The New York Islanders hold the 13th, 65th, 78th,142nd, and 174th overall picks in the NHL draft this weekend. The question will be if the Islanders decide to use all their picks or use them in trades to improve the current roster.
The draft is never a sure thing, but the system is weak in prospects and will require some replenishment.
The top players in the system are currently forwards (Aatu Räty, William Dufour, and Simon Holmstrom) and are still a year or two away from seeing the NHL. The Bridgeport Islanders will be infused with the best of the prospects in the organization, but more is necessary.
Building or Trading?
The chatter around the hockey world is that the Islanders may now keep the 13th overall pick and use it to make a draft selection. The draft pool will allow the Islanders to potentially re-stock on picks if this is the direction chosen by GM Lou Lamoriello.
The prospects rankings from 15-40 have a plethora of talent at all positions. Being without a pick in each round, the Islanders may want to trade back in the first round and grab another pick or two.
This draft is especially deep in solid skaters and good-sized defensemen. The top forwards are undersized for the most part but loaded with either skill or hockey IQ. Trading back in the first round will still allow the Islanders to pick up a shut-down type defenseman and use the acquired pick for a defenseman with offensive upside that may be a project in their own zone.
The existing picks can be used on some key reliable two-way forwards that may not have reached their potential offensively.
If a trade that makes sense for the present is not available to Lamoriello, the objective should be to gather as many additional picks in the top 100 as possible.
The team may be in a win-now mode, but the future will be here quickly, and the prospect pool is thin. Hockey trades will still be available this summer to improve the current roster, but there is no need to force a trade at the draft when you may be able to replenish the farm with more picks.