In traditional Lou Lamoriello fashion, he traded away the New York Islanders' first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. Granted, the return was Bo Horvat, so there were hardly any complaints from Isles fans (although that changed for some during the season and playoffs).
However, organizational depth is critical to the team's long-term success.
"Our scouts feel that it's a deep draft," said Lamoriello at his end-of-the-season press conference. His son Chris, along with six other scouts, have been at the combine this week and have been conducting player interviews. Lamoriello even cited how he can watch and participate in the interviews from his office on Long Island.
The players picked on June 28-29 won't be contributing anytime soon, but with only five picks in this draft, they'll need to hit home runs. With no first-rounders, the Islanders will pick in the second round at No. 49. The Islanders selected D Calle Odelius with the 65th overall pick last season. The year prior, they drafted Aatu Raty at No. 52. In the case of Raty, a former projected top selection, his development over two years got him first into the NHL and part of a trade package that brought back Horvat in a deal with the Vancouver Canucks.
There's value in the second round. Defenseman Scott Mayfield, Robin Salo, and Samuel Bolduc were all taken in the second by the Islanders, and all have made it in the NHL, with Mayfield being part of the organization for over 10 years. With that, let's take a look at five options that may be among the best available when the Isles turn is up.