The New York Islanders will pick 23rd overall in the 2019 NHL draft. Looking back over ten years of drafts, what type of player might they be getting?
If the New York Islanders actually use their first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, what type of player might they be selecting? Are they getting a player that will be a possible star? Are they getting a middling NHL’er?
What does recent history tell us of 23rd overall picks? Have they been above average players in their draft class, or were they below average?
Looking at ten 23rd overall picks made from 2006 to 2015 doesn’t paint a positive picture for the New York Islanders and their upcoming selection.
Why 2006 to 2015?
What I was looking at was how many games played, goals scored, assists credited, and points accumulated a 23rd overall pick had versus the rest of the first round he was drafted in.
I didn’t think it would have been fair to pick players drafted in 2016 or later when a third of the players drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft hadn’t played more than ten career NHL games. Nineteen hadn’t played a full NHL season yet.
By 2015 the number of first rounders that have featured less than ten times in the NHL drops to three. The 2015 draft class seemed like a good place to start.
I went back ten years to get a good sample size.
I compared each pick versus players in his draft class and position. The numbers you see below are how that player performed over (or under) the average for players drafted in his position in the first round. (Forwards were measured vs. forwards, defense vs. defense, goalies vs. goalies)
*Has not yet played in the NHL
**Has played a single NHL game
†Goalie stats read: Games Played, GAA, SV%, Shutouts
There isn’t a lot of positive out there. Brock Boeser, Andre Burakovsky, Mark Pysyk and Semyon Varlamov standout as good picks. Two players were busts at 23rd overall. Colorado’s Connor Bleackley and Minnesota’s Tyler Cuma have played a joint one NHL game.
Defensemen are the more popular pick by the 23rd pick in the draft with six of the ten picks being blueliners. While Mark Pysyk is floating around the average line for blueliners, the other five defensemen are well below.
That doesn’t mean they’re bad players, they have NHL careers, but you wouldn’t call them stars by any stretch.
The obvious trend here is that whatever player the New York Islanders take 23rd overall might make the NHL, but that doesn’t mean they’ll shine. That’s not what the Islanders need.
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The New York Islanders need to improve the roster as soon as possible. They have draft picks that will populate the roster over the next three to four seasons. They’re better off trading this pick to bring in an impact player or to move further down the draft and get more picks in the process.