It’s going on five years since the 2015 draft, at this point we should know the quality of players the New York Islanders selected with their seven picks.
The New York Islanders entered the 2015 draft without a first-round pick. That pick was sent to the Buffalo Sabres in the Thomas Vanek trade to the Islanders. The Sabres then sent that pick to Ottawa for Robin Lehner. So Garth Snow had some work to do to get back into the first round.
Thankfully, Peter Chiarelli, then GM of the Edmonton Oilers, accepted to trade the 16th overall pick and a second-round pick in 2015 to the Islanders for defenseman and 2012 fourth overall pick Griffin Reinhart.
Snow would then package that second-round pick as well as a third-round pick to get the Rangers first-round pick (28th overall) from the Tampa Bay Lightning. That was the second time in two years that Garth was able to leave the draft with two first-round picks. He made the same type of trade in 2014 to land Josh Ho-Sang with the 28th overall pick.
I know we aren’t used to praising Garth, but on the floor of 2015 draft the Isles former GM put in a good shift to get two first-round picks.
So what did he do with those two first-round picks and his picks in every round after the second? And how did those draft picks pan out? Was there a better player available that they missed on?
Again, we’re now going into the fifth season since the 2015 draft. All of these players are likely known quantities by now.
The grade is determined by how the player has performed since the New York Islanders drafted them and grading them against the rest of the players that were available in that round.
So when looking at Mathew Barzal for example. How well has he done compared to the players selected from picks 17 to 31 in the first round? Did the Isles make the right choice to draft him? (Of course, they did.)
With 207 points in 234 games, Barzal ranks fifth in terms of points per game for first-rounders. And he won the Calder Trophy in 2017-18 for a stellar 85 point season.
Boston, who had draft picks 13 through 15, must feel like they missed a good opportunity to add a great player.
Anthony Beauvillier was a good pick up by Garth Snow late in the first round. Beau stepped into the NHL just two years after he was drafted, and while it’s taken him some time to get up to speed and stay consistent, it feels like we’re seeing the true Beau now.
His 127 points in 286 games rank him 16th in terms of points per game for 2015 first-rounders. Beau is a good middle-six player. The pick that Garth traded to get Beau was used to select Mitchell Stephens who has six points in 38 NHL games. It was a good call for Garth to move up.
I know I’m just judging based on the players selected after Beau in the first round, but looking at Sebastian Aho being drafted 35th overall you got to wonder what could have been if the Isles keep that 33rd overall pick they got from Edmonton.
Mitchell Vande Sompel had a great draft season with 63 points in 58 games with the Oshawa Generals. Unfortunately, that production didn’t keep up. I guess that’s what happens when you have a player that’s scoring 0.75 goal-per-game and putting up 93 points in 56 games. That player was Michael Dal Colle.
Looking around at who was available in the third round when the Isles picked Vande Sompel there isn’t a single player that has more than 22 NHL games under their belt.
Now in the AHL, Vande Sompel has been an alright pro.
He’s yet to make the jump to the NHL. But then, few in the fourth round have made that jump. Only 12 players have featured at least once at the NHL level and only three have played more than a full season’s worth of games. Mathieu Joseph for Tampa is the only player who has more than 82 games and was drafted after Wotherspoon in the fourth round.
Playing on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers second defensive pair with Grant Hutton, Wotherspoon is a steady pair of hands for the AHL outfit. He’s a solid player.
If the Isles were stuck on getting a defenseman they could have picked up Alexandre Carrier who has 37 points in 53 AHL games, but with the Islanders depth on the blue line, he may have given similar production to Wotherspoon’s.
if a forward was an option, Glenn Gawdin is perhaps the best player that was available.
Pilon is currently playing for the Rosthern Wheat Kings of the Twin Rivers Hockey League (TRHL). The TRHL is a Senior A hockey league out in Northern Saskatchewan.
There’s no guarantee that fifth-round picks turn into anything. So it’s no surprise that Pilon isn’t in the NHL. But Troy Terry and Adam Gaudette (both have played in the NHL this year) were selected with the two picks immediately after Pilon. So drafting an NHL player was very possible for the Isles.
A lot of fanfare was made over this selection because Song was the first Chinese born player to be drafted by an NHL team. Unfortunately, Song hasn’t been up to much and has yet to play a game for Cornell University.
But then, looking at the players drafted after him in the sixth round, none have played in the NHL. Some are playing in the AHL like Colby Williams (drafted by Washington). So the Isles could have picked up a more useful pick.
At this point in the draft, teams are basically throwing darts and hoping players stick. That may be a little reductive for the work scouts put in during the year, but a seventh-round pick is at best a hail-mary to make the NHL.
Hansson was last playing out in Austria and nowhere near the NHL. But looking at the players drafted after him none have reached the NHL. The closest is Jack Sadek for the Minnesota Wild who is currently with the Allen Americans of the ECHL