With the Dispersal Draft behind us and the regular season started, we can finally see how the brainchild of GM Peter Beaton looks on the ice.
After two games…it’s not great.
That said, the goal of this build was not necessarily to win this year. The goal of this team was to be competitive for the next 5+ years. This was evident in the top few selections by GM Beaton, where the players didn’t have great stats, but project to be big name players in BEARD Hockey league long term.
Here is a breakdown of some of the Islanders key selections, with rationale:
Round 1 - Pick #7 - Adam Fox
This was a no brainer, to acquire the 2nd best defensemen in the NHL who is signed for 5 years, Fox was the obvious choice to build around.
Round 1 - Pick #26 - Jack Hughes
Believe it or not, GM Beaton almost took Hughes at #7. This would have been the pick if GM Beaton wasn’t able to acquire a second 1st rounder. GM Beaton sees a top 10 forward in Jack Hughes, this combined with his age and his long-term contract at $8 million made Jack Hughes the obvious pick for GM Beaton.
Round 4 - Pick #122 - Jack Eichel
The stars were aligning with Jack Eichel falling all the way to the 4th round. GM Beaton had him as a 1st round selection, even though many GM’s were deterred by his low stats and high salary. Eichel is a top 15 centerman in the NHL and was a project pick well worth the risk.
Round 5 - Pick #135 - Jared Spurgeon
To get a #1 D in the 5th round was a no-brainer, next pick!
Round 6 - Pick #167 - Kailer Yamamoto
Yamamoto was an interesting pick. He’s a solid 2nd liner on his own, but to get a winger that plays regular minutes with McDavid/Draisaitl is a bet that he will break out for 70+ points.
Round 7 - Pick #199 - Prospect Package #26
This was a scramble pick, but that said GM Beaton saw it as one of the deepest prospect packages. Maverick Bourque projects as a 2-way top 6 forward, Dufour had a breakout season and projects as a competitive middle 6 scoring winger, Brock Faber projects as a #2 or #3 defenseman and Will Cuylle projects as a 3rd liner. This prospect package had a good amount of depth and should supply with 4-5 players in the next 3 seasons.
Round 8 - Pick #250 - Nick Schmaltz
A theme for the Islanders picks were players signed long-term who have upside. Nick Schmaltz is another great example. Much like the Nugent-Hopkins pick (Round 6 #186), Schmaltz is a top 6 forward signed long-term at a very team friendly deal.
Round 8 - #252 and Round 12 #378 - Sean Durzi and Thomas Harley
These middle round picks GM Beaton went with potential upside. Both Durzi and Harley are good young defensemen who don’t add much to the squad this season, but long-term could turn into top 4 defensemen.
Round 13 - #319 and Round 14 - #442 - TJ Brodie and Gustav Nyqvist
These picks were obviously not long-term picks and didn’t really fit into GM Beaton’s vision. Hence why both have not been shipped out. In the Nyqvist deal, the Islanders welcomed the return of Maxime Comtois, 2nd, 3rd. In the Brodie deal, the Islanders added Ivan Provorov.
Below is the Islanders goal lineup for next season along with the depth at each position
Kailer Yamamoto - Jack Hughes - Nick Schmaltz
Ryan Donato- Jack Eichel - Unknown winger
Maxime Comtois - Jesper Boqvist - Logan Brown
Sam Carrick - Nick Cousins - Julien Gauthier
Otto Koivula - Bottom 6 Forward
Simon Holmstrom - Middle 6 Winger
Jan Jenik - Middle 6 Center
Martin Kaut - Bottom 6 Winger
Mavrik Bourque - Top 6 Winger
Will Cuylle - Middle 6 Winger
William Dufour - Middle 6 Winger
Joakim Kemell - Top 6 Winger
Adam Fox - Jared Spurgeon
Ivan Provorov - Sean Durzi
Robin Salo - Connor Murphy
Thomas Harley - Top 4
Brock Faber - Top 4
Lukas Dostal - Starter
Joesph Woll - Fringe Starter/Backup
With the Islanders current lineup, defense is a strength, but the depth in NHL caliber defensemen is lacking. The opposite is true for the forward group. There are holes that will need to be filled to be competitive next season, but the long-term depth is stronger.
Goaltending is always a crapshoot. GM Beaton believes in Ilya Samsonov and Lukas Dostal long term, but that could change next week.