With less than week away from the draft, it’s time to come out with my annual wish list of prospects that I hope the New York Islanders can choose. I do have to note this: If any of these players are available when the 49th pick comes up, I’ll be ecstatic because of the teams that will be picking ahead of them, this is the toughest draft to figure who will end up where, which is why this is a wish list and not a mock draft. So before we get into the players, let’s take a look at the second round starting with the number 40 pick:
#40 Washington Capitals
#41 Detroit Red Wings
#42 Detroit Red Wings
#43 Detroit Red Wings
#44 Chicago Blackhawks
#45 Buffalo Sabres
#46 Nashville Predators
#47 Nashville Predators
#48 Calgary Flames
#49 New York Islanders
You can see my dilemma when it comes to making a wish list with some of these teams picking ahead of the Islanders, but this could also be an advantage. Chicago, Detroit and Nashville all have multiple first round selections so if they all decide to keep the picks and draft, these three teams can go for the “Go big or go home” philosophy in the second round, leaving the less risk/high reward players to fall into the Islanders lap. My wish list is a list of players that I believe should be around with the 49th pick but also works with my previous articles as it fills in a need in the Islanders prospect system. So with that I’d like to leave 7 players for Islanders fans to keep an eye on during the draft. The 7th ranked player is my least coveted, while the number 1 ranked is one player I’d love for the Islanders to draft.
#7. Andrew Strathmann LD 5’11” 190 pounds; USHL; Isles Talk Rank: 57th
For those of you who remembers Chris Campoli, here is the 2023 version. Chris ended up playing 440 games and racking up146 points, mostly with the Islanders. Strathmann is committed to North Dakota (Cameron Berg link) so he should be there for the next three years maturing physically and developing his game.
#6. Oscar Fisker-Molgaard C/LW 6’0″ 163; SHL; Isles Talk Rank: 47th
Do you miss Frans Nielsen? Draft Fisker-Molgaard and you have a steady middle 6, but more suited for the third line work and he’ll bring back come Nielsen memories. Fisker-Molgaard is certainly a safe pick as he already plays in the SHL, something Lou does look at and could see Bridgeport by next year.
#5 Noah Dower Nilsson LW/C 6’0″ 183; SHL; Isles Talk Rank: 62nd
Dower Nilsson just turned 18 on April 25th so this is another trait that Lou looks at. But he’s going to need all the time in the world if he’s going to make it to the NHL. Needs to learn a better defensive system to complete his overall package. Can definitely shoot and create scoring chances, but needs time and the Isles can give him that.
#4 William Whitelaw C/RW 5’9″ 172; USHL; Isles Talk Rank: 38th
Whitelaw will probably move to wing if he comes to the NHL but there’s a lot of Zach Parise in him. He’s committed to the University of Wisconsin which a perfect place for him to marinate for at least three years and see where he can take his game and find his niche.
3. Jacob Fowler G 6’2″ 201; USHL; Isles Talk Rank: 71st
If the Isles had a 3rd round pick in this years draft in the top 70, I would have had Fowler taken by the Islanders. Beggars can’t be choosers but Fowler is another college prospect headed for Boston College and will be given any role to help get BC back to a National Championship. Ilya Sorokin is 27 years old and in four years time, he may need someone like Fowler so that they can be a fantastic combo during the regular season.
2 Maxim Strbak RD 6’2″ 205; USHL; Isles Talk Rank: 53rd
Here is your drafted version of Scott Mayfield, folks. The Islanders only have Tomas Machu as a RD prospect who is headed to Colorado College next season. Strbak may be a better skater than Mayfield at 18 but is still learning his offensive game. He’s probably a bottom-paired defenseman, but there’s plenty of upside where at some point a coach will be comfortable with him in a top-4 role.
1 Anton Wahlberg C 6’3″ 185; SHL; Isles Talk Rank: 50th
Still just 17 years old as of this writing, Wahlberg already has AHL size to go along with 22 SHL games under his belt and some international experience. The Islanders don’t have a center anywhere in their prospect pool and with the big club already solid for the next 3-4 years, this is a perfect time to draft someone who can score, electrify the crowd and still be given to enough time to work on the two-way game.
So as you have read, my theme for this draft is time. These players are going to have time to fulfill a role that the Islanders will want them to play. When they’ve accomplished all that they have in their respective leagues and colleges, they’ll be entering an even better developed Bridgeport team that will take their skills to another level and should they make it to the NHL, my wish for them will that they were a “steal” in the 2023 NHL draft.