By B.D. Gallof, WFAN.com
NEW YORK (WFAN) — International Scouting Services should need no introduction anywhere in the hockey world. Sites like TSN, NHL.com, plus many others, all use the ISS draft rankings, which consist of a combination of traditional scouting methods along with advanced technology to create reports on potential NHL players.
Dennis MacInnis, ISS’s director of scouting, was kind enough to devote some time to answer some questions and continue WFAN’s series on the upcoming 2012 draft class, as well as shed some light on the current system of prospects in the Islanders organization.
The draft will be held on June 22-23 in Pittsburgh.
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What is your opinion of the current crop of Islanders prospects and those kids who are appearing at the NHL level as the rebuild now enters it’s fourth year?
MacInnis: “GM Snow deserves credit for ‘rebuilding’ and adding depth in two to three short years. What ISS always admired about Mr. Snow was the fact he is willing to roll the dice and take that gamble that could pay off big time in the future.”
MacInnis is referring to Kirill Kabanov. With two first-round picks already in the bank, the Kabanov selection made sense. Another kid with lots of upside was Casey Cizikas, a talent a lot of general managers wouldn’t have touched because of his off-ice issues.
Do you see any pattern of “style” in regard to the Islanders drafting or have an opinion on their drafting choices over recent years?
MacInnis: “The Islanders have drafted OHL three out of the past four years and have good depth at forward positions; the Islanders needs to continue to build defensive core. Sean Couturier was available at No. 5 [last year] would have been ISS pick over [Ryan] Strome.”
Do you agree with the draft philosophy that defensemen are harder to develop, where some teams seem to be cautious about taking them too early?
MacInnis: “Defensemen normally take longer to develop. However this years draft, although not deep, is loaded with top 4 d-men.”
Just about every Isles fan is demanding a defenseman, thinking of what is needed on the NHL level right away, despite the fact that it takes years to develop. What is the usual development time and are there any defenders this year that the Islanders should consider bucking their trend and contemplate selected at No. 4?
MacInnis: “D-men hit their prime around 23-26 year old. [Morgan] Rielly or [Griffin] Reinhart would be nice fit. Totally different players; it just depends what GM Snow figures is a better fit with John Tavares and Co.”
What about as far as an offensive defenseman goes? Is there anyone the Islanders should pay attention to that might fit either their system or should be considered in your opinion at No. 4?
MacInnis: “Yes, Morgan Rielly can provide both. He has million dollar legs and would make Isles young forward corp that much more effective.”
How hard is it estimating Alex Galchenyuk’s & Rielly’s draft value and projection when there is so much smaller a sample size from this past season due to injury?
MacInnis: “ISS have been scouting this age group for the past three years and have lots of scouting data to make judgment and the Combine is very Important to all NHL teams, even more so this season with so many injuries to first-round prospects.”
There seems to be a noted increase in Teuvo Teravainen’s stock value late this year. Is he the real deal?
MacInnis: “One of the most fluid skaters from his draft class. He’s tremendously difficult to zero in on once he’s carrying the puck at full speed from the blueline in.”
If you were to predict where some guys outside the projected or assumed top 10 could land within it, who would they be and why? Is there the potential for a real surprise in the top 10, or should a team in the top 5 like the Isles consider moving back?
MacInnis: “Alex Galchenyuk will be long gone before ISS ranking at 14th, however, he would be a big gamble due to the fact he wasn’t good at Ivan Hlinka and is yet to prove at least to ISS scouts he can be just as effective without [Nail] Yakupov.”
What is your prediction for the Islanders at No. 4, and why? Additionally, who would be your own choice, and why?
MacInnis: “Assuming it goes Yakupov, [Ryan] Murray, [Filip] Forsberg, take [Mikhail] Grigorenko. Hopefully, Snow doesn’t buy into the KHL factor and takes best player available.”
Thanks to Dennis and ISS Hockey, who always make themselves available this time of year. Stay tuned later this week for a chat with HockeyProspect.com’s Mark Edwards.
Read more columns by B.D. Gallof and follow him on Twitter at @BDGallof.
Who do you think the Islanders should take with the fourth selection in the NHL Draft? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …