After a slew of fortuitous picks, Oliver Wahlstrom & Noah Dobson were drafted by the New York Islanders at picks 11 and 12.
Months of speculation, thousands of trade scenarios and plenty of sweat later, the New York Islanders executed both picks in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft, and there’s no reason to be upset with the results.
Wahlstrom & Dobson are steals according to any pundit asked and in many projections, Dobson was seen as going fourth-overall and Wahlstrom was expected to go at ninth.
Brain Savage, former NHL forward with over 600 games in the NHL, worked with Dobson in his development and told Sean Leahy of Yahoo Sports:
“He had a really good shot. He really had a nice total package to him and we were just there to enhance it and get him to the next step. Obviously his coaches in junior have done a great job getting him to where he is now.”
When the Islanders drafted Oliver Wahlstrom, Pierre McGuire immediately sprang up and delivered high praise for the goalscorer, calling him “this generation’s Billy Guerin” and now the Islanders may have drafted arguably the best goal-scorer available.
Elite Prospects touted an important note in Wahlstrom’s play:
“He exploits gaps in the neutral zone; his positioning allows him to carry the puck forward immediately or shift up and into stride off of an outlet pass.”
With these two picks, the Islanders are reinforcing a depleted foundation that may just be able to contribute sooner than expected.
Of course, fans are surprised and maybe a bit upset with the selection of both back-to-back picks.
In the minutes leading up to the selections, the Islanders were rumored to be involved in trade talks, with multiple reported instances of Lamoriello involved in phone conversations. The likely scenario is that the Islanders didn’t imagine having top-quality prospects available to them at their point in the draft.
NYI GM Lou Lamoriello said they tried using one of their first-rounders to trade for a roster-player now, but is understandably happy with Wahlstrom/Dobson. Tried asking if it was Grubauer, which was a predictable failure
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 23, 2018
The opportunity to draft two rookies projected in the top 10 coaxed Lou Lamoriello away from a potential trade, and he decided the best course of action was to select both players.
In short, the Islanders just made out with the draft’s best goal-scorer, and the best defenseman not named Rasmus Dahlin.
Make no mistake, things may not have fallen into place as the Islanders expected, but this is a huge win for the blue and orange.