Watch: Prospect Jesse Graham’s Empty Net Save

Kevin Schultz

This is from earlier in the week, but it’s still worth a look. It’s Jesse Graham, the Isles sixth round pick from 2012, making a huge play for the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL. I’ll just let the video do the talking, instead of spoiling it for you beforehand: 

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The opposing team throws the puck down ice and it looks to be in the empty net, but Graham is able to swoop in at the last second and grab it off the goal line, literally.

As play goes back up the other way, Saginaw is able to beat the Greyhounds while they’re changing as Kristoff Kontos puts the puck in the net. Unfortunately for Saginaw, that only cut the lead to 6-5 as they were down two at the time.

Over at Yahoo, Neate Seager provides some details on how Graham is fairing this season in Saginaw:

Graham has been an intriguing player over his run in the OHL, as a defenceman who’s a relatively stripling at a listed 5-foot-11 and 172 pounds. The Toronto native isn’t a purely offence-first D-man even though one might be inclined to view him as such because of his modest stature. His 41 points over 53 games between the Niagara IceDogs, where he began the year as captain, and Saginaw, puts him a mere eighth in the OHL defenceman scoring race. The Toronto native also unsigned by an Islanders organization that used its entire ’12 draft on defenders (three of whom played in this season’s world junior), which could make it more challenging to earn a contract. Yet he’s always been a very guileful player who stepped into the OHL at age 16 and immediately handled a big role with Niagara, where he and current Boston Bruins defenceman Dougie Hamilton were partners for much of their 2½ seasons together.

Graham is currently unsigned by the Islanders, and the team will have until June 1st of this year to figure out what to do with him. The Isles have two other defenders from the 2012 who will come due this year as well in Loic Leduc (3rd round) and Adam Pelech (2nd).


That 2012 draft was a strong one.   The first 3 picks, Reinhart, Pelech and Pokka are all capable of being top 4 defenders and are a big reason why the Islanders farm system is ranked 5th.  The 4th and 5th picks Leduc and Somerby are 2 mountainous young men, that are raw, yet have a ton of upside.  Even Graham, picked in the 6th rd, is a legitimate prospect.

Reinhart though is the jewel in the islanders system.   He has the size, strength and smarts to make an emediate impact in the NHL.  He is well polished defensively and should adjust quickly.  His WHL season will be over some point after the Oil Kings reg season is over (Mid March) at which point he should be getting some NHL experience.  As long as he is used properly, him and de Haan could be a very nice pair very soon.