The New York Islanders have become one of the NHL’s top teams since Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz arrived. However, the 2021 and 2022 NHL Drafts are critical to the Islanders prospect pool moving forward.
In becoming a top team the New York Islanders have also become a major buyer these last couple of years. Saw that last year with the acquisition of J.G Pageau and this year with Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. However, it has cost some serious draft capital, as the Isles had to surrender their 2020 and 2021 first-round picks.
Improving the Prospect Pool
The Islanders prospect pool currently is not in a robust state. The Isles do have a couple of young blue liners to be excited about in Robin Salo and Samuel Bolduc. Both seem to be very close to starting their NHL careers. Also, while it’s been a work in prospect for Bode Wilde, keep in mind he recently turned 21 and has size and skill.
With Ilya Sorokin finally, on Long Island, the Isles should be set with a number one goaltender for years to come. The big issue with the Isles prospect pool is their forwards.
Kieffer Bellows has had great moments but consistency especially playing without the puck has been his issue. Otto Koivula can become a solid third or fourth-line center, although if the Isles resign Casey Cizikas there isn’t a role for him with the big club unless he is switched back to wing.
Then there is Simon Holmstrom, the Isles first-round pick in 2019 who has yet to get it going since being the 23rd overall selection. Holmstrom doesn’t turn 20 until next month but right now he is far from a blue-chip prospect.
Next Two Drafts
Given the Islanders’ lack of forwards in their prospect pool, their next two drafts are critical in terms of stocking up that group. Over the next three-four years, many of the current Islander veteran forwards will either be gone or have reduced roles. The Isles will need to replace these veterans.
In the upcoming Draft, the Islanders have one selection in each round from rounds two through seven (have Colorado’s 2nd-Round pick). In the 2022 Draft, the Islanders currently own their own first-round pick and two second-rounders (their own plus Colorado’s). These picks will be huge for the blue and orange.
Keep in mind, the Islanders might have to trade more draft capital this summer. The Isles will have another cap squeeze this summer and might have to move a draft pick so another club takes a veteran such as Leo Komarov and or Thomas Hickey and their cap hit.
The Islanders are not like Cinderella where midnight will strike soon due to their prospect pool. However, for the long-term, the next two drafts are very important.