When it’s finally time for the NY Islanders to make their first selection of the NHL Draft at pick No. 49, GM Lou Lamoriello and the rest of his staff should be open to any options, as there’s a need within the prospect pool at every position.
Projected in a mock draft by Logan Horn of The Hockey Writers, a potential option in the middle of round two is Kalan Lind, a forward with the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL.
Lind acted as Red Deer’s Swiss army knife this season, capable of playing all three forward positions. In his draft year, Lind averaged a point per game, finishing with 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) in 43 contests. He missed nearly two months of action after suffering an upper-body injury in late January, returning for the final two games of the regular season. Following a hit to the head in the Rebels’ second-round matchup with the Saskatoon Blades, Lind was hospitalized, forcing him to miss the series' final game, as Red Deer was eliminated.
Ranked No. 39 by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters, Lind stands 6’0” and only 154 lbs., but operates well above his size. He is an excellent skater, playing a hard-nosed, 200 ft. game.
Despite being undersized in the weight department, Lind plays with physicality, willing to throw his body around any chance he gets. To continue with his style of play at the next level, he’ll have to pack on some considerate weight.
Though he had solid numbers in the WHL this season, there’s hope of some untapped potential in Lind’s game that has yet to be unlocked. His puckhandling is the best asset in his offensive repertoire, but he doesn’t create much with it. After missing significant time this year, there’s the belief he can improve offensively with a bit more seasoning at the junior level.
Lind’s style of play would make him a fan favorite off the bat. Playing an agitator role effortlessly, Lind ruffles feathers between and after the whistle. Participating in the CHL Top Prospects game, Lind even dropped the gloves in what is considered a showcase.
For a second-round pick, Lind would become a development project for the Islanders and would likely take at least three seasons before we saw him making an impact on Long Island.