NY Islanders Prospect Pool Ranked Among the NHL's Worst

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Dave Sandford/GettyImages

It’s challenging to build a formidable prospect pool when trading high draft picks year after year. Without a selection in the first round the past four years, the lack of quality prospects has caught up with the NY Islanders.

Near the bottom of the Team Strength Rankings by Byron Bader of Hockey Prospecting, Bader's chart has the Isles prospect pool ranked 31st in the NHL.

The final rankings were determined via six sub-rankings; top 5 star rank, top 5 NHLer rank, depth stars rank, depth NHLers rank, skater rank, and goalie rank. Of all these categories, the highest the Isles placed was 29th.

The only team to rank behind the Islanders was the Boston Bruins, finishing dead last in each category aside from goalie. The B’s have been historically bad in recent times at the NHL Draft, gifting Mat Barzal to the Isles in 2015, passing on him with their three consecutive first-round picks.

Of all the Islanders' prospects, two on the older end have the best opportunity to make an early impact at the NHL level.

Samuel Bolduc recently signed a two-year, one-way contract with the Islanders at a cap hit of $800K. As things stand, Bolduc will battle with Sebastian Aho to become the team's sixth defenseman. Simon Hölmstrom, who played 50 games last season, looks to have the inside track to replace Zach Parise in the lineup if he opts for retirement.

Drafted as over-age players out of the CHL, William Dufour and Matthew Maggio remain wild cards to earn an NHL call-up at some point next season. Dufour had an impressive rookie campaign with the Bridgeport Islanders, finishing among the top 10 rookies in scoring (48 points). Maggio, who took home the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’S Most Outstanding Player, will join Dufour in Bridgeport as the two could become potential linemates.

With a system as bleak as the Islanders, 2023 second-round pick Danny Nelson immediately becomes one of the organization’s top prospects. Despite taking a player many had pegged as a first-round pick, the needle hasn’t moved much for the Islanders standing compared to other pools. Nelson, who says he grew up idolizing Parise and models his game after Brock Nelson, will head to Notre Dame next season and remains a few years away from becoming NHL-ready.

Though things aren’t ideal building from within the system into the future, Lou Lamoriello doesn’t seem overly concerned, as he’s willing to sacrifice the future to win now.