Five of the best late-round draft picks in NY Islanders history

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages
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The draft is always a crap shoot. Even the best talent evaluators will tell you that.

Some players seem like sure-fire stars who turn into a bust, and others are no-names who rise from the ashes to be legitimate players. The New York Islanders have a decent history with late-round draft picks. While most won't amount to much in the NHL, those that do can make a great impact on an organization for yeaThat’s why scouting is so important. You have to be able to find the diamonds in the rough to sustain long term success.

The Islanders currently have a few late round draft picks that they’re very excited for. Matthew Maggio (round five), William Dufour (round five), Isaiah George (round four), and Alex Jefferies (round four) all have given Islander fans some hope for the future with their recent play in junior/college. Will any of those players make this list in a few years? We’ll just have to see and let everything play out.

In the meantime, let's take a look at the five best late round draft picks in Islanders history.

Stefan Persson

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Graig Abel/GettyImages

Selected in the 14th round at pick 214 of the 1974 Draft, Stefan Persson was incredibly productive for the Islanders. He was a staple on the blue line during the Islanders four cup dynasty, Persson had a wonderful nine year career, spending all nine of his years on the Island. Persson played in over 600 games registering 52 goals and 369 goals, along with over 100 playoff games that brought the Islanders four consecutive Stanley Cups.

Persson will never be recognized by the casual fan, but die hard Islanders fans who were there for the dynasty years will tell you all about him. He was as steady as can be, and provided a sense of stability along with Denis Potvin on the power play. To this day, he holds an NHL record for rookie defensemen with 50 assists, and an Islanders franchise point record for rookie d-men with 56 points. Eventually, he was traded to the Winnipeg Jets towards the end of the 85-86 season. However, he refused to report to Winnipeg, retiring from the NHL and finishing his playing career in Sweden. Nowadays, Persson serves as the general manager for Borås HC of HockeyEttan.

David Volek

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Graig Abel/GettyImages

David Volek will always be a name that lives forever in Islander history. In 1984, the Islanders drafted Volek in the 10th round, 208th overall, but didn’t make his NHL debut until 1988 after fleeing from Czechoslovakia. His first four years in America were successful, registering 82 goals, including two 20-plus goal seasons, until injuries started to affect his play. 

In 1993, while his season was far from spectacular, Volek scored one of the more famous goals in Islander history. In the second round of the 1993 playoffs, Volek scored a goal in overtime in game seven, to defeat the two-time defending champs Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately, the injuries got worse, as he was forced to retire from hockey due to a herniated disc. Nowadays, Volek has been an assistant coach in Prague with HC Sparta Praha since 2005.

Vladimir Malakhov

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Graig Abel/GettyImages

Vladimir Malakhov had a wonderful career in the NHL, especially for someone drafted in the 10th round. The 6’4 227 pound defenseman served as a strong presence on the blueline for those early 90s Islanders teams. His rookie year, he registered 52 points, with 14 goals and was a critical piece to the 1993 team who made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Ultimately, in the midst of his third season, the Islanders ended up trading Malakhov, along with Pierre Turgeon for the notorious Kirk Muller and Mathieu Schneider. The trade wasn’t viewed all that positively since Muller hardly showed that he was interested, before getting shipped off in the 95-96 season. Malakhov ended up having a successful career in the NHL, playing 546 more games after the trade, with 346 points, and now serves as a player development coach for the Islanders.

Anders Lee

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Three
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Three / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The 2009 draft probably will go down as one of the Islanders better drafts in the past 20 years. However, one of the better valued picks of that draft was Anders Lee. The Islanders captain was a sixth round draft pick after many teams were unsure of Lee’s future, since he was also a star quarterback in high school. Eventually he stuck with hockey, and became a huge part for Notre Dame’s hockey program. Once he transitioned to the pros, Lee turned into one of the Islanders’ efficient goal scorers, eclipsing the 30 goal mark twice, and once in the 40s. He’s also a fan favorite, winning over the hearts of fans after an ugly divorce with former captain John Tavares. Through his 10 year career on the Island, Lee has posted 240 career goals in 678 games and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

Devon Toews

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders
Florida Panthers v New York Islanders / Al Bello/GettyImages

This one hurts to write. While playing at Quinnipiac University, the Islanders selected Devon Toews in the fourth round of the 2014 Draft. Toews was well on his way to becoming a legitimate player in the NHL, until injuries hurt his chances for an earlier call up. Eventually, he was called up in late 2018, and never looked back. He was a staple on the Islanders blueline and helped them reach the playoffs in his two years on the Island, including a visit to the Eastern Conference Finals. Ultimately in 2020, he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for a pair of second round picks due to a cap crunch, and won the Stanley Cup in 2022. The Islanders surely miss his presence on the blue line.