The NHL Draft is just a few days away and that means it's the moment of truth for the many, many people who have spent a lot of time compiling mock drafts over the past days (or weeks or months).
As of now, the Islanders have the 19th pick in the first round, and by the time it gets to that point (or out of the top three, really), everything is a dart on a board. That mysterious Phantom Zone is reflected in the various names and games that the drafters have the Islanders taking.
The only player to appear on more than one mock draft is center Michael McLeod out of the OHL's Mississauga Steelheads. Eyes on the Prize says the 6-foot-2 McLeod has a strong two-way game, has shown substantial improvement in his first two years in Junior and could be take in the top 15 of this year's draft. All of that may very well be true, but there's no guarantee the Islanders take him or are even interested.
In addition to our choice of Calgary defender Jake Bean in the SBN Mock Draft, only two other outlets have the Islanders taking a defenseman. Adam Kimelman thinks monstrous beast Logan Stanley will drop to 19th, while draft analyst Steve Kourniainos is the only one who feels the Islanders will take Long Island native Charlie McAvoy. He's a smooth skater and puck handler, but before you get too excited about McAvoy, know that All About The Jersey reports that he grew up a Rangers fan. That might be a deal breaker.
Everybody else is all over the map - literally - with picks from the OHL, QMJHL, United States Hockey League and even Russia. Honestly, who the hell knows? The pick could also be traded by the time you read this. No one ever knows what Garth Snow will do at the draft.
Anyway, here are a sample of mocks from around the net. The links in the first column go to that site's full draft. We'll add some more if they pop up.
|SBN - Lighthouse Hockey||Jake Bean, D, Calgary (WHL)||CanadianIslesLifer went all out in explaining his pick on behalf of LHH.|
|Sportsnet - Jeff Marek||Luke Kunin, C, University of Wisconsin (NCAA)||The Islanders grab the versatile forward who stuck through a challenging year at Wisconsin out of loyalty to the program.|
|Sportsnet - Damien Cox||Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)||Could ultimately be a replacement for Frans Nielsen if he moves on via free agency. McLeod one of the best skaters in the draft.|
|CSNNE - Joe Haggerty||Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)||McLeod and his speedy skating legs will start to help fill a seemingly impossible void should the Isles lose out on forwards like Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen in free agency. The 6-foot-2, 188-pounder is relentless and crafty, and should fit right into the Islanders way of doing business alongside John Tavares.|
|CBS Sports - Chris Peters||Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)||For a good portion of the year, McLeod was viewed as a potential high first-rounder. He's fallen back a ways, but probably won't fall outside of the top 20. A centerman with a 6-2, 190 frame, McLeod had 61 points for the Steelheads in 57 games last year.|
|NESN - Nicholas Goss||German Rubtsov, C, Russia U-18||[none]|
|The Hockey Writers - Larry Fisher||Riley Tufte, LW, Fargo (USHL)||The Islanders might be losing Kyle Okposo to free agency and would want to replace that size in their top-six forwards eventually. Tufte could be a good long-term option, but he’s really raw and his dominance of high-school hockey didn’t translate to junior.|
|NHL.com - Mike Morreale||Max Jones, LW, London (OHL)||Jones (6-3, 205) is good at tracking pucks, plays with an edge, and knows how to use his size and strength to an advantage. He had 28 goals, five game-winning goals, 52 points, 106 penalty minutes and a plus-30 rating in 63 games this season, and four points in four games to help London win the Memorial Cup.|
|NHL.com - Adam Kimelman||Logan Stanley, D, Windsor (OHL)||Some physicality on defense would help and at 6-7, 224 pounds, Stanley brings that element. He skates well for a player his size and likely will continue to improve. He won't be a big offensive producer, but could look pretty solid as the defensive half of a future pairing with Ryan Pulock.|
|The Draft Analyst - Steve Kournianos||Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston University (NCAA)||(From May 1) A year ago, the upstart Islanders seemingly were set on the blue line. Trading Griffin Reinhart and the uncertainty with Travis Hamonic may put a dent in their ability to defend, and who better to address it than McAvoy, a Long Island native who was one of the NCAA’s top freshman blueliners. He can skate and lay you out with a hit, and if opponents give his some room, yank you out of your seat.|
|USA Today - Kyle Woodlief||Julien Gauthier, RW, Val d'Or (QMJHL)||Big, fast and skilled even with second-half scoring woes. The Isles stop the slide at 19 and hope his second half was an aberration.|
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Maybe one of these guys will be an Islander in a few days, maybe not. In the meantime, remember...