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.
Roope Hintz, Ilves (Liiga, aka Finnish Elite League)
After an eye-opening World Junior tournament, Roope Hintz (pronounced like "Rope," I think) is a popular man. It wasn't that he had a lot of points - only two assists in five games - but it was clear to observers that he both out-hustled and out-muscled most other kids on the ice.
That's not to say he's a slam dunk hidden superstar. Far from it. Draft rankings and projections are divided, making him possibly the hardest to peg prospect in this already totally arbitrary series.
After running roughshod in his final junior year, his transition to the men's league has not gone smoothly. But he's big, has good wheels and appears to have high intelligence on the ice. There are a lot of factors to take into account before drafting him, and the range of rewards may or may not be worth the risk.
That's not much of a profile but it's all I've got.
Intrepid In Lou We Trust did all the work for us, so we'll just steal theirs:
Looking at the stats, we can notice both positives and negatives. On the positive side, he dominated junior competition. Hintz was at least a point per game player in the Finnish C league, B league, and A league, and dominated for the short amount of time he played here in the U.S. He has also been really good in international play. This past season, he scored 10 points in 20 games for the Finnish U20 team in international junior competition, despite being only 18 years old. That is definitely an accomplishment.
On the other hand, there is also an issue. In terms of point production, Hintz has not performed well against the highest competition in his home country. The top league in Finland is the Liiga. In 49 total games played in the Liiga, Roope has a total of 17 points, good for 0.35 points per game. That is not exactly the stellar production one would hope to see from a potential second round pick. Of course, he played those games as a 17-18 year old against quality opponents who were most likely much older. Nonetheless, however, if he wants to succeed in the NHL, he first needs to be able to shine in lesser leagues like the Liiga, and he has not shown the ability to get on the score sheet often over there.
Canucks Army was high on Hintz, too.
If there are holes in his game, Corey Pronman reports that his physical game is a bit in-and-out and his defending could use some work. To me, Hintz looked to be engaged physically with a fair degree of regularity when he was playing at the world juniors, so maybe playing against much stronger and older players in Finland's top men's league makes Hintz play a little less aggressively, or makes him appear less effective than he will be once he reaches 6'3, 200 lbs.
The overall scouting community seems less high on Hintz than both Pronman and the numbers do, however, so Hintz could be an excellent value pick in the mid-second to early third round if he slides that far. He probably doesn't have the dynamic skill to be Nicklas Backstrom, and roughly four out of five players similar to Hintz missed the NHL all together, but a big body that moves well, has produced well in pro already, and has a good base of skills shouldn't be discounted.
Video evidence that he actually exists:
Hintz only scored five goals in 42 games in his first year against men, but here they all are. The goals. Not the men.