The NHL Draft Lottery has come to a conclusion and the New York Islanders are locked in at the 13th overall selection. It remains to be seen if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello will use the selection to draft a prospect to add to a pretty thin prospect pool, or if he will move the pick after showing signs of already being aggressive early in the Islanders offseason. If Lamoriello opts to draft, let's dive into who he could target 13th overall.
*All descriptions via DP Scouting Team’s April Rankings for the 2022 NHL Draft, Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects
Cutter Gauthier, LW, USA U-18 (NTDP)
"Gauthier is one of the hardest-working players on the ice, with a propensity for getting in on the forecheck with speed and looking to get physical with the defense to force turnovers. He is a solid distributor but the timing of his playmaking is the standout part of his passing game as he holds onto the puck and waits for play to develop instead of rushing the pass. Gauthier’s physical presence in the attacking end earns him space in front of the net where he fearlessly looks for rebounds, and his gritty play along the boards helps to sustain possessions. He has decent hands and can attack players head-on by beating them with a combination of his size, speed, or skill in a bid to fire off his shot which happens to be his best attribute. Gauthier’s well-rounded game offers something for every team to find appealing in a potential first-round pick, providing the projectable floor of a top-nine forward with the potential to grow into a top-six scorer."- Nick Richard
Marco Kasper, C, Rogle (SWEDEN)
"From his earliest days in the SHL last season up until now, Kasper has used his skating and competitiveness to fuel his game. Not only is he able to play to the speed of the SHL, he is able to dictate the pace. In addition to his raw speed, the Austrian forward is able to use his 6-1 frame to create havoc around the opposing net, providing net-front screens and the ability to deflect incoming shots with his good hand-eye coordination. Kasper can certainly play a gritty game as well and I would expect that to increase as he progresses and eventually begins his NHL career. The intensity and size are there, and he is being utilized in something of a grinding, bottom-six role with Rögle already. His skating ability pairs with this intensity to benefit his two-way game which should make him a reliable player at the next level as he is able to evaluate an opponent’s trajectory and maintain good positioning during defensive shifts. Kasper is an incredibly hard-working player in all three zones and that mindset should serve him well on his path to the NHL."- Nick Richard
Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW, Djurgarden (SWEDEN)
"His stick-handling and scoring ability has earned the respect of coaches and teammates alike. He appears frequently on Djurgårdens’ powerplay, manning the half wall where his hard, accurate shot, which he can utilize from any range, has made him an extremely valuable addition. Looking deeper into why Lekkerimäki is capable of beating goalies with ease, it begins with his patience. If Lekkerimäki doesn’t have an open lane, he waits to fire his shot or looks for a pass option. He is a natural goal scorer but his passing ability is noteworthy as well. Another part of Lekkerimäki’s goal-scoring excellence is his release time. No matter if he is net-front or shooting from a faceoff circle, he’s able to get a shot off with no hesitation. Lekkerimäki has impressed already but it is clear that there is much more potential for him to develop. He has clear powerplay upside, between his creativity, pace, and shot. Additionally, he will be a great asset in transitional play and can help out on the defensive end. He may be a prospect that requires some patience but Lekkerimäki should be well worth the wait."- Nick Richard
Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)
"Geekie has what NHL GMs crave at the draft table: size, as his 6-4 frame projects very well to withstand the rigors of the NHL. There is also no questioning his puck skills as he has the ability to handle the puck in traffic using his tremendous reach. Geekie uses his size very well as he can shield the puck on the boards, but when he tries to do everything himself he can ruin a good scoring chance. That is not to say his hockey IQ is poor; rather it is great, as he can find open teammates in the offensive zone after creating traffic with the opposition focusing on him. He also has a good sense of pressure and when to move into open space in the offensive zone. In any real scoring position, Geekie has a great shot that can beat goalies clean with the combination of a deceptive release and power behind the puck. His downside comes from his clunky style of skating which may hold him back from being a top-six NHL player. Additionally, he will need to correct lackadaisical defending in his own zone and the occasional panic when under pressure from opposing forecheckers. Geekie possesses plenty of intriguing qualities in an NHL center but there is plenty of risk that comes along with that package."- Nick Richard
Rutger McGroarty, RW, USA U-18 (NTDP)
"McGroarty is another in a long list of dual-threat forwards that the NTDP has at their disposal with this special crop of players. He has good size, a nice shot, and good hands in tight to beat opposing defenders. He finds himself in good scoring positions often and has the accurate shot, as well as sneaky good playmaking skills, to make something happen once he receives the puck. McGroarty sometimes fades into the background in games and doesn’t have much of an impact on the outcome, so consistency is something that he will have to continue to work on. His skating is something that has been a concern all season as he isn’t the lightest on his feet and can struggle at keeping up with the pace of the game. A well-rounded player with a nice set of tools at his disposal, McGroarty still has a couple of pieces to his game that require further refinement but he should draw interest in the first round."- Nick Richard
Given the need for more high skilled forwards in the Islanders prospect pipeline, especially on the wing, it seems likely Lamoriello and Co. will go with a forward if they make a selection at 13th overall. The 2022 NHL Entry Draft is filled with skilled forwards that could surely boost the prospect pool and the aforementioned are just a few possible options projected to be selected in and around the Islanders 13th overall selection.