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Islanders 2016 Draft Recap: The Wingers of Tomorrow Today

The Islanders stock their system a little more, but make no huge moves.

Great show, Buffalo.
Great show, Buffalo.
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a normal person that didn't spend a beautiful Saturday indoors watching middle-aged men sitting at tables calling names at the NHL Draft, you didn't miss much. For Islanders fans expecting a franchise-altering move, the day might have been a disappointment.

Like a microcosm of their regular season, the team did some good and possibly better than good things despite not making a quantum leap. As I wrote before Day 1, the offseason didn't end today for Garth Snow. But the pressure to make things happen this summer has grown now that draft day is over.

We'll save that anxiety for later. For now, let's recap how the Islanders made out at this year's draft.

Round 1:

No. 19 - Kieffer Bellows, W, USNDP/Boston University

We had plenty on Bellows last night when he was picked in the first round. From the Islanders perspective, they leaped at the chance to draft the high-scoring, scrappy forward the way they did for Mathew Barzal last season.

[Snow] "For us, we see him as a top-10 pick. He competes and obviously an ability to put the puck in the net. A player that just doesn't take shifts off. He's gritty and competes which is something we're excited to be able to add to our organization."

Round 4:

The Islanders had no second or third round picks thanks to earlier trades, and Snow didn't move up into either round. Instead, he moved twice in the fourth round, once to grab an earlier pick and then to acquire the final pick in the round.

No. 96 - Anatoli Golyshev, W, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (KHL)

Lots of folks have lots of good things to say about the diminutive Golyshev, who led his Russian club with 25 goals this season at age 21. Elliotte Friedman reported that he was a player with some buzz going into the draft, and Leafs Nation called him the possibly best unsigned prospect in the world. Talent, it appears, isn't the issue.

What is the issue is whether or not the Islanders can get him to North America, which is a song we've heard before. Golyshev has a contract with Yekaterinberg that runs until 2019. After Day 2, Islanders head amateur scout Velli-Pekka Kautonen said he believes there was a chance the team could buy Golyshev out of that contract. Sounds like it won't be easy.

No. 120 - Otto Koivula, W, Ilves U-20 (Finland)

After swapping a 2017 fourth rounder with the Flyers, the Islanders stayed overseas and took a hulking teenager from Finland named Otto. Like Golyshev, Koivula scored 26 goals and has an active contract he just signed. Unlike the Russian, Koivula is big (6'-4," 219 lbs) and very young (18 in September).

Hockey Prospectus' Finnish writer praised Koivula's shot and hockey IQ while noting that he'll have a skating coach this summer to help him fix his game's glaring weakness.

Round 6:

No. 170 - Collin Adams, W, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)/North Dakota

Like Bellows, Adams is committed to attending college in the fall, when he'll be going to Brock Nelson's alma mater, North Dakota. Adams is another smaller player (5'-9") who put up better than a point-per-game in the United States Hockey League (27 goals, 61 points in 59 games). He was heavily recruited after some very impressive seasons with his AAA program.

Round 7:

No. 193 - Nick Pastujov, W, USNDP/Michigan

Last round, one last college guy. Nick Pastujov will attend Michigan with his brother Michael. Although his boxcar numbers with the US Development Program aren't eye-popping, he was well thought of by Central Scouting, ESPN prospect watcher Corey Pronman and others, and seems like a project with some skill. Oh, and his parents worked in the circus. I find this endlessly fascinating.

(BTW: Nick's Twitter handle is @Pasta_Sauce9)

No. 200 - David Quenneville, D, Medicine Hat (WHL)

The only defenseman drafted by the Islanders this year also comes with the most famous name. David is Joel Quenneville's cousin, Johnny Boychuk's nephew-in-law and a high-scoring blueliner. He had 14 goals and 55 points for the Tigers last season, and was the highest scoring d-man on Team Canada at the World Juniors Under-18 tournament. He's not the biggest player in the world (5'-8"), but smaller, puck-moving defensemen are the in-thing right now.

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So, what happened to all the big trades?

They didn't happen. The only trades Garth Snow made were for picks to move up in this year's draft, one of which cost next year's fourth rounder. The biggest names to move in the entire league were Brian Elliott, Lars Eller and Andrew Shaw; good players but not headliners.

Most of us expected the Islanders to make big changes at the draft to address the possible losses of Kyle Okposo and/or Frans Nielsen. But with only five picks and none in the second and third rounds, Snow's quiver was just too light. It doesn't mean the season is already over or that he's done making moves. It just means any upgrades are now going to be made by swapping roster players, prospects or future draft picks, or via free agency.

Spending season starts next Friday, and teams already have the greenlight to contact free agents and make pitches. That means Snow (and Doug Weight, who often does) can start calling, but it also means teams can start calling Nielsen and Okposo. Things are about to get weird.

In terms of prospect haul, the Islanders grabbed a selection of very intriguing kids that could be players in the future. The biggest gamble is probably Golyshev, who's also the one with the highest upside outside of Bellows. Adding good players to an already good prospect pool isn't a bad thing.

But the larger mission remains the same: the Islanders need to get better next season. None of these players, however talented they may be, will probably help in that endeavor. Snow still has plenty of work ahead of him.