SIX BIG AND SKILLED FORWARDS FOR PICKS 26-37Or earlier, if the Islanders want to make their move

No matter what the Islanders do with their first overall pick, we know they’re going to come out of it with either a 40-goal scorer, elite defenseman or the next Steve Yzerman. Right?

 

Today, we turn our focus to the prospects the Islanders could grab with the 26th pick (from Ottawa in the Chris Campoli deal), by making a deal to move from pick 26 to anywhere in the 12-22 range, and possibly with the 31st and 37th overall selections.

 

Heading into this draft, the Islanders’ prospect chart has holes all over the place. Heading into this draft, the Islanders’ prospect chart is inarguably in the back half of the league, arguably in the bottom third. There is still a lot of work to be done. A successful 2009 draft, coupled with the development of prospects selected from 2006-2008, could place them around 10th by this time next year.

 

Among the Islanders’ needs, one of the most obvious is size and skill on the wings. The list of the Islanders’ top junior, college and European prospects is short on scoring forwards with great size. The exception, Kirill Petrov, is under contract for the next three years in Russia. 2008 5th round pick Matt Martin is expected to be more of an intangibles, bottom-six wing. In Bridgeport, 6-4, 225-pound Jesse Joensuu likely maxes out as a second-line player.

 

For certain, this draft is not bountiful in first round power forwards, but there is quality of players with size and skill - especially if the Islanders want to make a bold move. Here are a few of their options.

 

ZACK KASSIAN (pictured above and left): 6-3, 210-pound right wing with Peterborough (OHL) destined to be an NHL fan favorite. Hits, fights, leads, scores (24-39-63 and 136 PIMs in 61 games).

NHL Central Scouting: 10th among North American skaters

International Scouting Service: 20th overall

Point Blank projected draft range: 12 – 22nd pick overall

Islanders value: Worth trading an early 2 to move up to 15-18 to grab? Absofrigginlutely.

 

 

CARTER ASHTON: 6-2, 205-pound right wing with Lethbridge (WHL) is your classic Western power forward.  His numbers (30-20-50 and 93 PIMs in 71 games) are solid for an 18-year old big man, but prove he has more to learn.

NHL Central Scouting: 12th among N.A. skaters.

International Scouting Service: outside of top-30

Point Blank projected draft range: 14 – 24th pick overall

Islanders value: Not worth trading one of the team’s early second round picks to move up to grab Ashton, but if it costs the late second (from Boston) or a third round pick to go from 26 to, say, 22 and get him because he’s high on their board, then they could go for it.

 

 

CHRIS KREIDER: 6-2, 210-pound left wing/center is on his way to Boston College after dominating at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

NHL Central Scouting: 14th among N.A. skaters.

International Scouting Service: 24th overall

Point Blank projected draft range: 14 – 24th pick overall

Islanders value: Will likely be gone before the 26th pick. All depends on how badly the Islanders want him.

 

 

JORDAN CARON: Talented 6-2 forward with Rimouski of the Quebec League can play wing and center. In 56 games this season was 36-31-67. Could look nice on a second line with Josh Bailey.

NHL Central Scouting: 21st among N.A. skaters.

International Scouting Service: 25th overall

Point Blank projected draft range: 20 – 30th pick overall

Islanders value: The team might be able to wait for him at 26, which would be excellent value for a player of this upside.

 

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Here are two centers the Islanders could select. They have size, skill and hockey sense and could still be around in the 26-37 range.

 

 

ETHAN WEREK: 6-2, 200-pound two-way center in the mold of Mike Richards. 32-32-64 in 61 games with Kingston of the Ontario League.

NHL Central Scouting: 32nd among N.A. skaters.

International Scouting Service: 26th overall

Point Blank projected draft range: 22 - 32nd pick overall

Islanders value: No need to make a move up from 26th if the Islanders have John Tavares, Josh Bailey and Frans Nielsen down the middle. But a strong pick, and a center who could possibly be converted to wing, if the Islanders can get Werek between 26 and 37.

 

 

JOONAS NATTINEN: Solid performance at the World Junior Championships opened scouts’ eyes to the 6-2, 195-pound two-way center. His advocates believe there is more offensive ability than he has shown so far.

NHL Central Scouting: 10th among European skaters.

International Scouting Service: 28th overall

Point Blank projected draft range: 24 – 34th pick overall

Islanders value: A major wild card the Islanders can wait to come to them early in the second round. Maybe someday he can be part of a line with Joensuu.

 

 

Comments on this topic only here. The Josh Bailey and player-fan experience discussion continues in next thread.

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