The Islanders 2010 Draft In Los Angeles, Revisited

 

The Islanders, coming off an 34-37-11 record in John Tavares' first season on Long Island, found themselves near the top of the draft board again. This time, with the fifth overall selection.

New York, as many knew, was weak on defense and several experts had elite defensive prospects such as Cam Fowler slotted for Long Island.

What would Garth do? The Islanders General Manager decided to go with the Swiss born Nino Niederreiter. It raised a few eyebrows, but not because the power forward lacked talent. It was surprising merely because he was not a blueliner.

Would the Isles select a defenseman this day? Would there be any reaches?

Let's take a look at that draft and see what happened.

Round 1: As mentioned above, the Isles selected left winger Nino Niederreiter with the fifth pick. The Chur, Switzerland native was a good selection at this spot. The young man is big and brings plenty of skill to the table. He is more known as a goal scorer, but he can and will get his share of assists. Even more promising, he plays better in big games, such as playoffs and in international competition. In the season following his draft year, he got a cup of coffee with the big club and was returned to his junior team, the Portland Winterhawks. He had a great year, and as is his custom, elevated his game in the playoffs. The following season, with nothing left to prove in junior hockey, the power forward, and for that matter, the Isles found themselves in a predicament. He had nothing to gain from staying in juniors, but National Hockey League rules would not allow one of his age and experience to play in minor hockey. He wasn't quite ready for the NHL though. However, that's the only place the Isles could put him. He is a skill player but due to experience, found himself getting fourth line minutes. His stat sheet will tell you the rest as he had one goal all season. This season, he is allowed to play minor hockey and is developing nicely for the Isles AHL affiliate in Bridgeport where he leads the team in scoring. Expect Niederreiter to be an Islander next season.

Round 1: The Isles, with yours truly in an interview with Islanders staff, traded into the last spot in the first round to snag power forward Brock Nelson. In a deal involving Chicago, the Isles snagged the Minneapolis, Minnesota native. The fleet footed kid went to North Dakota and played extremely well for the Fighting Sioux. He played at North Dakota for two seasons before joining Bridgeport full time this season. Neslon, in addition to great skating ability, has a heavy shot. He is sound defensively and uses his size well in both ends of the rink. He is strong on faceoffs and has enough skill and versatility to play wing or center, although he is more at home at the center position. Nelson will contend for a roster spot on Long Island next season and will definitely be there, barring a trade, by the season after. (Photo credit: Donovan Brooks)

Round 3: The Isles spun their second round pick into a first to snag Brock Nelson listed above so the next New York pick was a gamble. In the third, the Isles selected Mercurial forward Kirill Kabanov. the 6'2" Russian born right winger played his junior hockey at first for Moncton in the QMJHL. There were some injuries there, along with some healthy scratches, and Kabanov found himself with a new home, the Lewiston Maineiacs. He played well there, especially in the playoffs, yet found himself a new team the following year. He played for Shawinigan who would eventually be the Calder Cup champs. Again, injuries played a role and again he excelled in the playoffs. This season, the kid is in Bridgeport where he is learning the pro game. He is a speedy kid with a ton of energy. Kabanov has the skills to dazzle and the potential to be a top six player with serious offensive upside. What he needs most though is more development. Expect Kabanov to spend another year at Bridgeport before becoming a regular at the NHL level.

Round 3: The Isles had two third rounders in 2010; this one the result of a trade with Phoenix. With this pick, the Islanders selected Jason Clark who had played high school hockey at the Minnesota hockey factory known as Shattuck-St. Mary's. The young man showed some good offensive skill at the prep level powerhouse and went on to play college hockey at the University of Wisconsin. He was never able to produce a lot of offense in his two seasons in Wisconsin and after two seasons, signed an entry level contract with New York and joined the Gwinnet Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League. He has not played much there and his future is cloudy. In fact, it is unclear if the physical forward has a future on Long Island.

Round 5: In the fifth round, the Isles selected defenseman Tony DeHart, who was playing with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6'2" defenseman put up some very good offensive numbers for Oshawa, totaling 107 points in 189 games for the Generals. In 2011, he joined the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL. DeHart has put up some good offensive numbers there as well, but it is unclear how high his upside is. Some players are career minor leaguers and that may be DeHart's fate. If he isn't with the Isles AHL affiliate by next season, the minors may be his ceiling.

Round 7: In the last round, Isles GM Garth Snow selected a relatively unknown goalie named Cody Rosen. Rosen was born in Kingston, Ontario and played college hockey at Clarkson. He was never able to contend for the number one goalie job and in his career only played five games for Clarkson. He has no real future as a professional hockey player at any level, and to this day, most have no idea why he was even drafted. (Photo credit: Islanders.nhl.com)

This draft, while not as productive as the 2008 and 2009 drafts, does have its gems. Niederreiter is still likely to develop into a top 6 forward, as is centerman Brock Nelson. Kabanov has some serious home run potential. However, outside of those three, there is little else to get excited about.

-Donovan Brooks

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