Do not read too much into it. A healthy Rick DiPietro or not -- and we can only believe it when we see it -- the New York Islanders' system was light on goaltending going into the 2009 NHL Draft. So after Garth Snow took a star and a puck-moving blueliner on Friday night, Day 2 started off with beefing up the goaltending.
Thanks to Snow's pretty impressive pick-shuffling, he was able to get two goalies -- tall Scandinavians, each of them -- that the club wanted.
The move is goaltending insurance, really -- but not so much for next season. Even if or when DiPietro comes back healthy, his body has given the indication that it's capable of breaking down. The franchise goalie could have a run of health that lasts three seasons; but if in season four a knee or a hip needs remending, the then-playoff caliber team will need a legitimate Plan B.
Enter 6'5" Finn Mikko Koskinen or 6'5" Swede Anders Nilsson, perhaps. More on them and the rest of the Day 2 haul after the jump...31st Overall: Mikko Koskinen G | 6'5" (or 6'7" depending on your source), 192 lbs. | Espoo (Finland)
Even though he's almost 21, Koskinen is a project, with a potentially big payoff. A 1988 birth date, Koskinen has already gone through three drafts. But this year he put up some great numbers (1.91 GAA, .931) in the senior league. Late bloomer, or fluke? Maybe he figured out how the game and that big body of his can get along. Greg Logan reports that Koskinen wants to be in the AHL next season, so we may get to see first-hand.
I was a little surprised to see the Islanders take him so early, but when their next pick wasn't until 56 (at the time), they risked losing him and another goaltending target. Goalies get taken in the draft whenever teams decide they can't wait any longer, so it's hard to know when to bite. I won't fault the Isles for biting there; we'll see if they bit on the right one.
Koskinen is the goalie in white in this shootout video (h/t Doug of Official's Outlook):
62nd Overall: Anders Nilsson G | 6'5" (or 6'3"?), 216 lbs. | Lulea (Sweden) juniors
Snow softened the cost of the picks he gave up Friday by getting one back. By swapping the 56th pick (the one from Boston in the Petteri Nokelainen trade) to Columbus, he got both the 62 and the 92 back, returning the first picks in Rounds 3 and 4 to the Islanders. Nice move: When short move down like this happens, your trade partner is worried about losing someone, while you know a guy you want will still be there six picks later.
That guy, apparently, was Nilsson. Nilsson is younger and has a better junior track record than Koskinen. You have to assume he'll be staying overseas next year, which is fine: You don't want all your goaltenders in one place, because you want them to play. As with Koskinen, there were other goaltenders rated higher than Nilsson. But this draft's ratings were all over the map.
92nd Overall: Casey Cizikas C | 5'10", 190 lbs. | Mississauga (OHL)
With the Guerin/Penguins pick at 91 and the Islanders own pick back at 92, it was a good time to put one up for sale to a team in need. Phoenix bit, and by giving the Islanders their 3rd rounder in 2010, they pretty much assured the Islanders of a pick higher than 91 next year (albeit in a weaker draft).
The Islanders used that pick on Cizikas, a talented but undersized center whose season in Mississauga didn't live up to expectations. After an All-Rookie first season, he was initially rated higher than the fourth round. This will be an interesting case. He could bounce back, or that season could be a sign of things to come. I'm curious about what the Islanders staff found in him.
Note: Just getting this out of the way: You may have seen message board theories citing rumors about why this prospect fell. Please don't bring them up here, for legal and ethical reasons. I'd rather not have to police it in comments. I value open dicussion and debate, but this is different. Thanks for understanding.
122nd Overall: Anton Klementyev D | 6'1", 195 | Yaroslavl Lokomotiv-2
Woo, here we go. Now we're in the "don't know him, never seen him, can't spell him" phase. Not a clue on this guy; you wonder which scout stumbled upon him on his way to find Borat. Per Logan:
He's not in the NHL database. Russian prospect boards list him as 6-1, from 195 pounds. He's 19 years old, and is playing for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv-2. Judging his 2007-08 stats -- 2 goals and 6 assists -- he's more of a stay-at-home type.
152nd Overall: Anders Lee C | 6'2", 205 | Edina High School (Minnesota)
Lee is big, talented -- and supposedly a candidate to be lost to football, though Logan says he's headed to Notre Dame. That's a risk, a risk you can take with a late-round pick. Maybe Snow's staff knows something, maybe they're just taking a flyer and hoping to win Lee over. If it pays off, other teams may kick themselves for passing. Our not-exactly-objective advice: Save your knees and play hockey, kid.
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That's the quick view. The default caveat, of course, is that we don't know what Islanders scouts know -- and each team doesn't even know what other teams' scouts know. There are hundreds of players each year, the challenge is in observing them, collecting data on them -- and then figuring out whether your observation and data tells you what you think it does. A tough job. Hopefully the Islanders step up with some more information on the picks soon.
That said, what are your initial reactions? If you haven't weighed in, or want to weigh in more, the floor is yours. (The FanPosts on the right margin, too, if you have an elaborate theory/assessment).
Thanks for all the initial reactions Friday and Saturday. That sort of discussion and banter is the idea here. More on these guys later as we digest it. Plus free agency talk -- yes, already -- next week.