The 2023 NHL Draft is a little over a week away and while the New York Islanders don't have a ton of picks (their picks in Rounds 2 & 4-7) they need to have a successful night. The Isles need to nail their 2nd-round NHL Draft pick as they did with Aatu Raty in 2021.
The Isles need to add to their current prospect cupboard which is not considered to have a blue-chip prospect at this time after trading Raty to the Vancouver Canucks in the Bo Horvat deal.
When analyzing the NHL Draft, rounds one through three would be considered a premium pick, especially rounds one and two. The early the round the more valuable the pick.
The percentage of prospects who become regular NHLers once round four hits drops dramatically. However, there are several excellent to really good players in the league who fall into this category. Just looking at the Isles Anders Lee was a 6th round pick, Matt Martin 5th round pick, and Casey Cizikas 4th round pick.
But a hockey organization wants picks in the earlier rounds when the odds are much greater of them landing a future NHL player.
This year the Isles only have one of those picks currently, their second-round pick (#49 overall). Their first-round pick was part of the Horvat deal and their third-round pick is the last piece of the Andrew Ladd trade with the Arizona Coyotes.
Because the Isles don't have a first or third-round pick in this year's Draft, that puts a really big importance on their second-round selection. Lou Lamoriello and his staff need to nail this pick.
In the 2021 Draft the Isles didn't have a first-round pick and their first selection was #52 overall and that winded up being Raty. Raty fell to the blue and orange, big time. He was expected to go late first - early second at the 2021 Draft. When he was still on the board at #52 where the Isles picked they had to be doing cartwheels.
Raty's development from the June 2021 Draft into this past year turned him from a good prospect to a blue-chipper. The Hockey News Future Watch Spring Issue this year had Raty ranked #35. Raty was the key piece for Vancouver in the Horvat trade.
There will be good prospects on the board when the Isles select #49 overall in round #2. Granted there will not be a Connor Bedard - Adam Fantilli level prospect but the Isles should be able to add a youngster they and the fanbase should be excited about to their prospect pool.
In the Athletic's latest NHL Mock Draft, Corey Pronman selected Juraj Pekarcik, who he describes as a winger with speed, skill, and fame. Who knows maybe in what most hockey draft experts call a very deep draft maybe someone falls to the Isles again when they pick at #49 overall, just like with Raty.
The bottom line is the Isles should add a strong prospect to their stable and quite frankly they need to nail this pick.