The Toronto Maple Leafs have opened up the season winning back-to-back games on the road, spoiling the home opener of rival Montreal as well as Philadelphia.
As the Leafs get set to return home and get their home opener under way against provincial rivals the Ottawa Senators, one player may be more anxious than the others. Saturday’s home opener in Toronto could be top prospects Morgan Rielly’s first taste of NHL action.
Playing in Philadelphia last night, Mark Fraser was checked awkwardly into the boards by former Leafs tough guy Jay Rosehill, Fraser left the game and did not return. Leafs beat reporter Jonas Siegel reported after the game Fraser was seen leaving ...
On this edition of the prospect report I will give the top 5 players most likely to join the Islanders this Friday at the 2012 NHL entry draft. Now this isn’t a top 5 of players available in the draft this is just my top 5 of players that I could see Garth taking in the 1st round of the draft.
#5 Morgan Rielly- Defenseman, Moose Jaw (WHL) 6’-0” 190lbs
Morgan Rielly comes in at number 5 with one requirement for the Islanders to pick him and that is; if the right deal comes along and Garth Snow ends up trading down a few spots. Rielly is projected to be a very good future NHL prospect that has a great offensive game. He missed most of last season with an ACL injury but is still considered to be one of the better offensive defenseman in the draft.
On this edition of the prospect report I will take a look into some of options the Islanders have with the 4th overall pick in the upcoming draft. Could they go defenseman? What about another forward? Would Garth get crazy and trade the pick? I will discuss all these options over my next few posts here.
What the Islanders need the most is defensive help on the current team. There are a few stud defensemen that should be available when it is the Islanders turn to pick. The Islanders haven’t taken a defenseman with their first pick in the draft since Garth Snow took over so this would be something new for him. They did take Calvin de Haan in the first round in 2009 but he was Garth’s second pick of the round. A defenseman is a need on the current Islanders but looking at the prospect pool and the guys in Bridgeport there is some quality help on the way. However this still could be a move for Garth Snow to make.
I have said that I believe it would be better for the Islanders to finish between 10th and 12th place in the Eastern Conference as opposed to going the 'Fail for Nail' route and trying to get a top-five lottery pick for this summer's 2012 Entry Draft. But if the season ended today, the Isles would go into the lottery with the fifth pick in the draft. Although that is the least likely position to be in when hoping to move up to number one, the Islanders are almost guaranteed to at least have a selection in this year's top 10 class.
With the playoff picture painting itself out on a permanent canvas over the next two weeks, let's put ourselves in the shoes of some NHL scouts and take a quick glance at what the Islanders will be looking at in between game 82 and draft day.
Nail Yakupov is the clear choice for first overall, having a lot of Alexander Ovechkin comparisons made about his play. After Nail comes Mikhail Grigorenko, who has often been compared to Evgeni Malkin. Both of these Russian prospects will probably be out of the Islanders grasp barring a significant change on the day of the lottery. After these two goal-scoring forwards lie plenty of top-rated defenseman.