A deeper dive into the newest NY Islanders prospect Cole Eiserman

2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Candice Ward/GettyImages
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When Lou Lamoriello acquired the 20th overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, moving back two spots, he likely didn't believe that Cole Eiserman would still be on the board. But after day one of the draft, Eiserman is now a member of the NY Islanders.

The top goalscorer in the history of the USNTDP, Eiserman was once considered to challenge Macklin Cellebrini as the draft's most prized prospect. But while Cellebrini's stock continued to rise, Eisenman's began to drop.

Eiserman overtook Cole Caufield's goalscoring record this season, scoring 127 goals in his time with the USNTDP. Founded in 1996, Eiserman has names like Phil Kessel, Auston Matthews, and Patrick Kane in his rearview mirror.

“Eiserman can teleport pucks from anywhere in the offensive zone to the top corner,” said Mitch Brown, Director of North American Scouting for Elite Prospects in their draft guide (paid subscription). “He has the biggest wheelhouse of a shooter that we have seen in several drafts. Back foot, front foot, way across the body…It doesn’t matter. He can put it hard on the net. The second before a goal, he is incredible.”

As the season progressed, scouts began to poke more holes in Eiserman's game. Aside from his goal-scoring prowess, there isn't much more to his game. If he's not filling the net, he doesn't necessarily have a 'B' game to fall back on.

In December when Team USA announced thier camp invites, Eiserman was a surprise omission, with younger players like 2025 top prospect James Hagens receiving an invite. From there it seemed like his stock was beginning to plummet and scouts were looking for more to his game.

The Islanders have been stung in the past when selecting some of the top shooters in a draft, including Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom. Bellows was selected 19th overall in 2016 and now plays in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies after passing through waivers with two teams. Wahlstrom is an RFA who hasn't lived up to the hype, with his future on Long Island in question.

"His critics will compare him to Oliver Wahlstom, who didn't reach his potential because the rest of his game never got there," said Scott Wheeler of The Athletic. "Wahlstrom scored 72 goals in 125 games. Eiserman scored 127 in 119 games. I think we're talking about a different level of finisher."

So we understand that Eiserman can rack up the goals, but what other things does he do well? His physicality is probably his second-best attribute. Standing at 6'0" and just under 200 lbs, Eiserman doesn't shy away from contact. He's willing to battle with opponents in front of the net, looking for rebounds to hammer home. Any way he can find himself on the scoresheet he'll willingly get involved with.

On the defensive end of the ice is where Eiserman's shortcomings rear their ugly head. He's not the most willing to engage defensively, often cheating out of the zone to start a rush the other way. When he's not scoring goals he often looks disengaged. He won't be filling the net in the NHL like he's done to this point of his career, so he'll need to do away with that habit ASAP.

A lot of the things people consider negative about Eiserman can be fixed with coaching. Next year Eiserman will be attending Boston University, playing under former Islander Jay Pandolfo. Most known for his time with the NJ Devils, Pandolofo won two Stanley Cups with Lamoriello as the GM. So it's safe to say that Lamoriello believes Eiserman is in good hands at BU, and will surely be in contact with Pandolfo often.

One of the youngest players in this year's draft, Eiserman was just two weeks away from being eligible for the 2025 NHL Draft. Still only 17 years old, he has room to grow and mature.

Eiserman sees himself as a unique player and feels that he fell into a great situation with the Islanders and No. 20.

"I felt like they really kind of understood me as a player," Eiserman said in his post-draft interview according to Stefan Rosner of The Hockey News. "And I always respect people like that because it takes a different mindset, I think, to kind of understand how I think and how I play the game," Eiserman said. "So it was very comfortable, and I'm super excited to be with them.

With the comparisons to Bellows and Wahlstrom, there's hope that Eiserman turns out like one of the greatest goal-scorers of all time, who dropped on draft day 47 years ago.

"Maybe fitting that the Islanders pick Cole Eiserman," said EJ Hradek of the NHL Network on X. " In 1977, they took a chance on another goal scorer who dropped a bit in the first round. Mike Bossy did pretty well."

Eiserman is still at least one or two years away from making his NHL debut, and a good season at BU can surely expedite that process. If he can become the player they hope he can, Eiserman can become a deadly third member of the Islanders top line alongside Mat Barzal and Bo Horvat.

All in all, taking a chance on a player with the potential upside of Eiserman is worth the risk at No. 20. A potential 50-goal scorer in the NHL, the Islanders hope they found their next big goal scorer.