Nobody could be sure at the time, but the Islanders struck gold when the Nassaumen drafted center Mathew Barzal 16th overall in the 2015 Entry Draft.
It would be Lou Lamoriello‘s good fortune to be able to find a reasonable facsimile in the 23rd drafting position this time around.
No question, even coach Barry Trotz allows that his club needs to bolster its offense. Anyone of the following could be interesting possibilities for the Lou-Barry high command:
SAMUEL POULIN: Picked for the 23d spot by The Hockey News — 17th by International Scouting Services — here’s a well-built (6-1, 207 pounds) left wing with lots of promise. He’s the son of ex-NHLer Patrick Poulin (634 NHL games) and has the same commendable work ethic. Sam has the potential to be a second line NHL portsider.
JAKOB PELLETIER: Although his size (5-9, 161 pounds) is something scouts against him, the Quebec City native is rated as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s top prospect for the Draft. A left wing, Pelletier totaled 89 points for Moncton this past season. “His compete level is elite,” says The Hockey News.
EGOR AFANASYEV: This big Russian (6-3, 203 pounds) right winger looms as a grand “sleeper” among “sleepers.” While a few scouts rate him in the 30 category, others say that Egor could wind up being a latter-day Jamie Benn. He boasts good hands and a commendable complete level. Lou might like this guy.
BRETT LEASON: A late bloomer, Season starred as a center for the Prince Albert Raiders. While he had been ignored in the previous two Drafts, he came of age this past season. Impressive size (6-5, 198 pounds), the Calgary native has “come a million miles in a short period” according to one scout.
BOBBY BRINK: Sioux City fans loved this 5-10, 185-pound right wing. The USHL picked him as “Forward Of The Week” three consecutive times in the homestretch. Add to that the fact that he was MVP at the World Junior A Challenge. Bobby would be a prize for Lou if still available.
Is there a latter-day Barzal among them for the Islanders?
Only time — and Lou — will tell!
[Watch the MSG 150 NHL Draft Special Live Friday at 8 PM on MSG Networks & MSG Go. Get the App Now.]