Since the Lou Lamoriello era began on Long Island in 2018, the NY Islanders have seen more success than during the entirety of Garth Snow's tenure as general manager. Success on the ice has come at a hefty cost for Lamoriello and the Isles, with the prospect pool as its currency.
In three of the five NHL Drafts with Lamoriello at the helm (2023 being the fourth year), the Isles have been without a first-round pick, having a deeply adverse effect on the quality within the organization's system.
In total, Lamoriello’s draft picks between 2018 and 2022 have appeared in a total of 479 games - 449 of which have been played by former first-round picks Noah Dobson (238), Oliver Wahlstrom (161), and Simon Hölmstrom (50). While hitting on first-round picks is an essential building block for any team, there’s much to be desired in the prospects selected in the second round or later.
With only 30 games played among players drafted between rounds 2-7 (Samuel Bolduc 17, Aatu Räty 12, and William Dufour 1), the organization has failed to develop many of its later picks, whether that be while playing with the Bridgeport Islanders or their respective junior/European teams.
A third-round pick in 2019, Alexander Ljungkrantz, recently re-signed with Almtuna to remain in Sweden, and 2018 second-round pick Bode Wilde, may not be given a qualifying offer from the organization by the July 3 deadline. Others like Cameron Berg, Alex Jefferies, and Christian Krygier have spent the last few seasons slowly developing in the NCAA.
Matthew Maggio and Isaiah George, drafted in the later rounds in 2022, are two young hopefuls to reverse this trend in the coming years.
Maggio, drafted as an over-age player in the fifth round from the Windsor Spitfires, was named OHL MVP, signing his entry-level contract with the Islanders following his final junior appearance, joining the Bridgeport Islanders at the start of next season.
George, a fluid skating, two-way defenseman with the London Knights, has taken significant strides in his development this past season. He was a pivotal piece in London's' run to the OHL finals and will be an essential cog along the blue line for the organization in 2023-24.
While some prospects drafted three or four years ago still have time to change the narrative regarding their futures, a lack of development in draft picks prevents fresh, young faces from joining the current roster or being used as trade assets for established NHLers. While not expected for all to become NHL game-breakers, there's always hope of eventually becoming a valuable piece to the organization.