With the NHL Draft next week, let’s take a look at some people the New York Islanders can target with their picks in rounds three to seven.
I think this is the least excited that I’ve been about a draft in a long time. The New York Islanders traded their pick in the first and second round for J.G. Pageau back at the trade deadline. It was the right move, and I have no issue with the decision made by Lou Lamoriello.
It’s just hard to get hyped about prospects who are closer to the 100th ranked than they are a first-round grade. The Islanders currently hold picks 90, 120, 151, 182, and 213. That could change if the Isles decide to move off some pieces in the next week, but for now, we’re going to operate with what we know.
If I was the one making the selections on draft day, here’s the direction that I would go:
Round 3 – Pick 90: Ryder Rolston RW – Right
Son of former Islander, Brian Rolston, Ryder is a late birthday forward who is committed to the University of Notre Dame for 2020-2021. This past year for the Waterloo Black Hawks, he netted 16 goals and 33 points in 42 games.
Rolston’s game is described as a goalscorer more than a playmaker. He has a strong wrist shot and he isn’t afraid to shoot often (sounds like something the Islanders could use). He could be a diamond in the rough top-six player but more than likely he’ll be a good third-line player with a sneaky good shot.
Round 4 – Pick 120: Winter Wallace C – Right
First of all, Winter Wallace is an elite level name that drew my attention to him but after further review, he seems worthy of a fourth-round swing. He’s a big boy at six-foot-three and 201 pounds and as he continues to grow, I’m curious to see how that size translates.
In 44 games last year with his USHS-Prep team he had 50 points and 19 goals. He supposedly has good skating ability for his size which makes him an intriguing piece, he will play his hockey at Michigan State next season.
Round 5 – Pick 151: Zach Uens D – Left
Uens is a tall left-handed defenseman from Belleville, Ontario. He was draft-eligible last year but likely wasn’t selected because of injuries. This past year, he made up for that with his play on the ice.
For Merrimack College, in the NCAA, he had 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists) in 34 games played. He’s going to return to play there next year, as he looks to build on his already impressive skating and focus in on some other areas of concern. Regardless, a potentially good find in the later rounds.
Round 6 – Pick 182: Ville Ottavainen D – Right
Born in Finland, Ottavainen moved over to the OHL for the 2019-2020 season. The six-foot-four 201 pounder had just 15 points in 53 games. He will not be returning to the OHL and instead will return to Liiga for the 2020-2021 season.
Lou and I both like big defensemen, so a player like this absolutely seems like a possibility in the late rounds for the Isles.
Round 7 – Pick 213: Benjamin Baumgartner C – Left
Baumgartner is an older prospect, at 20 years old and he’s only five-foot-nine which has him in the late rounds. I would absolutely take a swing on this kid because there is a ton of offensive upside with him.
He had 27 points in 37 games for HC Davos, and projects as a playmaking kind of center. Lou wasn’t afraid to draft Ruslan Ishkakov who is only five-foot-eight in the second round, maybe he takes a swing on this kid late.
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Even without early picks, Lamoriello can potentially find some good late rounders. May I remind you that Anders Lee, Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin, and Devon Toews were all late-round finds for the Islanders.