The New York Islanders made it to the postseason this year and moved to the second-round on the back of strong defence and great goaltending from Robin Lehner.
Lehner has expressed interest in re-signing with the Islanders but they also have one of the best goalie prospects in the NHL—Ilya Sorokin went 16-4-0 with an insane 1.19 GAA, .947 SV% and five shutouts with CSKA Moskow (KHL) this season. Sorokin is obviously lights out but there are a lot of questions about whether or not he will come to North America and play for the Islanders.
On top of Sorokin, the Islanders have a pretty impressive prospect pool:
- — Oliver Wahlstrom (No.11 Pick in 2018): The 19-year-old winger had 19 points (8G / 11A) in 36 games in his freshman season at Boston College and will either stick with Bridgeport (AHL) or go to Europe next season. Wahlstrom had scouts all over the place last season but remains one of the top prospects in New York right now.
- — Noah Dobson (No. 12 Pick in 2018): Last year was a good year for the Islanders and Dobson is coming off of a 52-point (15G / 37A) season in the QMJHL (with Acadie-Bathurst and Rouyn-Noranda). He went on to have a fantastic playoff for the eventual Memorial Cup Champions. Dobson has to improve in his own end before he plays in the NHL but offensively, he’s already ready to go.
- — Kieffer Bellows (No.19 Pick in 2016): The 21-year-old had a tough rookie season with Bridgeport (AHL), picking up just 19 points (12G / 7A) in 73 games. Bellows is a powerful forward who uses his frame to win battles all over the ice but is skilled enough to produce as a middle-6 forward in the NHL.
With the No.23 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the New York Islanders select…
Phillip Tomasino — C — Canada 🇨🇦
Based on the prospects I just laid out, it is clear the Islanders need a centre. They have Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson on their current roster but no one coming up behind them. Tomasino is a crafty two-way centre who would fit in perfectly as their future No.2 centre.
Tomasino isn’t overly large (6-foot, 181 lbs.) but he plays a fearless game, going to the dangerous areas without any hesitation. Tomasino scored 34 goals with 38 assists (72 points) in 67 games with Niagara (OHL) this season. He also took part in the U18 World Juniors, picking up five points (1G / 4A) in six games with Team Canda.
Tomasino clearly looks like the best centre left on the board and seems like a no-brainer for the Islanders, if he’s available in this spot. He skates well, defends well and his numbers showcase that he can set-up his linemates equally as well as he can score for himself.
A highly intelligent, two-way centre with good puck skills and a penchant for scoring big goals. Quick stride, good puck-skills and a heavy release. Underrated playmaker. His developmental arc has been racing upwards while being a standout on an elite OHL team – no easy feat for a 17-year-old. — Cam Robinson
Tomasino’s high-end skill and skating check a few boxes for the Islanders. He’s a center, which they desperately need more of in their organization. And he’s a playmaker, something the Isles also need. — Arthur Staple (The Athletic)
I would love Tomasino at No. 23, with the Isles getting the very last top-end center in the draft and a player who projects as a top-six forward. After going wing and defense heavy in the previous draft, getting a true top center prospect would be important for their farm system. — Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
- #18 — HockeyProspect.com
- #22 — Future Considerations
- #18 — ISS Hockey
- #14 — NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)