Draft Week Mayhem

Hey everyone, first and foremost let me apologize for the extended absence.  School really started to kick my butt and an offer to join my Professor in a Research Fellowship arose and working out the kinks in that put a hindrance on my availability to post.  But here I am and I am glad to be back!

Ok so enough with the "excuses" let's get down to business.  With the NHL 2012 Entry Draft rapidly approaching, Friday June 22nd, 2012 into Saturday June 23rd, 2012, there are many selections left to be determined.  Most importantly to us is where do the Islanders fit in, in this year's draft.  Once again the Islanders have a pick in the top five, this year it is the number 4 pick and there are a few ways in which the Islanders can use this pick. 

This is one year that the draft experts, Adam Kimelman, Steven Hoffner, and Mike Morreale are not consistent with their mock drafts. Kimelman and Hoffner both have Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting (OHL) being drafted first by the Edmonton Oilers, while Morreale has Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips (WHL).  The second pick belongs to the Columbus Blue Jackets and all three experts have a different opinion on who will be selected in this spot.  Kimelman says Alex Galchenyuk of the Sarnia Sting (OHL), Hoffner says Murray and Morreale thinks it will be Yakupov.  The third pick, owned by the Montreal Canadiens, also has no repeat selections.  Kimelman selected Filip Forsberg of Leksand (SWE-2), Hoffner selected Mikhail Grigorenko of Quebec (QMJHL) and Morreale wen with Galchenyuk.  So it is safe to assume (something I never like to do however) that Yakupov is the only definite in the top three.  

When it comes to the fourth pick, our pick, all three experts agree on the kind of player that the Islanders should draft.  They just don't all agree on which player is the exact match to that category.   

Kimelman: Ryan Murray, D, Everett Silvertips (WHL) 
I do not see this happening unfortunately.  Ryan Murray is one of, if not the, best defenseman in the 2012 draft class and I anticipate him going earlier then the fourth pick.  However, if Murray is still available I think it would be a huge mistake for the Islanders to pass up on a player who could potentially be a staple on their top defensive pair for many seasons to come.  Murray is a big (6'01" 195lbs) defenseman who is physical and does most of the little things right.  He won't get in trouble pinching and he can contribute on the offensive side of the puck as well.  In 46 games last season with the Everett Silvertips (WHL) Murray tallied 9 goals and 22 assists good for 31 points while managing an even +/- rating and 31 PIM.  The impressive and exciting stat however is that in his previous two seasons he combined for a total of 11 goals and 62 assists in 122 games good for 73 points while maintaining a +/- of +51.  This choice comes down to Murray's availability. (Photo Credit: WHL)  

Hoffner and Morreale: Mathew Dumba, D, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Thankfully if Murray has been taken in one of the first three picks there is a just as capable defenseman in the Likes of Mathew Dumba.  Dumba may even fit the style of defenseman that the Islanders enjoy to keep on their blue-line.  I would compare him to a combination of Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic.  He is slightly smaller than Murray standing at 6 feet even and weighing in at 173 pounds but he still enjoys a very physical punishing game (Hamonic) while also contributing very productively on the offensive side as well (MacDonald).  Last season with the Red Deer Rebels over 69 games Dumba accumulated 57 points on 20 goals and 37 assists however he was at a +/- rating of -6 with 67 PIM.  In the previous season, his first full season with the Rebels, he tallied 15 goals and 11 assists good for 26 points and a +/- of 24 with 83 PIM over 62 games. (Photo Credit: WHL) 

There are many other players in this years draft class that could be potential picks for the Islanders, however I agree with the experts on this, if Snow is looking to draft and keep not draft and trade then one of these two defensemen are the way to go.  The Islanders were goal starved for much of last year, but the defense was lacking as well blowing many of the leads they did manage to take.  Either of these young stars would be a great fit to help tighten up our defense, and Dumba would do a pretty good job of increasing offensive production as well.

Feel free to leave some feed back in the comments section on who you think the Islanders should select with their fourth overall pick in this year's NHL Entry Draft.  You can also send your responses to my Twitter account.

-Shane Blackburn

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