5 Prospects the NY Islanders should target at Pick No. 49 in the NHL Draft

U18 Ice Hockey World Championship 2023 - Semi Final
U18 Ice Hockey World Championship 2023 - Semi Final / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages
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Alex Ciernik

Alex Ciernik is one of the more dynamic players projected to go in the second round. The 5’10 winger has spent most of his career in Sweden, but has made his name internationally. Representing Slovakia, Ciernik dominated the U18 WJC, as well as the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, combining for 39 points in 23 games.

His skating is simply a treat to watch. It looks like he floats on the ice, and can make plays that very few can. He possesses an incredible intelligence with the puck on his stick, and pairing that with his elite skating can be a deadly combination. While he does look for the pass more often than not, he does have an exceptionally quick and strong shot. What has made him slip to the second round is his defensive shortcomings. Not only does he tend to get lost in the play, his strength needs to drastically improve. By no means is he afraid to take a hit, but with a lack of strength, he’ll be bullied once teams figure him out. If he manages to focus on improving, Ciernik has an extraordinary chance to be a top-six forward in the NHL.