With the 11th and 12th selections in the 2018 NHL Draft, the New York Islanders had their choice of several prospects they likely didn’t expect to be available when their turns arrived.
One of them was Oliver Wahlstrom, a sniping right wing they selected with the 11th overall pick. Wahlstrom can’t be mentioned, it seems, without mention of a “viral” video of his slick lacross shootout move as a nine-year-old. But he’s a bona fide natural sniper and promising offensive prospect who has excelled with the U.S. National Team Development Program (40 goals and 80 points in 53 games) and was initially committed to Harvard, but is instead headed to Boston College.
Then at 12, the Islanders selected Noah Dobson, a 6’3” QMJHLer projected to potentially be a top-pair defenseman. Here are highlights of the right-shooter’s game with Acadie-Bathurst.
There were lots of observations of new president of hockey operations and general manager Lou Lamoriello talking with other GMs before the pick, but if he was discussing a trade of either of the picks, none was to be had.
And from this standpoint, I can’t disagree. If they were bartering those two picks, they’d need a real contributor for next season’s roster. That’s a tall ask and it doesn’t seem any were available. Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer was traded that night, but evidently the Caps were intent on moving him to another conference, and the Avalanche had to accept the Shell of Brooks Orpik and his contract as part of the trade. [UPDATE: Pierre LeBrun later reported that the Capitals would’ve happily dealt Grubauer in-conference to the Isles...but Lamoriello was unwilling to include a first-round pick.]
The picks leading up to the 11th and 12th picks went as follows, with a couple of surprises (Hayton, Kravtsov) about players selected before the Isles’ picks came:
- Rasmus Dahlin, D, Sabres
- Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Hurricanes
- Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Canadiens
- Brady Tkachuk, C, Senators
- Barrett Hayton, C, Coyotes
- Filip Zadina, LW, Red Wings
- Quinn Hughes, D, Canucks
- Adam Boqvist, D, Blackhawks
- Vitali Kravtsov, RW, Rangers
- Evan Bouchard, D, Oilers
Oliver Wahlstrom is poised, confident and ready to enjoy the #NHLDraft.#NHLTonight @EJHradek_NHL @TonyLuftman pic.twitter.com/zd1wTtwGeA— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) June 22, 2018
Highlights from Corey Pronman’s every prospect write up in The Athletic:
Pronman’s take: In Wahlstrom, the Islanders get a highly skilled player and an elite goal-scorer who put up giant numbers this season. He instantly becomes their top prospect and a potential first line scorer for them in a few years. He will need time to round out his game, but he’s a year or two away at most.
Pronman’s take: In Dobson, the Islanders get a very mobile, smart two-way defenseman who was one of the best defensemen in the CHL at 17. He’s not super flashy and probably won’t be an impact offensive guy, but he could be a tough minutes defenseman on your second power play unit. He slots in behind Wahlstrom in their farm system.