The New York Islanders added another defenseman and a talented center with their second-round picks in the 2018 NHL draft.
With the 41st overall selection they grabbed Bode Wilde, a big, talented, confident puck-moving defenseman that many had predicted would be selected in the first round. Two picks later at 43, they grabbed the immensely talented Ruslan Iskhakov, who was still available only because of his diminutive size.
Wilde comes out of the U.S. National Team Development Program and was committed to NCAA Michigan but is now going to go to the OHL instead. Iskhakov is out of Russia but is headed to NCAA Connecticut.
Pierre McGuire has called Wilde an “elite puck mover, closest one in the draft to Scott Niedermayer. I have’t seen too many guys like Niedermayer, Wilde is close, not saying he is as good, but lot of similarities between the two.”
David St-Louis at Habs Eyes on the Prize was wowed by Iskhakov:
Ishkakov has incredible hands and feet that work very well together. He is very agile and can slip and turn away from defenders while protecting the puck. He is hard to catch and he uses his great four-way mobility to avoid being angled to the boards where he is at a disadvantage.
Corey Pronman of The Athletic had Iskhakov as one of the steals still available on Day 2:
...his puck skills are fantastic. He can maneuver with the puck as well as most players in his age group. His brain is also high end, if not elite. He sees plays developing so well and can outsmart defenders with his hands and vision. He made some of the best passes I saw all season, and the way he improvises on the ice to get out of tough situations with his creativity is worth the price of admission. The major issue I have in his projection isn’t his size but rather he’s not a blazing skater, which isn’t ideal for a guy his size. He lacks a dangerous top gear...
Pronman also had Wilde on that list, explaining in part:
...[WIlde’s] speed and skill level for a 6-foot-2 defenseman is elite. You see rushes from Wilde where he looks like a potential top 3-5 pick with the way he can blow by guys, create a clean zone entry and start the offense for his club. I’m impressed at times by his offensive instincts in how creative he is with the puck, and the way he moves it out of his zone with skill or can hit a teammate through a tight seam in the O-zone. Despite being known as an offensive player, he can close on guys and is quite physical, not afraid to lean on guys with his frame. The big issue with him is decision making...
Wilde was ranked 13 by Future Considerations, 17 by Central Scouting, 13th by https://t.co/faPg7ARe7U, 15 by Mckeens, and 19 by @coreypronman. We got him at 41.— NYI Fans For Life (Trotz edition) (@NYIFansForLife) June 23, 2018
Pronman had Iskhakov ranked 16. We got him at 43.#Isles by all measures continue to crush it in the 2nd round
All in all, a good second round to follow up the Islanders’ gems taken on Day 1 in the first round. The Travis Hamonic trade may pay off quite well.