The New York Islanders don’t have a great prospect pool. They might have a bit more talent than they get credit for but they don’t have any bluechip top-end guys in the system waiting to make the NHL.
Some of that weakness can be attributed to the fact that over the last five years they’ve made four picks in the first round. They traded a first-rounder in 2020 to the Ottawa Senators for Jean-Gabriel Pageau and they traded their first-rounder in 2017 to the Vegas Golden Knights for expansion draft considerations.
Ottawa now owns both of those players after a trade with Vegas two trade deadlines ago. Today, what could have been the Islanders 2017 first-round pick, will make his season debut with the Senators.
New York Islanders 2017 first-round pick used on Erik Brannstrom
In the hopes of stopping a nine-game losing streak, the Ottawa Senators are calling up defenseman Erik Brannstrom to the NHL for the first time this season.
Brannstrom was originally drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights with the 15th overall pick in 2017. The 5’10” Swedish defenseman was sent to Ottawa as the key piece for the Sens in the Mark Stone trade.
The young Swede was sent out on loan in October to the SCL Tigers of the Swiss National League. There he skated in ten games and put up eight points and, according to the play, he found his confidence.
The talented offensive-minded defenseman is stepping into a lineup that certainly won’t do a lot of winning this year, but he’ll get the chance to show off his skill on a young team.
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Had he been drafted by the Islanders he’d certainly still be in the AHL learning the ropes in a system that has a proven track record of churning out defensemen. Guys like Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Scott Mayfield, and the now-departed Devon Toews have all passed through the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on the way to solid NHL careers.
Don’t mistake this piece as “I wish we had Brannstrom”, this is more of an open-ended piece on what happened with that pick and what’s going on with them now.