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New York Islanders

Isles Draft 6’6 Jesse Pulkkinen and BU Commit Kamil Bednarik

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Kamil Bednarik // Photo Via USA Hockey's NTDP on X

The Islanders have bucked their recent trends and kept their first—and second-round picks. At pick 54, they selected Jesse Pulkkinen. Then, at pick 61, they selected Kamil Bednarik.

Jesse Pulkkinen Breakdown

Pulkkinen is a massive man, at 6’6 and weighing in at 219 lbs. He’s an over-ager at 19, but he blossomed this past season. His upside as a defenseman is there, as he performed very well at the junior level in Finland.

Pulkkinen scored 11 goals and 28 points in 18 games in the Finnish Junior League, including four goals and 10 points in seven playoff games. JYP then called him up to the main Liiga, where he registered eight points in 29 games. He also represented Finland at the World Juniors and scored one goal and three points in seven games.

Pulkkinen’s skating for a 6’6 player is strong but below the average NHLer. He’s got a lot of strength, being 6’6 and all. Speaking to the media, he said he models his game after Victor Hedman. He’s unsure if he will return to Finland or report to Bridgeport for the upcoming season.

Pulkkinen was rumored to go as early as the end of round one but fell to the Islanders.

Kamil Bednarik Breakdown

Out of the USNTDP, Bednarik is a defensive-minded center with solid skating and an extreme battle level. He’s always competing. Bednarik’s not a flashy offensive guy, but he uses his speed and work ethic to generate his chances. Speaking to the media, Bednarik said he models his game after Patrice Bergeron.

Mock drafts had Bednarik going around where the Islanders took him, if not slightly before. He’s also headed to play for BU, where fellow Islanders draft pick Cole Eiserman is heading. Both played together at the USNTDP and will now head to play under Islander Jay Pandolfo.

Pandolfo coaches BU, and Lou Lamoriello specifically named him because he felt comfortable drafting Eiserman, knowing he would help develop Eiserman’s all-around game. Now, Pandolfo will coach both.

These are two solid picks for the Islanders: one defenseman who can rise to be a top-4 defenseman and a defensive center whose ceiling seems to be a shutdown third-liner.

Final Thoughts

Well, the Islanders kept all the picks. While the picks themselves all seem to have solid value, particularly Eiserman, they have failed to create any cap space for the team.

This summer is pivotal to the team’s current competitive window, and the lack of trades coming from the Islanders’ camp thus far would seem to indicate that the team couldn’t find any takers for Jean-Gabriel Pageau, nor could they make a hockey trade.

There were certainly major trades, with Mikhail Sergachev being sent to Utah, as was John Marino. Yet, the Islanders remained quiet. They don’t have much space to add anybody through free agency. Unless Lamoriello pulls a rabbit from his hat, it seems the Islanders will have a quiet summer.