Round 1: Connor McMichael (Center)
18 years old, 5’11”, 174 lbs, London Knights
It’s been four years since the New York Islanders took a center in the first round. Because of that, the Isles center pool has taken a hit and it’s no secret they desperately need help at the center position.
Here, the Isles land themselves a solid center in Connor McMichael. McMichael is a lefty, who is a little on the smaller side but he plays a smart two-way game. He’s known for his puckhandling skills and is just about as good of a goal scorer as he is a playmaker.
This past year in the OHL, he had 72 points (36 goals, 36 assists) in 67 games with the London Knights. His hockey IQ makes him seem like the perfect Lou Lamoriello/Barry Trotz player.
Ideally, I think McMichael’s ceiling is a 2C. Since both Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal seem to be in the Islanders long-term plans at center McMichael should be able to start out his career as the 3C putting him in better matchups and giving him less pressure.
If Nelson begins to slow down on the other side of 30, McMichael should be just fine in that role. Regardless, the Isles get themselves a legit center prospect in round one for the first time in a while.