The New York Islanders continued what appears to be a focus on plus skaters when they selected left-shooting defenseman Isaiah George, of OHL London, with the 98th overall pick to kick off the fourth round. This is the pick acquired along with Alex Romanov when they swapped their 13th overall pick to Montreal.
George is viewed as an agile skater who excels at defending and breaking up rushes; draft ratings tend to debate whether he’ll bring the puck movement and passing needed to excel at the NHL. He was rated a little higher during the season than where he ended up on pre-draft rankings. But things like mononucleosis were among setbacks he faced this past year.
The Edmonton Journal had a recent profile covering that and other aspects:
The six-foot, 195-pounder was ranked 42nd among North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau at midseason, falling to 53rd by season’s end. But he has so much going for him, it would be no surprise to see him up on the stage well before those projections.
“[his plus skating] is not really (naturally given),” he said. “Through minor hockey, I worked on it extra, especially summers with power skating. Even off the ice, I worked on co-ordination, footwork and my movements. I enjoy it, I like trying to improve and it all translated well to my skating ability.”
Playing for London in the OHL means he’s under the tutelage of the D*le H*nter factory, which produces a lot of NHLers. Isles fans will try not to hold that nor his Leafs fandom against him.
A description from Corey Pronman of the Athletic, who had him ranked 121st:
George is a mobile defenseman who plays well in his own end of the rink due to his strong gap control and compete level. He can kill a lot of rushes and break up plays. George shows some flashes of skill with the puck with a hard point shot but I wouldn’t call him a natural puck mover. He can at times force plays. The skating gives him a chance to play but he’ll need to show a more reliable first pass along with offensive blueline play to be a regular NHLer.
The moment Isaiah George became an Islander. pic.twitter.com/I8gtaw5jdG— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) July 8, 2022