The NY Islanders drafted and developed young prospects well in the 2010s. Many of those players still exist on the roster today and have become integral to the Islanders' success. The organization has found gems in the first round, like Brock Nelson in 2010, Ryan Pulock in 2013, Mathew Barzal in 2015, and Noah Dobson in 2018. Others have become steals selected later in the draft, such as Adam Pelech in the 4th round of 2012 and Ilya Sorokin in the 3rd round of 2014. Not to mention players selected that have been traded away, like Anthony Beauvillier and Devon Toews.
While the Islanders' draft picks from the Garth Snow era have left some hidden gems, Lou Lamoriello has not seen the same moniker of success. On the current roster, only Oliver Wahlstrom, Dobson, Samuel Bolduc, and Simon Holmstrom were drafted and developed since Lamoriello became general manager in 2018. Much of this is due to the departure of first-round picks in trades for J.G. Pageau, Kyle Palmieri, Alexander Romanov, and Bo Horvat. Add in the Isles' cap situation, younger talent is needed to ensure the team can re-sign star players like Dobson in the future. With an aging roster that is faltering in 2023-24, who are some of the collegiate prospects we should be paying more attention to?
1. Danny Nelson
The Islanders have a knack for finding quality talent from the state of Minnesota, just look at Anders Lee and Brock Nelson. Selected in the second round this past June, centerman Danny Nelson is proving to be another Islanders steal. At just 18 years old, Nelson has garnered accolades for his controlled entrees and exits across the blue line both as a carrier and passer. He is described by scouts as a player who uses his physicality to eliminate off-puck threats and create wide-open shots. Similar to Pageau, Nelson's not afraid to use his forecheck and has improved in the faceoff circle.
After being drafted by the Islanders, Nelson opted to fulfill his commitment to attend the University of Notre Dame. In 22 games against Big-10 competition, Nelson has 7 goals and 12 assists. Nelson left collegiate hockey to play in the World Junior's Classic for Team USA. He was impressive playing against tougher competition predominantly made of 20-year-olds, scoring 2 points in 7 games. since returning from WJC action, Nelson has gotten red hot scoring 4 goals and 1 assist in the past four games. Still very young, Nelson figures to be at least one season away from considering an entry-level contract to play for Bridgeport.