Islanders twice trade up into first round of NHL Draft
The Islanders entered Friday's NHL Draft without a first-round pick and with few assets to surrender. Garth Snow seemingly made the most of what little he had by sending prospect Griffin Reinhart to the Oilers for the 16th and 33rd picks. He used the 16th pick to select Western Hockey League center Mathew Barzal and then used the 33rd to trade into the end of the first round, at No. 28, to select left wing Anthony Beauvillier of the Quebec League.
"We wouldn't have made the deal if [Barzal] wasn't there," Snow said.
Barzal was projected as a top 10 selection. When the Bruins passed on the 5-11 British Columbia native with picks 13 to 15, the Isles pounced.
Reinhart was the fourth overall pick in 2012 but slipped behind Ryan Pulock on the team's defense prospect chart. Reinhart played eight games as a rookie this past season but spent the majority of the season in Bridgeport. When the Islanders needed a defenseman during their first-round playoff series against the Capitals, Reinhart played Game 5 but sat out Games 6 and 7.
The Islanders swapped the 33rd and 72nd picks with the Lightning to get into the end of the first round for the second straight year. They used the Lightning's 29th pick last year to select Joshua Ho-Sang.
This year, Snow again swapped for Tampa Bay's late first-rounder to select Beauvillier, who led Shawinigan with 42 goals and 94 points this past season.
Snow dealt away his picks in the first two rounds in deals good (the second went to the Bruins for Johnny Boychuk) and bad (the first, No. 21 overall, went to the Sabres in the Thomas Vanek deal), but ended up with better picks than either of the original slots and two first-rounders.
As well as a very surprised young man whom scouts see as a premier playmaker.
"If you told me when today started I'd be an Islander, I would have been real surprised," said Barzal, who had 12 goals and 45 assists in 44 games for Seattle of the WHL this past season. "I'm excited to go to a team that showed so much interest in me and gave up a real good asset to pick me."
That Islanders' deal was one of a few whoppers on Friday. The Bruins sent young defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Flames for the 15th pick and two second-rounders, then dealt Milan Lucic to the Kings for the 13th pick plus backup goaltender Martin Jones and defense prospect Colin Miller.
The Avalanche sent Ryan O'Reilly to the Sabres for defenseman Nikita Zadorov, center Mikhail Grigorenko, prospect J.P. Compher and the 31st pick. Earlier Friday, the Sabres picked up goaltender Robin Lehner and veteran forward David Legwand from the Senators for the 21st pick.