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'WE WILL GET AN IMPACT PLAYER'

Thursday, 06.22.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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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."

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

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2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Okposo 50 15 27 -9 42
J. Tavares 49 19 22 -3 41
F. Nielsen 52 15 19 -1 34
B. Nelson 52 20 11 0 31
M. Grabovski 52 9 15 2 24
J. Bailey 51 9 15 5 24
A. Lee 52 8 15 1 23
N. Leddy 52 3 20 -8 23
R. Strome 41 6 14 -5 20
C. Clutterbuck 51 11 4 6 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 13 11 4 .918 2.27
T. Greiss 14 6 2 .929 2.26
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