We’re always looking for the diamond in the rough or that player that seemed to come out of nowhere to fit in the next wave for the New York Islanders. Prospect Nick Pastujov is an interesting candidate.
You may not have ever heard of Nick Pastujov. And that’s fine, he’s not signed to an ELC with the New York Islanders and he’s not playing with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Unless you’re following all of the Islanders NCAA prospects there’s no way you’d have known who he is.
Pastujov is a seventh-round pick by the New York Islanders all the way back in 2016. With eight points in 21 games for the US U18 team in his draft year, he certainly didn’t make a splash when scouts were looking.
But since then, Pastujov has gone on to have better results season over season. Now in his senior year with the University of Michigan, he’s poised to have yet another big year.
Going into his senior year with the University of Michigan, Pastujov will be one of the players the Wolverine’s coaching staff relies upon to bring offense. Last season Pastujov scored 24 points in 36 games, finishing fourth in scoring on the team.
After teammate Josh Norris was sidelined through injury, Pastujov was given an increased role on the team next to William Lockwood. This year, with Norris making the leap to the NHL, Pastujov will take that spot at the top of the roster and he’s confident that he can be a force for Michigan:
"“Next year a lot of the things that I’m going to look forward to bringing to the table is more or less just controlling the game, definitely being a dominant force out there,” Pastujov said. “I think my specialty is being able to center players that can definitely produce — guys like Will (Lockwood). Last year we had a lot of success because I think my specialty is being out there and being able to shut down a lot of the defensive aspects of the game and get guys like that the puck to where they can kind of go on offense and do their thing.”"
If Pastujov continues to take forward steps in his career, the New York Islanders will be forced to look at what he’s doing.
Now, when I said “diamond in the rough” I don’t want to intimate that Nick Pastujov can be a game-changer for the Islanders. I suppose he could. But what I mean is that the Islanders seem to have found a player with a seventh-round pick.
Taking a player in the seventh-round is the equivalent of closing your eyes and throwing a dart on the board. You’ll likely miss the board entirely, but you might hit something, maybe you hit a bullseye, a triple-20, maybe just a one, but you might hit something.
In the case of Nick Pastujov, the New York Islanders seem to have hit something.
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I’ve got my eye on Nick Pastujov this season. I want to follow along to what he’s doing and how he’s progressing this season. Having a healthy system is an indication of a healthy organization. Hitting on seventh-round picks is a good sign for an organization.