Isles is their 5th round pick, center-men, Blade Jenkins. Jenkins is off to an incredible start in the OHL playing alongside Wilde with the Saginaw Spirit. Jenkins has seven goals, 18 points in 21 games. The Isles can only dream that Jenkins winds up being a late-round gem for them just like Anders Lee was a few years ago.
The Isles have a lot to be excited about with this group. In two-three years time, a number of these kids could be making a major impact for the blue and orange.