The New York Islanders successful 2018-19 season began early, as the Islanders had one of the best drafts. Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello’s first draft with the organization was a massive success, witnessing the additions of Oliver Wahlstrom, Noah Dobson, Bode Wilde and Ruslan Iskhakov.
Another productive draft would push the Islanders already very talented prospect pool to one of the best throughout the entire NHL. The Islanders will have the twenty-third overall pick this season barring a trade and there are a handful of prospects who can fit the teams needs as well as flourish under Barry Trotz. Here are the three potential prospects the Islanders could find still lurking around on the draft board during their selection.
Brett Leason, Center/Right Wing
Leason spent his 2018-19 season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League, dominating the league with 36 goals and 89 points in 56 games. Leason stands at 6’4″ and weighs 201 pounds (lbs), using his size to his advantage. He likes to stand in front of the net and screen the goalie, similar to Islanders captain Anders Lee. Leason participated in the World Junior Classic (WJC) for Canada, scoring five points in five games for his home country. Leason was not picked in the two previous drafts that he was eligible to be selected in, but he certainly will be selected in this year’s draft.
Leason’s biggest flaw in his game in prior years was his skating, but this summer he made that a focal point for improvement. His shot has always been one of his strengths; he has a quick release and a solid wrist shot. With his large size and good defensive IQ, Leason would do wonders under Barry Trotz. A realistic player comparison for him would be Anders Lee. There is a good chance Leason will be available when the Islanders are on the board and it would be an ideal fit both ways.
Nils Hoglander, Left Wing
Nils Hoglander spent his 2018-2019 season with the Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League. Hoglander is only 18-years old and is projected to be selected at best in the middle of the first round. Hoglander plays left wing and stands in at 5’9″ and 185 lbs. His play for Sweden in the WJC helped boost his draft stock to a late first rounder. Hoglander played seven games in the tournament, scoring a total of four goals and seven points.
Hoglander’s most noticeable aspect in his game is his speed and stick-handling, which he showed over in Sweden all season. His quick hands help him both score goals and set up teammates for high quality scoring chances. The only concerns in Hoglander’s game is how his smaller size will effect him and how his skills will translate over into North American sized rinks. His speed and quick style of play could be a boost to the Islanders in upcoming years and could make a great pairing with Oliver Wahlstrom.
Philip Tomasino, Center
Philip Tomasino is the youngest out of the three prospects coming into the draft being seventeen years old. Tomasino spent his 2018-19 season with the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League in Canada, scoring 34 goals and 72 points in 67 games. The center is projected to be selected between picks 19-30 by NHL analysts. Tomasino participated in the U-18 tournament for Canada, tallying one goal and four assists in six games.
Tomasino’s most notable skills are his vision and great passing ability. Tomasino’s skating and playmaking are highly talked about among the people who have scouted the 17-year old. If Tomasino doesn’t get selected before the Islanders selection at pick 23, it will be very interesting to see if they think he can be the solution at center in the future.
The Islanders 2018-19 season may be over, but the perfect start to the 2019-20 season is right at the draft. As previously stated, if the Islanders once again have a successful draft, the team’s prospect pool will be among the best in the league. Lou Lamoriello will have a riveting task trying to top his draft from last year.