The first round of the draft was completed last night, with the New York Islanders not participating in the actual drafting part. The Isles traded the 13th overall pick to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Alexander Romanov and the Canadiens fourth-round pick, 98th overall.
The Canadiens then traded the 13th pick to the Chicago Blackhawks. for Kirby Dach. The Hawks went on to select Frank Nazar.
Romanov is a young, puck-moving defenseman that was selected 38th overall by the Canadiens in the 2018 draft. Romanov will provide a strong physical presence on the blue line for years to come.
The Islanders essentially have locked up their top 4 defense group with Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Noah Dobson, and now Romanov. The 22-year-old Moscow native will also provide the physicality that may leave next summer with Scott Mayfield's contract expiring.
Today, the Islanders hold the last pick in the second round that they acquired from the current Stanley Cup Champions. The draft pick acquired in the Romanov trade is essentially a late third-rounder as the first pick in the fourth round, which is a nice addition to the trade.
Let’s look at some prospects that would be quality picks on the second day. The Islanders may need to use picks and trade up to get a player that they like instead of using multiple late-round picks in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough.
Chesley has been a first-round pick by some scouts in their rankings as a 6-foot, 187-pound defenseman. A US National Team Developed defenseman, Chesley has a similar scouting report to Dougie Hamilton’s in 2011.
The offensive ability is there for Chesley, but he has not tapped into it just yet.
"Chesley has some physical assets that pop off the page from a pro projection. He’s a NHL-caliber skater who can transition pucks up ice very well with his speed. He has average size, but he’s quite strong and physical. With his mobility he’s able to close on checks well, and often uses his body to land hard hits to separate pucks from players. He has good individual skill, with the hands to beat checks one-on-one and generate a lot of power off his one-timer. Chesley isn’t a gifted puck-mover though and can struggle at times with his puck distribution. He projects as a full-time second- or third pair defenseman depending on how much the offense translates to higher levels."- Corey Pronman
Flashy is not something that would describe Chesley, but he does almost everything well. He is a good skater, smart with the puck, and makes a good first pass.
Additionally, Chesley will not be a risk to turn over the puck as he makes the smart plays up the ice.
The Islanders could use a prospect like Chesley to strengthen the prospect group, especially their blue line.
Luca Del Belluz
Luca is a slick, playmaking center that is also reliable away from the puck.
"Del Bel Belluz is a very skilled center with decent size. He has the crafty puck skills to manipulate the puck in tight areas and often shows he can beat defenders one on one. He can run a power play off the flank due to his very good vision and shot although I don’t see that as his role in the NHL. He lacks foot speed for the higher levels, but he works hard enough and provides some two-way value down the middle. He projects as a top-nine forward. With his feet he may struggle to stick at center but if he does it’s on the third line."- Corey Pronman
This is a player that truly makes his wingers better and could tap into more potential once he fills out. The hockey sense is extremely high and has been a great matchup player for his junior squad.
The ceiling could lower if he does not improve his skating, but many feel that he will improve while practicing with better talent.
The playmaking comparisons spells echo's of Josh Bailey coming out of the 2008 draft.
The name may seem familiar to Islanders fans, as his father (also Mats Lindgren) played for the Islanders for parts of four seasons. His father was part of the trade involving Tommy Salo to the Edmonton Oilers.
Unlike his father, the younger Lindgren is a defenseman.
"You’re drafting Lindgren for his offense. He’s a constant threat with the puck on his stick due to his offensive skill and especially his IQ. He makes a ton of clever plays with the puck on outlets and inside the offensive zone. He has good enough speed to go with his skill that Lindgren can also be a threat off the rush. His defending won’t be his calling card as a pro, but he skates and competes well enough to be competent to play a regular shift in the NHL."- Corey Pronman
Lindgren is a smooth-skating defenseman that can move the puck. It is easy to see him being a power-play QB down the line with his offensive attributes.
Defensively, Lindgren struggles and can be a problem on his own end of the ice. If he can be coached up on defense, this could be a real still in the middle rounds.
The offensive skills are translatable to the NHL and coaching should certainly spruce up the defensive side of things for him.
Some honorable mentions for Lamoriello to look out for are Jack Hughes and Seamus Casey.
Hughes is another solid defensive prospect that can skate and has good hockey sense. He has been buried in the rankings due to playing college hockey at Northeastern University. His stats would project better in a junior league.
Casey is on the smaller side for a defenseman but has a great first pass, with great speed. He needs to develop the rest of his game but has a similar skill set to the Islanders’ Sebastian Aho.