More often than not, the NHL Draft is a crap shoot. Though, throughout the 1970s and early 80s, it didn't seem that way for New York Islanders GM Bill Torrey. Teams draft young prospects in the hope that they can develop into players that can make an impact in the NHL. On rare occasions, teams draft players that change the course of franchise history.
For every Bryan Trottier, there is a Dave Chyzowski. For every Mike Bossy, there is a player like Robert Nilsson. The point is that some players meet or exceed high expectations; other times, quite the opposite happens.
Since their inception in 1972, the NY Islanders have been fortunate to draft franchise-changing players, such as Pat LaFontaine, John Tonelli, and Clark Gillies. This generation of Islanders has seen home-grown talent, including Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Mathew Barzal bring the team a step away from the Stanley Cup Final in consecutive seasons.
More recent draft picks like Matt Maggio, William Dufour, and Calle Odellius are now in the pipeline with hopes they can make major contributions for years to come. In anticipation of the Islanders making their first pick of the 2023 NHL Draft in the second round, let's take a look at the three most important players drafted by the New York Islanders in franchise history.