I know, there's a really good chance that the New York Islanders trade their 13th overall pick at the 2022 NHL Draft. But then again, we all said that in 2018 when the Islanders had back-to-back picks in the first round. And they used both of them to draft a player.
So, let's just assume they're going to use the pick again. Even if they should maybe trade it to fix an immediate need on the roster.
We all have our own opinion on who we want the Islanders to draft. I know I'd like to see the Isles take one of Brad Lambert, Connor Geekie, or Pavel Mintyukov (thanks Andre Minassian for turning me on to Mintyukov). But I'm no draft expert, I'm a fan so I look at things with a blue and orange tint. So, with that being said, who do the experts think the Isles will draft?
New York Islanders: Experts opinion on who they'll draft in '22 round 1
I've gone around the web to look at sources I trust for good draft information. Here's what they all thought could happen for the Islanders and the 13th overall pick:
The Athletic: Connor Geekie
Sportsnet: Brad Lambert
TSN: Jiri Kulich
DailFaceoff: Connor Geekie
Elite Prospect: Liam Öhgren
FCHockey: Cutter Gauthier
So there's quite the disparity there. The 2022 draft could be a wild one. That's perfectly reflected here. Connor Geekie is the only name that shows up twice on this list of six sources.
We've all heard of Brad Lambert by now. He's out in Finland playing for the Lahti Pelicans (the same team as Isles 2020 6th round pick Matias Rajaniemi). He's also Lane Lambert's nephew. Like Aatu Räty before him, Lambert was seen as a lock to be a top-end pick. But with a tough year, he's slid down the draft rankings.
You've probably also heard of Cutter Gauthier now. Outside of his epic name, he's put up 65 points in 54 games for the US National Development Program. I've seen him go much higher than 13, in various draft rankings.
Guys like Jiri Kulich and Liam Öhgren are new, even to me. I don't see the Islanders selecting either of them. Kulich had an impressive go in the Czech league but there's a reason you don't see him as high on other boards as on the TSN one.
Öhgren had some impressive numbers this past year but they're at the U20 level which doesn't compare well to the rest of the players named here (I'll get to that in a second). Öhgren could very well have some skill but not like the other guys named earlier.
When looking at NHLe - it's a way to give an NHL equivalent to a player's performance in another league- you can see who stands out versus others:
Cutter Gauthier: 14.11
Jiri Kulich: 13.66
Connor Geekie: 12.85
Brad Lambert: 6.13
Liam Öhgren: 3.81
Looking at NHLe stats, you can see who had the better year relative to the others. Of the players named, Cutter Gauthier is ahead of the rest, but the fact that he's projected to go earlier I doubt he ends up on the board when the Isles draft 13th.
Geekie seems like a solid pick, but I'd have a hard time passing up Brad Lambert considering how things went for Aatu Räty and considering Lane Lambert knows everything there is to know about the kid. In hockey those types of connections matter. A lot.