The New York Islanders gave their franchise some options last summer when they traded Travis Hamonic to the Flames for Calgary’s unprotected 2018 first-round pick. While some foresaw a possibility of getting an actual lottery pick out of the trade — one reason I advocated holding on to it rather than trading it last summer or mid-season — few would’ve expected the result to be the Islanders holding two consecutive lottery picks in this year’s first round.
In the end, that’s how it turned out as both the Flames and Islanders missed the playoffs, creating two lottery picks out of the exchange, though neither of them in sexy top-10 territory.
Still, holding picks at #11 and #12 lets the Islanders shop at least one of them for a roster player. One significant hole in the Islanders lineup is at goaltender, where Jaroslav Halak is an unrestricted free agent and Thomas Greiss is coming off a career-worst season.
So should the Isles dangle one of those picks for a “pretty good, could be a legit starter” goalie like Philipp Grubauer?
Well, that’s exactly what we did with our first selection in this year’s SB Nation NHL Mock Draft.
Lou Lamoriello’s done this before, of course. In New Jersey, he sent the #9 pick overall at the 2013 draft for goalie Cory Schneider. We did something similar, then, in trading the 11th overall pick for Grubauer and Washington’s 30th/31st (depending on the Stanley Cup final outcome) pick.
In quick discussions last week with our colleagues at Capitals site Japers’ Rink — who’ve had other things on their mind this month — we reasoned that Grubauer’s profile isn’t nearly as certain as Schenider’s was at the time of that trade. The German, who turns 27 in November, had a very good season in a career-high 35 games spelling a struggling Braden Holtby, but his numbers compared to league peers don’t project quite as promisingly as Schneider’s did when he shined in Vancouver’s never-ending “Cory or Roberto” soap opera.
With that in mind, we asked for Washington’s pick as well as Grubauer, while allowing the Caps to make the first pick ahead of the Islanders. They took Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who we also had on our list around these two spots.
But worry not, we also liked a few other players in this area. Tune in tomorrow morning when we announce who we selected at #12. Follow all the SB Nation NHL Mock Draft picks here. And after 12th selection, we’ll have one more pick at the end of the draft...OR WILL WE?