1995 – Traded Away
Total games played: 34
Biggest impact: Vladimir Orszagh
Thirty-four NHL games are all they got out of seven picks in 1995 and all 34 came from fifth-round pick Vladimir Orszagh. In the first two rounds, the Isles drafted Wade Redden (1,023 NHL games), Jan Hlavac (436 NHL games), and D.J. Smith (45 NHL games).
Redden was sent to Ottawa in a three-team trade that included the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hlavac never came over to North America to play for the Isles. D.J. Smith was sent to Toronto in that Wendel Clark deal.
With only 34 games played from picks made by the Isles in 1995, it was the least impactful draft class of the decade.
1998 – ReDrafted
Total games played: 42
Biggest impact: Evgeny Korolev
With the ninth overall pick in the 1998 draft, the Islanders selected Mike Rupp. Rupp would go unsigned and would be eventually re-drafted by the Devils with the 76th overall pick in 2000.
To think, Nikolai Antropov and Alex Tanguay were drafted with the tenth overall and 12th overall pick that year. Both would play well over 700 NHL games.
1997 – More Trades
Total games played: 116
Biggest impact: Eric Brewer
The Isles had the fourth and fifth overall pick at the 1997 draft. They used those picks to take Roberto Luongo and Eric Brewer. Both would play over 1,000 games in the NHL over their careers, neither would top 100 games with the Islanders.
The 1997 draft class was yet another draft class used to bring in vets. Sure Mark Parrish and Roman Hamrlik were good players, but so were the guys they gave up. One, Luongo, could very well end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame.