The Islanders will be picking in the middle of the first round for the first time under Garth Snow’s tenure, and while it’s always hard to handicap the draft outside the Top 5, today we’ll take a look at who may be available for the Islanders in the middle of the first round at 15th overall.
Anthony Mantha — 6-4, 190 // Val D’or (QMJHL)
Mantha was a decent prospect, scoring at about a point per game pace in the high-scoring Q until this past season. He exploded for 50 goals and 89 points in 67 games and added another 12 points in 9 playoff games. The question with him becomes is this a flash in the pan or the sign of taking a very significant step in his game? There are also some questions about motivation and that he is a big guy who doesn’t use his size as much as he should. But there are certainly positives for a player ranked so highly, as per Corey Pronman:
Alexander Wennberg — 6-1, 183 // Djurgarden (Sweden)
Lighthouse Hockey selected Wennberg with SB Nation’s 15th pick in their mock draft, a two-way player who seems to be better at setting up goals than scoring them. Here’s what Hockey’s Future has to say:
Bo Horvat — 6-0, 205 // London (OHL)
Horvat comes from the London Knights, John Tavares’ former team, and had a point per game over 67 regular season and 21 playoff games this season. He’s an all-around player and Pronman describes him as “one of the most complete forwards in the draft” and “that it is difficult to find a weakness in his game.” Horvat excelled on the penalty kill in London, is very responsible defensively and capable offensively. The International Scouting Service had exceptional praise for him saying he is “built for playoff hockey and potential to be a team captain down the road.”
Curtis Lazar — 6-0, 195 // Edmonton (WHL)
Lazar spent the past year playing with Isles 2012 first round pick, Griffin Reinhart, for Edmonton in the WHL. He had 38 goals in 72 games but don’t let that fool you, he’s another well-rounded and defensive-minded player like Horvat, according to himself:
Max Domi — 5-10, 190 // London (OHL)
Yep, this is the son of former Crazy Pants and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tie Domi. Unlike his dad, Max can score goals with 39 in 64 games this past season in London, Ontario. Domi has played with Horvat, so one or the other’s numbers could be skewed because of that (or they could both be really good, in all fairness). But Domi is such an offensive threat on the ice that it could pull him out of the Islanders’ range and into the Top-10 of the draft. He’s small but very quick and is getting compared to Dustin Brown and last year’s draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko. Here’s what USA Today’s Kyle Woodlief (yeah, that guy) said about Domi:
Hunter Shinkaruk — 5-10, 180 // Medicine Hat (WHL)
Shinkaruk is another guy, like Domi, that could be off the board just in front of the Islanders. And, like Domi, he is a small but offensively gifted player notching 37 goals in 64 games this past season. That is actually a drop off from the 49 he had the prior year. Unlike most of these players, he’s already spent three full seasons years playing in the CHL, having started playing for Medicine Hat when he was 16. He was also named the team’s captain this year. Here’s Copper and Blue’s take, with a big caution flag about that drop-off:
Shinkaruk brings more offense than either Schremp or Esposito did when they were drafted, and it’s quite possible that a slight regression in offense doesn’t actually matter. But given that Shinkaruk’s likely outcome if it doesn’t matter is good-but-not-great and his likely outcome if it does is something less than that, the uncertainty is going to push him down my list.
Valentin Zykov — 6-0, 207 // Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
Zykov made the jump from Russia to the CHL this year and did it in style with 40 goals in 67 games. His skating could be an issue but he’s a big, tough forward who gets into those proverbial ‘dirty areas’. He may be a bit of a reach though, as most mock drafts seem to have him in the later part of the first round. Here’s Hockey’s Future:
Ryan Hartman — 5-11, 185 // Plymouth (OHL)
Hartman is the first American born player in this feature, and he hails from Illinois and comes from the US’ developmental program. He’s a smaller forward but he plays a very tough and in-your-face kind of game and has a scoring touch to boot. The knock on him is whether or not his size will be a detriment to his physical style of play at the NHL level. Here’s what Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards had to say:
As Central Scouting’s chief scout for the OHL, Edwards has seen Hartman several times this season.
“He’s not the biggest guy, but he shows no fear of getting involved and battles for the puck,” he said. “He can hit hard and is aggressive on the forecheck. He sees the ice well, gets the puck through traffic with creative passes and offers a very good shot that he gets off quickly.”
We’ll be back later with a look at the defenders, and one goalie, who could be available for the Islanders to pick.