We’ve gone over the prospects in the New York Islanders organization and now it’s time to see who might be joining them starting on Friday at 7pm. In earlier years I would write about 10-15 different prospects leading up to the draft. By Friday morning, I’d predict who the Islanders would take in their respective slots. This year, I’m narrowing it down to five players. Mind you, I’m not necessarily putting players in here for the sake of what the Islanders need, but who should be around number 19 should the Islanders be drafting at all, more on that tomorrow. Now if there is a player who you were hoping to see when the Islanders select, it’s probably because they’re going to go top 15 or they should fall well into the 20’s. The five players to keep an eye on are as follows (no particular order):
5. Defenseman Logan Stanley: 6’7″ 224lbs Central Scouting NAS: 19 ISS: 25 Bob McKenzie: 22 Craig Button: 30
Quick Thoughts: Think Tyler Myers without the offense or maybe a 1998-99 Zdeno Chara (8 points in 59 games). He’s been a wild card as he could move all the way up to 19 or slip all the way down to 30 if the Islanders wanted another defenseman who wouldn’t be thought of as just a pylon. He’s got more upside than Doyle Somerby at this point, and is a better skater than Mayfield was at this age.
4. Left Wing Riley Tufte: 6’5″ 211lbs. Central Scouting NAS: 17 ISS: 22 Bob McKenzie: 21 Craig Button: 45
Raw talent in this pick. Dominated in high school and was slowly adjusting to the USHL. He’s a project so you’re either going to get 3 types of expectations: Todd Bertuzzi (if Tufte fills out even more), Trent Hunter (most likely) or Mark Lawrence (Who? Look up 1998-99 roster)
3. Left Wing Max Jones: 6’2″ 205: Central Scouting NAS: 14 ISS: 14 Bob McKenzie: 19 Craig Button: 42
He’s looking like the next Matt Martin, but if he can put up more offensive numbers, you’re looking at a Raffi Torres. The hope is that he can curb his attitude and increase the goal productions, but from what I’ve been able to research, he’s the type of player that you want in the playoffs for. His style has been compared to Corry Perry, but that’s it.
2. LW/C Luke Kunin: 5’11.25″ 193lbs: Central Scouting NAS: 11 ISS: 18 Bob McKenzie: 20 Craig Button: 20
Kunin probably has the most consistent rankings out of all the other draftees this low in the draft. Like Stanley, Kunin’s stock has risen, especially after the combine. When asked about which players he most resembles, the answers are Derek Stepan and Michael Peca. Kunin is currently attending the University of Wisconsin and will be there for another year or two.
1. Right Winger Julien Gauthier 6-3 221lbs: Here is your real Todd Bertuzzi folks. Size, right-wing, only Gauthier is a sniper. However his hockey sense and play-making abilities are not up to par, so his stock has dropped since the beginning of the season. He’s the only one in this group to play in the World Junior Championships last season. Other player comparisons include James Neal, Rick Nash and Peter Bondra, who was known for scoring goals and not much else.
So there you have it, my top five players who should be around at the number 19 position come draft day on Friday. Who will the Islanders pick? I’ll come up with my guess on Friday morning. But, if the Islanders do make a selection from this list, they do not go over Beauvillier or Barzal in my Junior Prospects, which is why I’m not surprised to hear that Islanders general manager Garth Snow is looking to trade the first round pick for a possible forward, there are plenty of left wingers to go around at this point and the Islanders already have Beauvillier and Dal Colle. Would I be shocked if the Islanders traded down to receive more picks? Not at all, but tomorrow, I’ll go over the possibilities of what the Islanders could do on draft day and I’m going to play my annual “armchair-GM” and see how I could improve the Islanders before free agency opens July 1st. Should be fun.
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