LHH Editor's Note: Our Lighthouse Hockey mock draft continues with what is sure to be the most finely parsed pick: The Islanders at #5. Cheers and thanks to Fabtraption for tackling the lucky(?) job of selecting for the Islanders. (And forgive his tardiness: he had to pull this important decision off while working a 12-hour shift.)
With the #5 overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders select Niagara IceDogs defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
For the New York Islanders, the 2010-2011 was a rollercoaster season, a season of many ups and many downs. Injuries ravaged our defense as we lost our key #1 D in preseason and dressed a total of 13 defensemen over the season. The loss of Mark Streit proved to be a killer for the season, as our horrific losing streak of November and December (20 games lost out of 21 played, oy vey) dropped us from the playoff race just as the season got underway. Though our second half of the season restored pride and faith in the New York Islanders hopeful as a result of several key players (see: Michael Grabner, John Tavares, Travis Hamonic, et al), we find that Dougie Hamilton is the right player for the future of this franchise.
Hamilton provides a great upside to the defensive corps of the New York Islanders. Dougie has the potential to play a Top 4 role in the future, with some scouts even suggesting him as a potential #1 defenseman. Weighing in at 6'4" and 195 lbs as an 18 year old, Hamilton provides the Islanders with a future big body on the ice, a prospect that has been missing from the Isles' backend since the loss of Andy Sutton during the 2009-2010 season. Though Hamilton has only started learning defense within the past few years, we here on Long Island will stress patience with Dougie, as we see letting him develop in juniors and in Bridgeport as the best way for him to learn the professional game.
Dougie also helps strengthen our powerplay for the future (12g-46a-58p), and seeing Dougie paired with current prospect Calvin de Haan gives our powerplay offensive firepower that fans have not seen in years. Dougie also provides the Islanders with a righthanded shot, an element that was sorely missing on our backend for the past year. As we've slowly built up our prospect pool in the past few years, our defensive corps will soon be seen as an unsung strength, with the defensively sound pairing of Andy MacDonald and Travis Hamonic filling out one pair and a mix of Hamilton, de Haan, Matt Donovan, Ty Wishart, Mark Katic, and veteran Mark Streit filling out the other pairs for the future.
We here at the New York Islanders also stress character and leadership in our players. For two years straight, Dougie was awarded two academic awards for the Niagara Ice Dogs, winning the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award in 2009-2010 for high school academic achievement and the Bobby Smith Trophy this past season for being the top scholastic player. Dougie exhibits a keen intellect and smart attitude that we know will translate well on the ice.
As we've stressed for the past several years, New York Islanders fans must be patient. We have slowly built our team back up from the ashes, adding pieces here and there to build up a consistent winner that will challenge for the Stanley Cup year in and year out.
*And for those who are wondering why this is so late, I just got off working a 12 hour shift at work that I didn't even know was gonna be 12 hours to start with. Man, it's rough being GM of the New York Islanders. Just ask Mike Milbury.