5 players the Islanders could select in the 2018 NHL Draft
The Islanders own back-to-back, first-round selections at Nos. 11 and 12 in the 2018 NHL Draft on Friday in Dallas. But president and general manager Lou Lamoriello may opt to use one or both of the picks to help the organization via the trade market.
It’s expected Lamoriello is looking to acquire a No. 1 goalie as well as improving the defense corps. If they keep both picks, here’s a look at five prospects who may interest the Islanders and who may be available:
The 6-foot, 162-pound left wing, who grew up in Cicero, New York, is one of the best two-way forwards available and can use his quick skating and defensive prowess to convert turnovers into transition attacks. He had 15 goals and 25 assists in 26 USHL games for the U.S. Under-18 squad last season and is committed to Boston University.
The 6-1, 190-pound center is known both as a playmaker and for his solid, two-way play. He had 21 goals and 39 assists in 63 games for Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) and demonstrated unselfish play and a deft ability to get passes through tight areas.
Kupari, a 6-1, 189-pound Finnish center, has yet to play in North America but is one of the top skaters in the draft. Best with the puck on his stick, Kupari had six goals and eight assists in 39 games for Karpat (SM-liiga) in limited ice time.
Not the biggest defenseman at 5-11 and 176 pounds, Smith has excelled at both ends of the ice and as a power-play quarterback. Known as a smart decision maker, Smith had 14 goals and 59 assists along with 30 penalty minutes in 69 games for Spokane (WHL).
Veleno is a 6-1, 191-pound center with explosive skating ability who is strong on the puck and has drawn kudos for his hockey IQ. He split last season in the QMJHL between Saint John and Drummondville, compiling 22 goals and 57 assists in 64 games.