New York Islanders Day 1 Draft Recap
I know I'm a little behind on this, but as they say better late than never so here goes:
The New York Islanders have come away extremely pleased after day 1 of the 2012 HFNHL draft. Heading into the day the Islander's prospect pool was lacking in both elite talent and depth, but this was quickly rectified as New York made a number of deals for picks in this years draft believing plenty of talent was available in the first three rounds. In total the Islanders walked away with 8 prospects on day 1 including 5 forwards and 3 defenseman.
#1 (1) Nail Yakupov
Starting the day off right, with the first overall selection in the 2012 HFNHL draft the New York Islanders took the most electrifying player available in Nail Yakupov. Not much more needs to be said as he is a phenomenal skater, with amazing hands and a dynamite shot who should light it up beside the other young guns in Edmonton.
#23 (10) Slater Koekkoek
Ranked as the 11th best player on our list, Koekkoek was a target for our organization from the beginning. Believing that he would still be available later in the draft the NYI made a shrewd move to trade back from #16 with Winnepeg in exchange for pick #23 as well as Nashville's 3rd and Buffalo 5th. We were very pleased to still see him available as it came our turn to pick and as we suspected he went much higher in the real NHL draft. He has a very intriguing blend of size, skating and offensive skill that could see him play big minutes as a two-way defenseman in the NHL.
#50 (61) Devin Shore
I'll admit that this pick was largely Hasnain's doing as he had high hopes for the centre out of the OJHL. Blessed with great vision and soft hands Shore was a bit of wildcard in this years draft due to the level of competition. Slated to head to the University of Maine next year Devin is a boom or bust prospect who will likely need to make it as a top 6 player in order to play in the NHL.
#56 (39) Lukas Sutter
After taking a risk on Shore a pick earlier the Islander decided to take a safer path with their 4th pick of the day. In the typical Sutter mould Lukas is a hard-nosed, in your face player with good size and soft hands around the net. Needs to improve on his skating in order to be effective in the NHL but projects as a safe bet to be a solid 3rd line center in the NHL.
#72 (72) Troy Bourke
A player we thought was a steal in the 3rd round Bourke was the heart and soul of a poor Prince George Cougars team last season. Despite a lack of talent around him Bourke took on a leadership role for the club with his tireless work ethic and relentless play on the ice. While slightly undersized he is a great skater, with good vision, hands and play making ability. He also has a strong two-way game which leads us to believe he could play in the NHL in both a top 6 or bottom 6 role.
#73 (82) Jarrod Maidens
An intriguing player that missed most of this years draft with concussion issues "Iron" Maidens was a wildcard the New York Islanders decided to take a chance on. Maidens is a hard working, power forward type with a decent frame and a pro shot. If he can prove his concussions are behind him could be a great pick at this point in the draft.
#87 (40) Dylan Blujus
Another player that we coveted and were glad to see fall to us at #87, Blujus is a big-framed, athletic, offensive defenseman with the Brampton Battalion. Blujus is definitely a project as both his skating and defensive positioning need work but these are areas that can be improved. We felt that by possessing two things that cannot be taught: size and offensive ability, Blujus has all the tools to become a top 4 defenseman in the NHL.
#88 (187) Kenton Helgesen
Admittedly a reach pick by me here I simply fell in love with Helgesen's pro potential. He has a tall frame with lots of room to fill out and isn't afraid to drop the gloves to defend a teammate boasting 8 fights last year for the Calgary Hitmen. He's had a tremendous development curve the last few years going from playing Midget hockey to the WHL in just 2 years. while also putting in a strong showing at the NHL combine despite his lanky frame. We feel if he can continue this development curve he could become a dependable, physical, shutdown defenseman in the NHL.
You guys bucked the curve in betting on the talent in this ear's draft being better than most predicted, but from the way you ran your draft board, I'd say you did a very good job. Outside of Blujus, I like everyone you picked. I especially like Bourke as a sleeper.
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