Islanders Get Two Steals, Nab Wahlstrom and Dobson at Draft
With Lou Lamorielllo and Barry Trotz in the fold, the New York Islanders got to work quick during the NHL Draft, keeping both their picks and selecting right winger Oliver Wahlstrom and defenseman Noah Dobson. Wahlstrom dropped a few spots (more on that in a bit) to 11th, as did Dobson at 12.
To address the elephant in the room, I was way off on my draft evaluation. In fairness, not many people were on, as Wahlstrom and Dobson were rated the number five and six prospects in the entire draft. Many say that Wahlstrom will wind up being the best pure goal scorer, and Dobson was touted as the second best defenseman in the draft, behind No. 1 overall pick Rasmus Dahlin.
Many executives stated that the Islanders won the first round of the draft with their two picks, as they were top ten talents that just happened to fall into the Isles’ laps. After much discussion that the Isles would use one of their first round picks to grab Washington Capitals’ restricted free agent Philipp Grubauer, that notion was shot down immediately, as he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche. To further dismiss those rumors, according to Pierre Lebrun on The Athletic, Lamoriello never considered trading a first round pick for Grubauer. Part of the Grubauer sweepstakes was the willingness to take on Brooks Orpik’s bloated contract. Obviously, with John Tavares in play and other moves to be made, the Islanders were not willing to take on that contract.
The Islanders made the steals of the draft so far and these two players are NHL ready. Let’s take a moment to dive a little deeper into just what kind of players the Islanders got with their picks.
From all accounts, the Islanders got a top five talent in Wahlstrom at No. 11. He is a pure goal scorer, has great hands, and has that Patrick Kane confidence on and off the ice. He’s cocky, but not arrogant, and that’s a great trait to have if you want to be a prolific goal scorer in the NHL. He’s had that confidence for a while, as he scored a highlight reel shootout goal when he was just nine-years-old.
Wahlstrom is coming off two stellar seasons, one with the U.S. Under-18 team (40-43-83 in 54 games) and one in the USHL (23-22-55) in 26 games. He is most comparable to Alexander Ovechkin (who he said he has a Fathead of in his room) and Mike Bossy. Those are extremely lofty expectations, but somebody’s gotta make them. Wahlstrom is a sniper and will be one of the best scorers on the team for years to come, hopefully.
Noah Dobson was chosen 12th overall by the Islanders, after being touted as the fifth-best prospect in the draft and the second-best defenseman. He is a big D-man with some pizzazz on offense and great skating skills. He needs to fill out a bit, but he’s got plenty of time, as he just turned 18 in Jan.
Dobson is silky smooth on the blue-line and was touted so highly because of his advanced skating and defensive skills. His biggest asset is his long stick, and plays a style similar to some of the bigger D-men in the league. His likeness is Alex Pietrangelo, and if he develops anywhere near the Blues’ defenseman, the Islanders hit two home runs.
The Islanders were the belles of the ball on Friday night with their two first round picks. While nothing is guaranteed and injuries happen, the Isles followed course and could not pass up the opportunity to draft two potential cornerstones. At their best, Wahlstrom will be a perennial 30 goal scorer with potential for more, and Dobson will quarterback a powerplay that could include Mathew Barzal, John Tavares, and Anders Lee. These two are NHL ready, but they’re more likely than not going to hone their skills in juniors. It’s been a long time coming, but everything is coming up Islanders. The next step? John Tavares re-signing with the club.
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