The 2015 NHL Entry Draft is Friday, June 26th and Saturday, June 27th at Sunrise, Florida.
I have no idea who the Islanders are going to draft this year. And neither do you.
With no picks in the first two rounds, the annual hemming and hawing over who the team will add to their prospect pool has been muted this year. The Islanders' first pick is No. 72 (courtesy of a trade with the Panthers), followed by their own pick at No. 82. Who's around at that time is anyone's guess.
But by using some deductive reasoning and a healthy dose of why not, we can take a shot at spotting some young players the Islanders might have their eyes on.
For more on the completely haphazard way in which we picked who to profile, please see the first entry in the series.
Keegan Kolesar, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Oh boy. In their draft profile, TSN says the closest NHL comparison to large Winnipegger Keegan Kolesar is Islanders winger Matt Martin. And some similarities are pretty uncanny.
Kolesar picked up points playing on a line with likely first round pick Mathew Barzal, much like Martin rode shotgun with Steven Stamkos at Sarnia. Kolesar isn't afraid to drop the gloves, and is praised for his work along the boards and in the "dirty areas," the places where Martin has made his career. In the hair department, the winner is still Martin by a country mile.
Do the Islanders need another Matt Martin? Not really. But it wouldn't be surprising if they were intrigued by the idea of having a clone in their back pocket for the future.
From TSN's Martin-mentioning Draft profile:
Kolesar is a big, rugged winger who plays in straight lines and can make defencemen very uncomfortable when he's bearing down on them. He uses his size to establish his presence and understanding what an asset this is and maximizing it will only make it that much more uncomfortable for opponents.
From BSN Avalanche:
While primarily playing a scoring line role in Seattle, Kolesar held his own. He found chemistry playing with fellow draft eligible standouts Matthew Barzal and Ryan Gropp among others, and took pride in doing a lot of the dirty work no matter which line he played on. An obvious strength of Kolesar is his board play, where winning battles is more of a foregone conclusion than tossup with him. His dad played professional football, and that lineage shows in his son's bruising style of play.
Kolesar's offensive skills aren't elite by any means, but he has soft hands and a good enough hockey IQ to be a threat to put up points when on the ice. At the NHL level, the majority of his goals will likely be of the "ugly" variety — a product of hard work and willingness to go to the dirty areas of the ice.
From a Buzzing the Net profile from January:
"I worked hard in the offseason by working out and improving my skating," says Kolesar, who has 14 goals and 27 points in 42 games this year. "I worked on my skating in Regina and feel this year it has paid off. I also have a lot of good players around me in Seattle. And being in my second year, it gives you more confidence. Last year I was a rookie and was adjusting to the league, but this year I knew what to expect coming into the season."
Kolesar's elevated play has not only earned him power-play minutes, but also time the penalty kill. He's become a player that Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk has counted on in all types of situations. This two-way role has quickly went from new territory for the Winnipeg native to a style of play that he prides himself on.
Video evidence that he actually exists:
Naturally, most of the videos are of Kolesar fighting. This tilt one against Portland looks like an old Whalers-Blackhawks game.