Remember the New York Islanders 2012 draft? If not there are two things you should know about it. The first one is that Garth Snow desperately wanted to draft a defenseman, and a good one. He wanted a top-end D so bad he was rumored to have offered the Columbus Blue Jackets all of his seven picks at the draft for their second overall pick.
The second thing you should remember is that Garth Snow drafted a defenseman with every one of his picks that year. That’s right, all seven picks were defensemen.
So, where are these defensemen now, and did Snow eventually get that top-end defenseman he was looking for?
Where are all New York Islanders’ defensive picks from 2012?
Round 1, Pick 4: Griffin Reinhart
Where is he now: Belfast Giants (Unconfirmed)
With his first pick at the 2012 draft, Garth Snow selected Oil Kings defenseman, Griffin Reinhart. And look, there’s no other way to put it, but Reinhart was a bust. Between the Isles, Oilers, and Golden Knights, he played 37 NHL games.
He was not an NHL talent. There’s no debate on this.
After stops in China (Kunlun) and in Germany last year (Iserlohn), it seems Reinhart is headed to Belfast for the 2021-22 season.
Round 2, Pick 34: Ville Pokka
Where is he now: Avangard Omsk | KHL
He was moved to the Chicago Blackhawks as part of the trade that brought Nick Leddy to the Island in 2014, but he’d never play at the NHL level.
I’m sure that might bother him a bit, but he’s a KHL champion. So maybe not that much. Pokka was part of the Avangard Omsk side that won the Gagarin Cup last year.
You could say that maybe this pick was a bad one considering he never played for them, but the Isles were able to make him part of the Leddy trade, and Leddy was a huge piece of the Isles blueline from 2014 through 2021.
Round 3, Pick 65: Adam Pelech
Where is he now: New York Islanders | NHL
Garth Snow wanted his top-end defenseman in this draft and he’d eventually get one, he’d just have to wait till the third round to get one in Adam Pelech.
Pelech is one of the top shutdown defensemen in the game. Meanwhile, Ryan Murray, the guy Snow was willing to part with seven draft picks to get, is a depth defenseman for the Devils.
Round 4, Pick 103: Loic Leduc
Where is he now: N/A
Leduc didn’t play hockey last year, which isn’t a rarity with the whole COVID pandemic that went on. But he also hasn’t played in a professional league since 2017-18. Leduc played in the semi-pro LNAH for the past three years.
Round 5, Pick 125: Doyle Somerby
Where is he now: South Carolina Stingray | ECHL
Somerby stayed in college for four years with BU. He was the captain in 2016-17 when Kieffer Bellows was on the squad. He would join the Blue Jackets as a free agent after his college career in 2017-18.
He’s been with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays since 2020. SO not an NHL talent, but he’s not too far removed. Not a bad pick for the Islanders to make in the fifth round.
Round 6, Pick 155: Jesse Graham
Where is he now: Augsburger Panethes | DEL
Graham never played at the NHL level but he had a solid AHL career before heading to Europe for the next phase of his career. In 252 AHL games, the defenseman put up 88 points.
Graham stopped in Slovakia and Finland before landing in Germany for the 2021-22 season. During those stints in Slovakia and Finland, Graham scored 48 points in 98 games. Again, not a bad pick. It was certainly worth it to take him with a sixth-round pick.
Round 7, Pick 185: Jake Bischoff
Where is he now: Vegas Golden Knights | NHL
Sent to Vegas as part of Garth Snow protecting his NHL roster during the 2017 expansion draft, Bischoff has been with the Golden Knights ever since. He only has four games of NHL experience, but he’s been a valued member of their AHL squad which is why they signed him to a three-year contract in 2019.
Of all the defensemen drafted, it really seems like the only bad one (based on where they were selected) was Griffin Reinhart. You know, the fourth overall selection that year. Keep in mind Morgan Reilly, Hampus Lindholm, and Matt Dumba were the next three picks after Reinhart, so the Isles didn’t need to go “rogue” to make that pick turn into something.