The New York Islanders used their lone third-round pick (72nd overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft on goaltender Jakub Skarek, from Dukla Jihlava of the Czech league.
Skarek, who is slated to move to Finland next season, was the top-rated goaltender in the draft according to many, including Gregory Balloch of InGoal Mag:
In what many are calling a down year for goaltenders in the NHL draft, Jakub Skarek is as close to a complete package as you are going to find. He checks a lot of boxes for both old school and new age scouts. Size? At 6-foot-3, 200 lbs, he’s got that. Pedigree? He has made an abundance of international appearances for the Czech Republic, with mostly positive results. He posted well above-average numbers playing against men in the Czech top division, and has signed a contract to play for the Lahti Pelicans of the SM-liiga next season.
After the selection, Balloch added more on Twitter about Skarek’s flexibility, size and why some teams downgraded him leading into the draft:
Teams seemed to sour on Skarek because of a few poor showings at international events, but honestly, he's probably the most NHL ready of the goalies that will be selected today. Some more info from my breakdown earlier this week: https://t.co/iUGCx4DkGZ #Isles #NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/JZbXz3DtVE— Gregory Balloch (@GregBalloch) June 23, 2018
Also rating him at the top of an admittedly weak goalie draft class, Steve Kournianos of thedraftanalyst:
Nightmarish world juniors notwithstanding, Skarek remains the draft’s top goalie prospect. Blessed with size, cat-like quickness and a superior radar for puck movement, Skarek has held him own as a teenager in the Czech Republic’s premiere league. He’s a classic butterfly goalie who handles the puck well and quickly challenges shooters above the crease. One thing that has impressed me is his glove-hand positioning in either the V/H (Vertical/ Horizontal) or RVH (Reverse Vertical/Horizontal) — Skarek keeps the glove directly above his pad to cover the upper half of the short side.
Keeping him overseas provides some flexibility — and hopefully, playing time against some better competition — for a position in the pipeline that is notoriously tricky to manage, given the need to find both of the above.