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Islanders 2021 draft grade: Top honors for solid weekend

Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Over two days the NHL crawled through seven rounds of selects and 224 picks. Honestly, day two felt like it would go on forever. Through it all, the New York Islanders left the draft floor with an impressive haul of prospects.

While they didn’t have a first-round pick, the Islanders left the draft with first-round talent. So here’s a look at who they picked, from where, and what Lou Lamoriello and his staff deserve for a grade.

New York Islanders get an A for the 2021 draft class

Over the weekend, the Islanders made six selections from rounds two through seven. They didn’t trade up or down. They just used the picks they had and pulled the players they wanted. Here’s who they selected:

  • Round 2: Aatu Raty (Karpat | Liiga | Center)
  • Round 3: Tristan Lennox (Saginaw Spirit | OHL | Goalie)
  • Round 4: Cameron Berg (Muskegon Lumberjacks | USHL | Center)
  • Round 5: Eetu Liukas (TPS | Liiga | RW)
  • Round 6: Aleksi Malinen (JYP | Liiga | Defense)
  • Round 7: Tomas Machu (Vitkovice | Czech | Defense)

The key to the draft is at the top with Aatu Raty. A few years back Raty was seen as a sure first overall selection. To get him at 52 is a huge win for the Islanders system which is short on quality. Sure, Raty had a bad 2020-21 year, but he’s a top talent. Case and point, he put up four goals in a 5-2 win over Sweden just hours after being drafted.

There are questions that Raty still needs to address regarding his drastic drop-off last year, and he knows that. Look out this year, because Raty has something to prove.

From there the Islanders drafted adequately rated players. Remember the story from the Isles last few drafts was “reaching back”. They reached far back to get Simon Holmstrom in 2019 and they reach way back to get Alexander Ljungkrantz.

This time they stayed as close to the “board” as one could in a year with so much volatility due to COVID.

To me, the Islanders deserve an A for their 2021 draft class. The one thing I wanted them to do was to “not go rogue”. Take the best available talent. They did that today. And they got a potential elite-level player in Raty. Today was a good day for the Islanders.

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