It’s a big day for JIM’s out there. Today, the New York Jets will likely draft BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the second overall pick. A pick that will hopefully turn the franchise around. With all the buzz about a draft today I thought about looking back at the New York Islanders 2020 draft.
Back in October, the Islanders selected five players. How have they performed this year and how do they rank in the Isles prospect pool?
Reviewing New York Islanders 2020 draft on NFL Draft day
In case you forgot, and I don’t blame you if you did, here are the five picks that Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders made at the 2020 NHL Draft (by round):
- Round 3: Alexander Ljungkrantz
- Round 4: Alex Jefferies
- Round 5: William Dufour
- Round 6: Matias Rajaniemi
- Round 7: Henrik Tikkanen
Now that all of their seasons are done and that everyone’s attention is on drafting, here’s a look back at these five prospects selected just over six months ago.
Alexander Ljungkrantz | Brynas/Stromsbro
Season stats: 16Pts in 15 Games (J20) / 12Pts in 14 Games (Div1)
I like Ljungkrantz. He’s a hard worker with a ton of speed and good skills. But it still seems like a reach to nab him in the third round.
He’s had a good year at the DIV 1 level for Strombro and should factor in Brynas’ SHL team next season so there’s still lots of potential there. But getting him in round three when he was likely to be available much later seems odd.
In speaking with Sweden head coach Tomas Monten it seems that Ljungkrantz could very well make Sweden’s WJC squad this winter. He won’t be won’t likely be in the top six but more of a bottom-six player and penalty killer.
Alex Jefferies | Merrimack College
Season stats: 10Pts in 12 Games
Skilled and intelligent. Jefferies is already having a huge impact for his team in his freshman year. The Islanders fourth-rounder from last year was a Hobey-Baker nominee this year thanks to his strong play for Merrimack.
Freshmen don’t usually have a ton of responsibility but Jefferies played top-six, on the power play, and on the penalty kill in his first year of college hockey. That alone is impressive.
He’s the highest-ranking prospect from the 2020 draft class by some margin. Keep your eyes on Jefferies he could be the gem of the class.
William Dufour | Drummondville Voltigeurs
Season stats: 29Pts in 23 Games
Dufour was having a great season before he picked up a knee injury in March. He’s been sidelined since then. Before the injury, he was lighting up the QMJHL.
Twice the fifth-round pick went on extended point streaks. The first was an eight-game streak from November 20 to January 30 where he collected seven goals and four helpers. His next was a seven-game streak with six goals and two helpers.
He’ll probably stay in juniors another year before going pro but a lot to like from the big goal-scoring winger with soft hands.
Matias Rajaniemi | Lahti Pelicans
Season stats: 9Pts in 46 Games
His scoring rate has him pretty low on my rankings. And that might not be quite fair. Rajaniemi is playing Noah Dobson level minutes against men in one of the better leagues in the world. And he’s only 18.
He’ll be a top-four defender for his Liiga side next season and I wouldn’t doubt if he makes Team Finland for the World Juniors as a top-four guy as well.
Henrik Tikkanen | IPK/KalPa
Season stats: .921SV% and 1.94 GAA (Liiga) / .875SV% and 3.25GAA (Mestis)
What a strange year for Tikkanen. Not only does he get drafted, which was a surprise to him, but he gets called up to the next level (Liiga) and does very well averaging less than two goals against and 0.921SV%. But when he eventually returns to the lower league he can’t get in a game and sits and watches as his team claims the Bronze medal in the Mestis league.
The big goalie (he’s 6’7″) will play at the Liiga level next year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does very well again.
(PS: I don’t rank goalies yet because I haven’t found a good way to account for different levels of play yet.)