With the 2020 NHL Entry Draft over it’s time to get to know the five players that the New York Islanders drafted today.
The 2020 draft is over. It took two days with round one lasting about four hours on Tuesday while round two through seven took what felt like days to completion Wednesday. After trading their first and second-round pick to the Ottawa Senators, the New York Islanders didn’t get to make a pick until round three. The wait was excruciating for the Isles to get on the clock.
In total, the Islanders made five picks from round three through to round seven. We won’t know how good any of these players are for a few years so I’m not going to go into who is or isn’t a good pick.
Each player has talent, and the organization saw something they liked about each of them. We’ll only be able to criticize the pick in a few years time. What we can do now is find out as much as we can about the pick.
Round Three – Alexander Ljungkrantz
His last name looks intimidating to pronounce but it gets easier after a few practice attempts. You’ll probably say it wrong the first few times, but you’ll get it. If you want some help figuring out the pronunciation here’s a good helper.
Ljungkrantz is a Swedish winger with a left shot. He’s currently playing for Brynas of the SHL. In 42 games with Bryna’s U20 team, last season Ljungkrantz put up 27 points. Keep in mind he only turned 18 in February.
According to EliteProspect’s draft guide, Ljungkrantz is a hard worker with a good defensive and simple game. Perfect for the Barry Trotz system.
He’s not the biggest at 6’1″ 185lbs, but he’s a decent-sized player.
I’ve already started to pay more attention to the Swedish league with Wahlstrom and Holmstrom out there. What’s another name on the pile?
Round Four – Alex Jefferies
Jefferies had a monster season for The Gunnery (the full name is The Gunnery Prep School Highlanders) of the USHS with 33 goals and 69 points in 32 games. If you’re unfamiliar with the league it’s produced players like Zach Parise and Jonathan Toews.
He leaves the school with the second-most points in program history with 126 points in 63 games. He’s committed to Merrimack College although he was offered a chance to play for BU and said no thanks.
Jefferies is a shifty winger (shoots right) with a ton of speed and generates a ton of offense from that speed and shiftiness. Speed. Offense. Right-shot. All are things Islanders fans love to hear about someone in their system.
Fun fact: Jefferies U16 team was called the Islanders. Sometimes things happen for a reason.
Round Five – William Dufour
Think Anders Lee but with a right-handed shot. Dufour is only 18 but he’s already 6’3″ and 201lbs who finds success in the font of the net.
He already has three helpers in two games for the Drummondville Voltigeur of the QMJHL this season. He put up 55 points in 59 games last year between the Voltigeur and Ssaguenéens.
Round Six – Matias Rajaniemi
The 6’4″ defenseman is young for his draft class with a September birthdate. He’s playing for the Pelicans (Lathi) in the Finnish Liiga. He put up 17 points in 39 games playing with Lathi’s U20 team in 2019-20. He plays big minutes (even on the power play) and apparently has a big shot.
Add him to your Finnish watch list alongside 2018 second-round pick Ruslan Iskhakov.
Round Seven – Henrik Tikkanen
If you thought Rajaniemi was a big kid at 6’4″ wait till you see Tikkanen. The Finnish goalie stands at 6’8″. Zdeno Chara, the tallest player in the NHL is 6’9″. The tallest goalie is Ben Bishop at 6’7″.
Playing in Finland’s lower league (Mestis) this season, Tikkanen holds a 1.50GAA and 0.933SV% in two games. Last season with IFK’s U20 team he averaged a 0.895SV% in 39 games.
After letting Linus Soderstrom leave as a UFA, the Islanders needed a goalie in the system this is the guy they took. I hope he becomes something I desperately want to see someone that large in net