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Islanders draft preview

Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips takes a

Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips takes a shot before a game against the Kelowna Rockets. (March 14, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

The Islanders go into Friday's NHL Draft with a top-five pick for the fifth consecutive draft -- not good news when it comes to the results on the ice, but there is the promise of another high-talent player to add to their stable with the No. 4 pick.

It is not considered a particularly deep draft when it comes to impact players, but the talent across the top 10-15 prospects is fairly even, especially when it comes to defensemen.

"Once you get past the top five prospects or so, there are some very strong defensemen in the next group," said Dave Gregory of the NHL's Central Scouting bureau. "There's a lot of parity this year. If you find the right mix, a team could get a player in the third round who turns out to be an impact player in a short period of time."

Islanders GM Garth Snow is not inclined to pick defensemen so high, but given the glaring need for fresh blood on the team's blue line, he may buck his own thoughts and go for one of the highly rated defensemen listed here, especially if he decides to trade down and grab an extra pick.

The nine prospects highlighted here are the ones Snow and his staff will likely be choosing from if the Islanders keep the fourth pick. The "Scout's take" is either the words of an NHL amateur scout or Gregory from Central.



Filip Forsberg

Center, Leksands IF (Sweden)

The 6-foot-2, 184-pound right-handed shot is the sort of power forward who would look good either centering a second line or possibly on the right side with John Tavares. He likes to pattern his game after another famous Swedish Forsberg -- Peter, who won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche.

Scout's take: "He's a power forward who's big and strong and loves to shoot the puck. He's the No. 1 rated European prospect for a reason."

Chance he's an Islander: Very possible

Mikhail Grigorenko

C, Quebec (QMJHL)

Another big (6-3, 200), strong forward who came over from Russia and scored 45 goals in Canadian junior hockey. He reportedly had mononucleosis during a disappointing playoff run. Grigorenko was one of three prospects the Isles flew to Long Island for a visit.

Scout's take: "The games I saw him play, he was clearly the best player on the ice. He makes the pace of the game come to him. He has the best hockey sense of any player in this draft."

Chance he's an Islander: Very possible

Teuvo Teravainen

Left wing, Jokerit (Finland)

Not very big (5-11, 165), but has plenty of skill and the benefit of playing with men in the SM-Liiga rather than teenagers in Canada.

Scout's take: "He's a crafty little player who sees the ice well and has very good hockey sense."

Chance he's an Islander: 50-50

Nail Yakupov

RW, Sarnia (OHL)

The consensus No. 1 prospect, his game has been compared to that of another Russian-born scorer, Pavel Bure. The 5-10 wing had some injuries this past season but still posted 31 goals and 69 points in just 42 games. The Islanders will only get him if they trade up or a couple of teams take a surprise pass, but they still would love to have him.

Scout's take: "Even when things weren't going well, he still worked hard to make something happen. That's a characteristic teams like to see. It's tough to see him not go No. 1 this year."

Chance he's an Islander: Remote, but they can hope

Alex Galchenyuk

C, Sarnia (OHL)

Nail Yakupov's very talented teammate missed all but two regular season games in this draft-eligible year after suffering a knee injury. He did play all six of Sarnia's playoff games, but even that small amount was enough to keep the Milwaukee-born son of a former minor-league player from Russia among the elite prospects.

Scout's take: "He skates well, he has a physical side and he sees the ice well -- if you're open, he'll find you. Everyone knows about his skill, but the injury made it tough to really evaluate him properly this year."

Chance he's an Islander: 50-50, maybe a little less


Ryan Murray

Everett (WHL)

If the Isles go with a defenseman, Murray is the most highly regarded in this draft. He's not flashy, but he's shown a lot of poise already as an 18-year-old -- so much so that he got to extend his year by playing for Canada at the World Championships in April and May. Has good size (6-foot, 201) and mental toughness to make the quick transition to the NHL.

Scout's take: "He may be the most NHL-ready player in the draft, forward or defenseman. He's a great leader and he can play both ways -- he defends really, really well, but if you need someone to jump up in the play, he can do that and he has a knack for knowing when to do it. He's going to be on some team's blue line for a long, long time."

Chance he's an Islander: Very possible (if Snow goes for a D)

Mathew Dumba

Red Deer (WHL)

A dynamic defenseman who can score (20-37-57) and hit with the best of them. His size (6-foot, 183) may not translate his big-risk, big-reward game to the NHL soon enough for the Isles' liking, but he is an attention-getter in addition to being a strong personality.

Scout's take: "He's arguably the most exciting player to watch in this draft. Whether it's a big hit or an end-to-end play, he brings people out of their seats."

Chance he's an Islander: 50-50

Griffin Reinhart

Edmonton (WHL)

Has appealing size (6-4, 207) and a decent two-way game, plus a good pedigree -- he's the son of Paul Reinhart, who played 11 seasons on defense with the Flames and Canucks. Probably not ready to step right into the NHL, but would give the Isles another big defense prospect in the pipeline.

Scout's take: "He projects as being a Chris Pronger type of defenseman -- he's not as physical yet as Pronger, but he can grow into his body. He also has an unbelievable shot and better mobility than his size would indicate."

Chance he's an Islander: Remote

Morgan Rielly

Moose Jaw (WHL)

Another elite talent who missed most of this season with a knee injury, he's still the No. 2-rated defenseman in the Central Scouting's rankings. If Isles trade down, he could end up being a steal at the lower end of the top 10.

Scout's take: "He's a franchise-type player in the Scott Niedermayer mold -- he has all the skills. He could really be a guy who, if he falls a bit, a lot of teams will say, 'How did we let him get away?' "

Chance he's an Islander: Remote, barring a trade down

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