I figured now that I've pontificated on the Islanders draft strategy and scouted some of the possible choices, I thought I would give my predictions on the first three rounds of the Islanders draft. Nothing scientific, nothing too complicated, just my personal feelings on who the Isles will draft at 5, 35, 58, 65 and 82. feel free to yell at me when I'm totally wrong on every single pick.
I'm only going to the end of the 3rd round because once you get into the 4th-7th it's a bit mucky. This is a pre-trade list. Even though personally I think the Isles will move around a little (or a whole lot), I'll stick to what we know right now.
1st Round, 5th Overall - Erik Gudbranson, D, Kingston
Makes too much sense. Enough ink or virtual ink has been spilled on the specifics so I won't go into too much detail here. The Isles crave a big, physical defenseman and Son of Godbrand fits the bill. The only way I don't see them taking Gudbranson is if Fowler falls in their lap and I highly doubt he will. I distrust blue liners from the Q (Sorry Gormley lovers) and I don't rate Burmistrov high enough to take here (In fact I would take centers Granlund or Johansen ahead of Burmistrov).
2nd Round, 35th Overall - Beau Bennett, RW Pencton/Denver University
This might be a bit of a stretch in that there's a very good chance Bennett will be gone by this time. He's been a high riser of late and there's now a good chance he will be taken in the late first round. I like Bennett and he reminds me somewhat of a higher ceiling version of Rhett Rakhshani, beyond the fact they both were from SoCal and went to Denver. Bennett's best asset is his passing and puck distribution, He played well for Pencton in the BCHL where he was tied for the league lead in points scoring 120 in 56 games (4 fewer games than the player he was tied with). The Isles have also had good success picking kids going to Denver in Rakhshani and Matt Donovan. That being said if Brock Nelson and/or Nick Bjugstad fall to here, take them in a heartbeat.
2nd Round, 58th Overall - Patrik Nemeth, D, AIK
Yes, I am advocating taking another big, physical defenseman even if the Islanders draft Gudbranson. Nemeth is a is that with the added bonus of a nasty streak. The thing that really impressed me about him though was when he was called up to the senior side at AIK, he went from recording 120 PIMs in 38 games in the SuperElit to 8 PIMs in 16 games in the Allsvenskan and 0 PIMs in the 3 game Kvalserien promotion playoffs and played a key role in AIK's promotion to the Elitserien. He did similarly with the Swedish U-18 team, taking 64 PIMS in the 13 game warm up for the WJC U-18 then only taking 8 PIMs in the 6 tournament games. He is a bit of a project pick but will have two years in the Elitserien to fill out his big frame and then come over for AHL seasoning.
3rd Round, 65th Overall - Joe Basaraba, RW, Shattuck-St. Mary's/University of Minnesota-Duluth
Picking Basaraba might be a bit of a stretch here (THN has him at 73, Central Scouting as North American Skaters 54) but he's a right wing with size. The big worry for scouts is that he didn't dominate the Minnesota high school for Shattucks and could have used a year of seasoning in the USHL before joining the Bulldogs. Basaraba will be attending UMD, which allows for more time for him to grow into his 6'3" frame and allows the Islanders to keep his rights for more than two years. Basaraba is eligible to play for both the US and Canada internationally and as yet has not decided which country to represent.
3rd Round, 82nd Overall - John Ramage, D, University of Wisconsin
Yes, this is Rob Ramage's son. He's a product of the USDP and played in the WJC for USA in January. Ramage was draft eligible last year but questions about his size (He's listed generous 6'0") and a lack of production offensively for the USDP's U-18 team lead teams to pass on him. He's answered those questions enough this past year that he'll probably go in the late 3rd round. He could develop into a Hillen-like defensemen.
4th Round and Beyond
Here I think the Isles will stick to their previous draft history of taking project guys going to the NCAA (See Kessel the Younger) and late blooming, over aged Junior players (See DiBenedetto). Honestly I don't have the time or energy to look into who would be available and who the Isles would think of taking this late. I'll just sit back on Saturday and Sunday and observe.
If you are interested, I would like to see you're predictions as well, so please post them below. I hope you all have fun watching the draft wherever you will be. We tried and failed miserably to have a Lighthouse Hockey gathering for the draft (Dom's in the Dominican Republic with his family, A lot of people will be at the draft party at NVMC or doing other things, personally I'll be at the Mets game trying to get text updates on my phone), so I hope you all have fun doing what ever it is you will be.
The Other Nonsense
This will be my last story for probably a week and a half to two weeks. Yes, I know I just started contributing on a semi-regular basis around here but as many of you know I will be on the move. Tuesday I begin the half-cross country journey from my hometown of Pleasantville, NY to St. Paul, Minnesota. This will be a big move for me as I have lived in New York, whether it was in Westchester or Albany, for my entire life. Now I am packing up my life and moving 1,200 miles away.
Why am I doing this?
I am moving because I will be going to Luther Seminary with the intention to become a Lutheran Minister (As a friend said "You don't have to take a vow of chastity? So its basically the priesthood for cool kids"). I move into my new place next Friday (July 2nd) and begin classes July 6th with six weeks of Biblical Greek before my full time class work begins in the Fall Semester. I am moving to a place I have spent a total of two and a half days in previously so it's going to be a whole new experience for me.
I should be back to my semi-regular schedule of stories relatively shortly after I get adjusted to life in the Midwest. So because of all that I won't be around here much in the coming weeks, even commenting. Try to survive without me. It shouldn't be hard.