With the draft only a day away and the Islanders holding the 5th overall pick, here is a closer look at some potential candidates (listed alphabetically):
Cam Fowler. Defenseman. Born: Farmington Hills, Michigan. 6-2, 190. Known as a top-notch skater with a good two-way game, Fowler was a cornerstone member of both the American team that won gold at the World Juniors this year and the OHL’s Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires. Fowler had 8 goals and 47 assists to finish with 55 points in 55 regular season games with Windsor.
Brandon Gormley. Defenseman. Born: Murray River, Prince Edward Island. 6-2, 187. Gormley may not be the flashiest defenseman, but he’s regarded as a smart and sturdy blue-liner that is good with the puck and makes few mistakes.
Mikael Granlund. Center. Born: Oulu, Finland. 5-10, 180. What Granlund lacks in size, he makes up for in skill and compete level. Ranked as the top European skater by NHL Central Scouting, Granlund finished with 13 goals and 27 assists for HIFK of top Finnish league, SM-liiga.
Erik Gudbranson. Defenseman. Born: Orleans, Ontario. 6-4, 195. With his size and physicality, Gudbranson could bolster the Islanders blue line in years to come. Although he was limited to 41 games for the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs because of mononucleosis and injuries, Gudbranson proved he was a tough shutdown defenseman who plays with snarl.
Ryan Johansen. Center. Born: Port Moody, British Columbia. 6-3, 194. Johansen may still be filling out his lanky 6-3 frame, but is regarded as a gifted playmaker who makes those around him—including linemate and fellow top prospect Nino Niederreiter-- better. Johansen finished with 25 goals and 44 assists in 71 games this season with the WHL’s Portland Winter Hawks.
Nino Niederreiter. Left Wing. Born: Chur, Switzerland. 6-2, 205. Niederreiter’s performance at the World Juniors this year generated lots of buzz about the Swiss power forward. If the Islanders look to fulfill their need for size and net presence, Niederreiter could join fellow countryman Mark Streit on the ice in the future.