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2015 Draft Preview – Diligence paying off for New York Islanders

Ryan Kennedy
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Josh Ho-Sang (Photo by Mitchell Leff, Getty Images Sport) Author: The Hockey News

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2015 Draft Preview – Diligence paying off for New York Islanders

Ryan Kennedy
By:

The Islanders put a lot of stock in the draft and, in particular, the draft combine. The franchise has been infamous in the past for making the kids they interview fill out a lengthy personality test, but clearly it serves a purpose: noted free spirit Josh Ho-Sang was nabbed in the 2014 first round, and his play has continued to be solid. Of course, they also drafted the downright wacky Kirill Kabanov a few years back, too, so it’s not an exact science.

PICKS:
Round 3, picks 72 and 82
Round 4, pick 112
Round 6, pick 172
Round 7, pick 202

SHORT-TERM NEEDS: New York is fully formed after years of rebuilding, so many roles have been filled. But the team had a rough go at special teams, and if the Isles are going to be a power, that must be rectified. Players who could heal the broken penalty kill are first on the agenda.

LONG-TERM NEEDS: Who will be the goalie of the future in Brooklyn? Jaroslav Halak, 30, is the here-and-now, but one prospect must take the reins eventually. Options include world junior netminders Linus Soderstrom and Ilya Sorokin, plus Stephon Williams, who completed an exemplary NCAA career with Minnesota State-Mankato. There’s also 26-year-old Mikko Koskinen, who has turned into a beast in the KHL.

CAP SITUATION: With $55 million tied up next season, the Islanders have space and even better, virtually no work to be done. Brock Nelson and Anders Lee are the most pressing RFAs, while veteran free agents such as Lubomir Visnovsky and Eric Boulton could walk and be replaced. A backup for Halak needs to be found as well.

IN THE SYSTEM 2015-16: Griffin Reinhart got an eight-game taste this season and will surely get more when the team moves into the Barclays Center. The big, all-around blueliner will bolster that squadron even further, in what is fast becoming a New York strength.

DID YOU KNOW: Goalie Eamon McAdam became the first Penn State commit drafted when the Isles took him 70th in 2013. Mike Williamson (Vancouver) followed three rounds later, while Washington drafted Pat Koudys before he committed and transferred from RPI.

THN will be releasing its Team Reports from Draft Preview for each of the 30 NHL franchises in the week leading up to the NHL Draft. Read them in our “Draft” channel.

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2015 Draft Preview – Diligence paying off for New York Islanders