VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Lou Lamoriello’s second draft with the Islanders mirrored his first. The president and general manager used all five of his selections without making a trade and ended the two days at Rogers Arena talking about the captain who is headed to free agency.
The Islanders made four selections on Saturday as the NHL Draft concluded with rounds two through seven, taking 6-foot-4, 210-pound defenseman Samuel Bolduc of Blainville-Boisbriand of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the second round at No. 57 after picking Swedish forward Simon Holmstrom at No. 23 on Friday night.
“We were pretty happy,” Lamoriello said. “We ended up getting four forwards. [Bolduc] has got a lot of grit. He’s like a Scott Mayfield-type of player. There’s an upside.”
Lamoriello’s attention now turns to his impending unrestricted free agents, most notably captain Anders Lee and goalie Robin Lehner. Impending UFAs can begin talking to other teams on Sunday and the free agent market opens on July 1.
Lee, coming off a four-year, $15-million deal, said Saturday at a charity event in Manhattan he would talk to other teams and expressed surprise things had gotten to this point. He is almost certainly looking for a longer-term deal than Lamoriello is offering.
“I have no response to it,” Lamoriello said when told of Lee’s comments. “We’ll do everything we can.”
Lamoriello held a lengthy chat with Lee’s agent, Neil Sheehy, in the stands on Saturday.
Lehner, a Vezina Trophy finalist who won the Masterton Trophy for dedication and perseverance on a one-year, $1.5-million deal, is also likely looking for a longer-term deal than Lamoriello is offering.
“I think you have to do what’s right and every player has every right to do what they feel is right for themselves,” Lamoriello said. “We’ve expressed we’d like to have them back. They’ve certainly expressed the same thing. So you just work it and try and get a compromise.”
Lamoriello said pretty much the same thing last year about ex-captain John Tavares, who signed a seven-year, $77-million deal with the Maple Leafs.
The Islanders also selected center 5-11, 172-pound center Reece Newkirk at No. 147, 6-foot, 187-pound left wing Felix Bibeau at No. 178 and 6-1, 200-pound right wing Cole Coskey at No. 209.
Newkirk had 23 goals and 36 assists in 68 games for Portland in the Western Hockey League, where he was a teammate of left wing Kieffer Bellows, picked 19th overall by the Islanders in 2016. Bibeau had 28 goals and 41 assists and 53 penalty minutes in 63 games for Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) and was a teammate of defenseman Noah Dobson, selected 12th overall last year by the Islanders. Coskey had 31 goals and 32 assists in 52 games with Saginaw of the Ontario Hockey League and was teammates with defenseman Bode Wilde and forward Blade Jenkins, both Islanders’ prospects.
“You find out a lot more about them,” Lamoriello said. “We talked to our prospects so we know what type of people they are.”
Bolduc had nine goals and 28 assists in 65 games and said he was picked sooner than he expected.
“I’m a good two-way defenseman,” Bolduc said. “I’m skilled with the puck and I’ve got a great shot. My first pass is very good and I can play on the penalty kill.”
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