NHL Draft Day: #15 (or so) Picks in New York Islanders History

The Petteri Dish. - Jonathan Daniel

A look at the players the Islanders have selected near 15th overall in their NHL Draft history.

Later than ever, the NHL Draft Day 2013 version is upon us. Keeping things mercifully short -- precious little mercy came out of the lockout -- all rounds will be conducted today.

Barring a trade, the Islanders' first pick will be at #15, before they sit out the second round (Lubomir Visnovsky deal) before the rest of their picks. Their full slate:

Round 1: 15th overall
Round 3: 75th overall
Round 4: 105th overall
Round 5: 135th overall
Round 6: 165th overall
Round 7: 195th overall

With the way this draft class has shaped up, the Islanders are generally seen as right at the edge of the upper tier of prospects. In other words, while the first seven are highly touted, scouts generally see the top 14 or 15 players in the draft as a tier unto itself. Seems like the Islanders view it that way too, judging by Trent Klatt's quote in Newsday:

"Obviously, the top end is really, really good," Isles scouting director Trent Klatt said. "But sitting where we sit, I'm confident we're going to get a player who will help this organization for a long time, no doubt."

So that should hold true as long as the Islanders don't go reaching (or trade down) with that pick. Meanwhile, there's certainly the chance that another team goes reaching before them, and a solid first-rounder falls to them.

For the sake of posterity, here is how the Islanders have picked in the vicinity of 15th overall in the past:

2005 (15th) - Ryan O'Marra: Yeah, so, that's not very exciting. Milbury's last draft contained a swing and miss in the first round. In Garth Snow's first season at the helm, O'Marra was one of multiple assets determined to be unnecessary and flipped in the Ryan Smyth trade.

2003 (15th) - Robert NIlsson: Oh yeah, so was Nilsson. Nilsson at least has had a better pro career, but the concerns about him then are the concerns that got him bounced from the NHL and looking for jobs in Europe.

2004 (14th) - Petteri Nokelainen: Though the Finn is another disappointing first rounder from the Milbury era, he at least comes with a caveat: Serious post-draft knee injuries that really derailed things. When healthy he was, and probably would have been, a smart all-around player.

1988 (16th) - Kevin Cheveldayoff: Before that 2003-05 run, you have to go back more than a decade to find the previous time the Islanders picked right around 15th overall. Kevin Cheveldayoff never had an NHL career as a player, but he was an admired GM in the AHL and now he gets to run the Jets.

1987 (13th) - Dean Chynoweth: Another guy who entered coaching and management, Chynoweth at least managed 241 NHL games.

1986 (17th) - Tom Fitzgerald: Now here is an example of what you used to expect late (as it was then) in the first round. A player who, even if he's not a star, is at least very serviceable as an NHL regular. That's how Fitzgerald ended up playing 1097 NHL games.

1985 (13th) - Derek King: And here's an even better example. Granted, going back to the '80s brings us to a completely different time when scouting was much less sophisticated and these comparisons with the present are practically irrelevant. But King was a keeper, to the tune of 830 games and 612 NHL points.

1983 (16th) - Gerald Diduck: Another late first rounder (again, in a 21-team league), Diduck managed 932 NHL games, evolving into a defensive defenseman with some offensive punch. He was traded to Montreal for Craig Ludwig after six seasons with the Isles.

1980 (17th) - Brent Sutter: Probably the best Sutter, a future captain for the Isles and an excellent pick in '80.

1979 (17th) - Duane Sutter: Brent may have been better, but Duane got the Sutter ball rolling for the Isles and was around for all four Cups. Of the six Sutter brothers, Duane had the second-shortest career (only Darryl's ended sooner) but it was a good 10 years.

1978 (15th) - Steve Tambellini: Tambellini made the Islanders for the first Cup run, though he did not play in the playoffs that year and was dealt with Chico Resch midway through the next season. Sadly, he is now better known for doing something to the Oilers as GM.

1977 (15th) - Mike Bossy: Oh, well, him. I mean, this guy only lasted 10 seasons in the NHL too. So he probably didn't do much.

1976 (14th) - Alex McKendry: Never caught on after a few cups of coffee with the Isles, and was dealt to the Flames. Only lasted 46 NHL games but produced in juniors and in the minors.

1972 (15th) - Lorne Henning: From the Islanders' very first draft class, Henning was a long-time player (lasting until the first two Cups) and joined Al Arbour's staff after he was done as a player. Even ended up coaching the Isles briefly two decades later. Never flashy, but the Isles could do worse than drafting the latest Henning Sunday in Newark.

So the Islanders have been in this territory plenty of times before, though outside of the three examples in the 2000s, it was when a pick around 15-17 was actually late in the first round in a 21-('80s) or 17-team league ('70s).

Who will be there at #15 in Newark? We've looked at some "would be nice" options, but if the first 14 picks go according to consensus rankings -- something that never happens -- the Isles should still get a player who at least on this day looks like a solid bet for an NHL career.

Draft opens around 3 p.m. EDT, with U.S. coverage on NBC Sports. Enjoy.

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