NY Islanders: The 5 best players selected with the 49th pick since 2000

2022 NHL Draft - Round 2-7
2022 NHL Draft - Round 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The NHL Draft begins this Wednesday, and the Islanders - stop me if you've heard this before - don't have a first round pick. For the third year in a row, their highest pick will be in the second round (in 2020, they didn't pick until the third). Specifically, the Islanders will have the 49th overall pick. What kind of player can they expect?

NY Islanders: The 5 best players selected with the 49th pick since 2000

The 49th overall pick is usually unimpressive. Many of the recent 49th overall picks were players you've never heard of, unless you're a fan of the team that drafted them - players like Vaclav Karabacek (Buffalo, 2014), Stefan Elliott (Colorado, 2009), and Chad Denny (Atlanta, 2005). But the pick can also occasionally turn into a good NHL player.

Near Misses

Before I reveal the Top-5 49th overall picks since 2000, just for fun, here are the five best players to be drafted with the 47th, 48th, 50th, or 51st overall picks since 2000:

5. Carter Hart, 48th in 2016, Philadelphia
4. Samuel Girard, 47th in 2017, Nashville
3. Derek Stepan, 51st in 2008, NY Rangers
2. Tyler Toffoli, 47th in 2010, Los Angeles
1. Milan Lucic, 50th in 2006, Boston

Alright, now let's look at the five best 49th overall picks since 2000 - there's a superstar on this list, so stick around. We'll find out years from Thursday if the Isles have one as good as these five second-rounders.

5. Ryan Lindgren

New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils - Game One
New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils - Game One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The 49th overall pick in 2016, Ryan Lindgren is a defensive defenseman who has played over 250 NHL games at the age of 25. He was drafted by Boston and traded to the Rangers in 2018 as part of a package for Rick Nash. He doesn't score much - only 7 career goals (!!!) and 63 points - but he's a tough, hard-to-play-against guy who kills penalties and isn't afraid to be physical, with183 career penalty minutes.

257 NHL games is nothing to sneeze at, and I certainly wouldn't mind if the Islanders get a serviceable defensive defenseman out of this pick. But the list gets more impressive from here, with players who have long, impressive NHL careers.

4. Carl Soderberg

Florida Panthers v Chicago Blackhawks
Florida Panthers v Chicago Blackhawks / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

It took Carl Soderberg, the 49th overall pick in 2004, a long time to make it to the NHL. He spent many years in Sweden, playing for his hometown club Malmö, and dealt with a significant injury that left him legally blind in his left eye. But when he eventually came to North America, he settled in quickly, with 48 points in 73 games for Boston. He would put up similar numbers for the rest of his career, finishing with 110 goals and 187 assists, for 297 points, in 597 games, which is equivalent to 15 goals and 41 points per 82 games.

After the 2021 season, he returned to Sweden to captain his old team, and still plays there to this day. It's difficult to rank him over the other three players on this list, because he really didn't play enough games, but Soderberg was a good player pretty much the whole time he was in North America. The Islanders would be happy to get a consistent 40-point-per-season center with this pick.

3. Mike Cammallieri

Justin Williams (L) and Michael Cammalli...
Justin Williams (L) and Michael Cammalli... / JANEK SKARZYNSKI/GettyImages

Just barely beating out our (totally arbitrary) cutoff of 2000, Mike Cammallieri, the 49th overall pick in 2001, was a very good player. He played over 900 NHL games, scoring 294 goals and 348 assists for 642 points. He was consistently good from the ages of 23 to 35, averaging at least 0.7 points per game eight times.

Of his entire draft class, he scored the third-most goals, behind only Ilya Kovalchuk and Jason Spezza. He had the fifth-most points, behind Spezza, Kovalchuk, Jason Pominville, and Mikko Koivu. And he did it in 906 games, tied for 9th among the 2001 draft class. He's not a Hall of Famer, but he had a long and successful career.

2. Roope Hintz

Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Six
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Six / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

He's only 26, but Roope Hintz, the 49th overall pick in 2015, already looks like one of the biggest steals of a draft which had plenty of steals. He made his NHL debut at 22, and wasn't an immediate star (no pun intended), scoring 22 points in 58 games in 2018-19 and then 33 points in 60 games. Those are, of course, pretty good seasons, especially for a 23-year-old, but not enough to have him this high on this list.

And then... he found another level. In the last three seasons, he has 89 goals and 101 assists, for 190 points in 194 games. He scored 37 goals this year, more than Sebastian Aho (the Carolina one), John Tavares, Brock Nelson, and Steven Stamkos. In the past three years combined, he's 21st in the NHL in goals per game. He's become one of the best goalscorers in the league. And he's only 26.

1. Shea Weber

2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five / Mike Carlson/GettyImages

This is pretty much the best case scenario. Shea Weber, the 49th overall pick in 2003, has had a hugely impressive career. He's played over 1000 NHL games, and scored 224 goals and 365 assists for 589 points, as a defenseman. He never won a Norris, but finished top four in Norris voting five times. He was named a first-team all star twice, and made the second team twice more. There's a decent chance he ends up in the Hall of Fame someday.

When Lou Lamoriello announces the Islanders' selection on Thursday (the first round is Wednesday, but the rest of the draft will be Thursday), it's smart to be cautious. The player he picks will probably turn out to be a fringe NHLer who nobody but die-hard Islanders fans will remember.

But maybe, just maybe, he'll be the next Shea Weber.