Thinking of the players that the New York Islanders drafted outside of the first-round since 2005, who is their best pick? It's Anders Lee, isn't it?
Turning draft picks outside of the first round into serviceable NHL players is vital to building a winning team. Hitting on picks outside of the first round can mean all the difference in a league with so much parity like the NHL. Looking back at the New York Islanders draft picks since 2005, who would come out as the team's best pick outside of the first round?
There are a few players to choose from, not many, but a few. Picks outside of the first round aren't sure-fire NHL players, but since 2005, the Islanders have been able to find a few gems outside of the first round.
Guys like Andrew MacDonald (2006 6th round), Travis Hamonic (2008 2nd round), Matt Martin (2008 5th round), Casey Cizikas (2009 4th round), Anders Lee (2009 6th round), Adam Pelech (2012 3rd round), Devon Toews (2014 4th round).
What would be your pick? Would you give the nod to Jared Spurgeon?
It's Anders Lee
On Thursday, Sportsnet gave the nod to Jared Spurgeon for the Islanders. The Islanders drafted Spurgeon in the sixth round of the 2008 draft. But Spurgeon never played for the Islanders. The Isles let him walk as a free agent.
Sure, Spurgeon has put up a good career with the Minnesota Wild since 2010-11. He's a great puck-moving defenseman with incredible offensive upside. Letting him walk was a mistake by the Islanders.
But to keep Anders Lee's as an honorable mention to Spurgeon also seems like a mistake.
Lee is one of the best power forwards and goal scorers in the game. His ability to consistently generate offense in one of the toughest and physical areas of the game - the front of the net - is remarkable.
Lee has stepped into the league as a sixth-round pick (just like Spurgeon) and put up buckets of goals. His 162 goals since 2014-15 rank him 23rd in the NHL.
Both play different positions so comparing the two is going to be difficult. But what is clear is that both excel at their given role.
Anders Lee should have been an easy pick to take for the Islanders in this power ranking. It's strange that the author forced himself to look at a pick that never played for the Islanders rather than the current team captain.
The Islanders (and Vegas) were the only ones to receive the honor of not having their pick actually play for their franchise. I get why that's the case for Vegas; they've only been around since 2017. But the Isles had a number of quality candidates to pick from that actually played for them. Like Anders Lee.
This power ranking is just another feather in the "Anders Lee is underrated in the NHL" cap that he wears every day.