New York Islanders: Comparisons for the 2020 NHL draft class

Brandon Schnapp
Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Simon Holmstrom puts on a jersey after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders had 5 draft picks during the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. None of these picks were in the 1st or 2nd round. This doesn’t mean that the Islanders didn’t select some potentially good players. But, since NHL analysts don’t make comparisons past the first and early second round, regular fans don’t know what to expect. Here are the player comparisons for all 5 players. Also, keep in mind that I’m only using current active NHL players.

Alexander Ljungkrantz

I know for a fact that Brendan Burke will have a hell of a time saying his name every other night. I was skeptical of this pick for one reason, the production wasn’t there. Ljungkrantz played in 42 games in J20 SuperElit, and there wasn’t much I saw. Only 15 goals and 12 assists is not great production. But, he’s proved me wrong as of late. Just 2 days ago, Ljungkrantz had a hattrick with more than 14 minutes remaining in the third. In just 11 games, he has 7 goals and 3 assists. The SHL is not an easy league, but Ljungkrantz is dominating right now. He’s a grinder, and that’s why the Islanders picked him in the 3rd round—my comparison: Jesper Fast, but without that offensive output.

Alex Jefferies

Alex Jefferies’ production is absolutely outstanding. I’ve never pointed to a late-round prospect and said: “the production speaks for itself.” The best is yet to come for this young winger. I am so high on this kid—his most recent stats record as 33 goals and 36 assists in 32 games. Jefferies was over 2 points per game in the USHS-Prep. Jefferies is more of a sniper than a grinder but still plays a 200-foot game. For the sake of optimism, my comparison: Alex DeBrincat.

William Dufour

I’ve seen a lot of buzz around William Dufour. I’m not so sure I believe in it. But, there is a lot to like in his game. I see Dufour as a top-six power forward. Dufour can drive to the net effectively and has some wicked tip-ins. His goalie screens are always effective. Dufour has a nice slapshot and a good wrister. Dufour is not afraid to get dirty and will lay the body. He can definitely be a nice penalty killer for the Isles. My comparison: Jake Debrusk/Anders Lee hybrid.

Matias Rajaniemi

I really have no clue how to pronounce this name, but that’s not my job is it? Top 4 upside for Matias Rajaniemi. All over the world, Hockey analysts have raved about his skating abilities. Almost every beat writer wanted their team to draft Rajaniemi late. Lucky for the Islanders, they stole him in the 6th round. Rajaniemi recorded 2 goals and 15 assists in 39 games last year. His puck skills aren’t there just yet, but they will be. My comparison, just off size alone: Nikita Zadorov.

Henrik Tikkanen

Yes, the Islanders drafted a goalie who is 6’8. How can an NHLer go top shelf on a goalie who covers the whole net and more? Sadly, Tikkanen will not reach the NHL level. His sub .900 save percentage in the second-highest Finnish HL is not going to cut it. He’s just a really tall goalie, hopefully, he makes a difference in Bridgeport one day. My Comparison: Ben Bishop without any of the talent.