For the New York Islanders, the scouting staff has produced successful returns in the later rounds of the last three NHL drafts and that trend will have to continue this year.
The Isles have added some strong prospects to the cupboard in the 4th and 5th rounds which has been extra important since the team has traded their last four first-rounders in deals for JG Pageau, Kyle Palmieri, Alexander Romanov, and Bo Horvat. Given the Isles and Lou Lamoriello currently only have five picks in this year's June Draft (their picks in rounds 2 & 4-7), the blue and orange scouting staff need to keep up their late-round success.
The Isles' first-round pick was in the trade with the Vancouver Canucks to bring Horvat to Long Island (Vancouver traded this pick subsequently to the Detroit Red Wings, who now own the pick at #17 overall). Their third-round pick is now with the Arizona Coyotes, the final trade piece that Lamoriello sent to the desert to move Andrew Ladd's $5.5 million cap hit.
Late Round Success
While the Isles currently don't have any prospects in their pipeline they are considered blue-chippers, there are several players to be excited about.
The Hockey News considers William Dufour (RW, 6'2, 215 lbs) the Isles' top prospect and has him ranked #92 on their recent Top 100 prospect list. Dufour was a 5th-round pick in 2020.
Matthew Maggio (RW, 6'0, 185 lbs) is coming off an amazing season in the OHL and was the blue and orange's 5th-round pick last year in 2022. Alex Jefferies, (LW, 6'0, 195 lbs) a 4th-round pick in 2020 had a terrific year at Merrimack College this past year too. Don't forget about Isaiah George (D, 6'0, 199 lbs) from last year's Draft (4th-Round) who had a solid campaign in the OHL with the London Knights.
The Isles are hoping that these kids will be joining the big club over the next season or two and become a part of the new future core. It would be terrific for the Islanders if some of these kids were to become a front-line player like Anders Lee who was a 6th-round pick in 2009 (one of Garth Snow's best draft picks).
The scouting staff needs to continue their late-round success (the 4th & 5th rounds have been good to them). Every organization needs to keep adding to the prospect cupboard every draft. Given four of the Isles' five 2023 draft picks are in the later rounds (Rounds 4-7) late-round success is needed once again.