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'WE WILL GET AN IMPACT PLAYER'

Thursday, 06.22.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
New York Islanders
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\'WE WILL GET AN IMPACT PLAYER\'
So says Neil Smith, ready for his first draft as Islanders GM, about the 7th pick overall


When Neil Smith left yesterday for Vancouver and his first draft as general manager of the New York Islanders, he could not contain his enthusiasm.
 
"The draft is really the biggest day of the year for our franchise," said Smith. "Bill Torrey used to call it the 'lifeblood' of the Islanders. Now more than ever with the new CBA, that's definitely the case with us and I'm sure just about every team in the NHL feels the same way."
 
Smith has inherited one of the NHL's sharpest scouting crews and has complete faith in his new staff, led by chief amateur scout Tony Feltrin.
 
"Tony and his team have worked very hard in preparation for Saturday," said the Islanders' new general manager. "We're heading to Vancouver knowing that the scouting staff has done its homework and that we are ready for every situation."
 
The Islanders hold three important third round picks that could result in a trio of strong prospects, or give the team the flexibility to move up in the draft. The big story on Saturday, however what will have Islanders fans on the edge of their Coliseum seats at the Draft Party is what will happen in the early part of the first round.
 
Assuming the Islanders stay at the seventh selection and be assured it is way too early to make that assumption they will have their pick of a very impressive group of prospects. Expect stud defenseman Erik Johnson to go first overall, likely followed (in no particular order) by a trio of outstanding forwards: Phil Kessel, Jordan Staal and Jonathan Toews. There's also a good chance the consensus top European prospect, Swedish center Nicklas Backstrom, will go before pick seven. That still leaves Smith, Feltrin and Co. with an exciting group of kids to choose from.
 
There are two defensemen every team would love to grab, Bob Sanguinetti and Nigel Williams. There could be at least five intriguing forwards recently spotlighted on NEWYORKISLANDERS.COM: Kyle Okpuso, Bryan Little, James Sheppard, Peter Mueller and the kid so many publications have ranked at No. 7, Quebec League scorer Derick Brassard, with 44 goals in 58 games. There's also two very exciting talents from the Czech Republic: left wing Jiri Tlusty and right wing Michael Frolik. Laval's Jonathan Bernier is considered a future No. 1 goaltender.
 
So the Islanders will have plenty of options. As you would expect, Smith is not showing his cards.
 
"Here's what I can tell you," he said. "With that seventh pick, I have no doubt in my mind that we'll be bringing an impact player to Long Island."
 
As for the rest of his picks?
 
"We're going to pick as many future NHLers as we can," said Smith. "That may sound like I'm stating the obvious, but that's our goal from the first round to the last. We want to continue to add to our stable of young players that are going to be part of a Stanley Cup team."

MORE OF THE DRAFT CENTRAL '06

 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 66 31 36 5 67
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 66 14 28 22 42
B. Nelson 66 18 20 8 38
F. Nielsen 66 11 26 13 37
A. Lee 60 22 13 14 35
J. Bailey 54 13 20 13 33
J. Boychuk 56 7 25 15 32
N. Leddy 66 9 19 17 28
T. Hamonic 56 4 21 16 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 34 13 1 .911 2.48
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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