NY Islanders take some intriguing mid-round prospects in NHL Mock Draft 2.0

The NY Islanders need to add a lot of excitement to their prospects pool, and that’s exactly what happened in the middle rounds of NHL Mock Draft 2.0.

Russia U20 Hockey team player, Igor Chernyshov (25) seen in...
Russia U20 Hockey team player, Igor Chernyshov (25) seen in... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

With fewer than two weeks before the 2024 NHL Draft, we have officially reached crunch time, so what would the NY Islanders likely do with what is currently their six draft picks? In this mock draft simulation from FC Hockey, I attempted to answer that question by playing the role of general manager Lou Lamoriello, much like I did in Mock Draft 1.0, which was conducted shortly before the Isles swapped a few picks with the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Now that it’s been nearly a month since the trade and that particular mock draft, I figured it was time for an update, so who did I take in the first round of this simulation, and which prospects did I find to be ultra intriguing? 

20th Overall: Igor Chernyshov, LW/Dynamo Moskva

One of my favorite prospects in terms of who could fall to the Islanders, Igor Chernyshov may not possess the most exciting game, and it was something I knew even before taking him at 20th overall in this simulation. But he already has size and some experience in the KHL - Russia’s top hockey league, and he dominated with 13 goals and 28 points across 22 MHL contests. 

Chernyshov may not bring a ton of excitement to the prospects pool because he’s not delivering the most jaw-dropping plays. But his style is an outstanding fit for the Islanders, and that’s all fans should worry about when the future power forward ultimately signs and starts his climb toward the NHL. 

54th Overall: John Mustard, C/Waterloo Black Hawks

While John Mustard dropped to 54th overall in this simulation, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went late in the first round, even if it would catch many draft analysts and those in the NHL community off-guard. He averaged nearly a half goal per game for the Waterloo Black Hawks, and Mustard finished the regular season with almost a point per, 56 in 60 contests. 

But what really drove me to take John Mustard here is that he understands every shift is important, and he plays as though the game is on the line when he steps onto the ice. I noted “intriguing mid-round prospects” in this article’s headline, and John Mustard, even if the second round isn’t entirely “mid,” was one reason for that headline. 

61st Overall: Noel Fransen, D/Färjestad BK

In case you’ve never heard of Noel Fransen, I’ll let you in on his regular season points total: 44 in 45 games, with 20 goals in that span. This came in J20, just one year after he averaged over a point per game in J18, so, logistically, the speedy, two-way player will take the next step when he’s likely playing full-time in the SHL next year. 

So how did he fall so late in the second round if he’s clearly a dynamic puck-mover with an epic shot? His defensive play needs work, but if he learns how to process plays better and works on his overall timing while trying to get in position, Fransen could be a steal right here.  

115th Overall: Kristian Epperson, LW/USNTDP

From an offensive-defenseman to a forward who doesn’t put the puck in the net often or contribute to scoring, though you can honestly say that was a regression in 2023-24, given his 2022-23 numbers - 70 points and 31 goals in 88 regular season games this season. But Kristian Epperson plays and processes the game well, so he knows where he needs to go with the puck in almost every situation. 

137th Overall: Clarke Caswell, LW/Swift Current Broncos

So many players take more than respectable strides in productivity, and Clarke Caswell did that in 2023-24 when he went from nine goals and 29 points in 63 games to 77 points and 26 goals in 68 games, plus another nine points and two goals in nine playoff contests. If he enjoys an encore performance in 2024-25 and 2025-26 and adds some muscle in the process, Caswell will be a name fans of whichever system he lands in must get to know. 

179th Overall: Jan Spunar, G/Portland Winterhawks 

At 20, whoever ends up drafting Jan Spunar won’t need to wait to get him into the AHL once he signs, and if he plays like he did in 2023-24 for the Portland Winterhawks, he’s a steal at the 179th overall pick (or later). While the Islanders don’t have a dire need to develop a goaltender just yet, someone like Spunar would provide strong organizational insurance early, become a fair trade asset, or perhaps even a successor to Ilya Sorokin. But first, they would need to call his name on Saturday, June 29th. 


(Statistics powered by Elite Prospects)