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Looking at Previous 1st-Rounders

by Tom Liodice / New York Islanders

LOS ANGELES -- Nino Neiderreiter became the 44th player in the history of the New York Islanders and will surley play an integral part of the young core of the team.

However, lets take a look at the last ten first round draft picks from the past ten years.

Rick DiPietro 1st Overall Rick DiPietro was the third first overall selection in Islanders history. After spending a year and a half with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, DiPietro cemented himself as a full-time NHL starter in the 2003-04 season, backing up his current boss and Islanders General Manager, Garth Snow. Two years later in the 2005-06 season, he posted his first 30-win performance with a 30-24-5 record and a .900 save percentage. The following year DiPietro posted the best season of his still young career notching a career-best 32 wins, which is also a franchise record (Chris Osgood and Billy Smith also share those honors). DiPietro also set a team record for points by a goaltender with 16, besting Smiths previous record of 13.

Raffi Torres 5th Overall Drafted as a player with a slick scoring touch and a physical presence, Raffi Torres was selected just four spots after DiPietro. Unfortunately for the six-foot, 200-plus pound left winger, Torres was only able to muster six assists in 31 games over two seasons with the Islanders before being dealt to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Janne Niinimaa. Torres would have his best seasons with the Oilers however, posting three straight 20-goal seasons.

2001 No first round selection

Sean Bergenheim 22nd Overall Bergenheim was the latest first round selection since 1993 (23rd overall) and through the years has remained a constant with the New York Islanders organization. The speedy Finn has played in parts of five seasons with the big club, totaling 40 goals and 40 assists over the course of 246 games.

Robert Nilsson 15th Overall - Son of former NHLer Kent Nilsson, Robert spent just 53 games with the Islanders in the 2005-06 season, where he totaled 6 goals and 14 assists. The following season, Nilsson was sent to Bridgeport where he was traded in the blockbuster trade deadline deal for Ryan Smyth.

Petteri Nokelainen 16th Overall - Knee injuries hampered Nokelainens ability to sustain a constant spot with the Islanders, as he only scored one goal and added one assist through 15 games with the team in the 2005-06 season. Nokelainen would later be traded the next season to Boston in exchange for Ben Walter.

Ryan OMarra 15th Overall - Before OMarra could even see NHL ice-time, he was quickly dealt to Edmonton along with the aforementioned Nilsson, and the 2007 first draft for Ryan Smyth.

Kyle Okposo 7th Overall - Drafted originally from the Des Moines Buccanneers of the USHL, Okposo spent a year and a half with the University of Minnesota before signing his first professional contract with the Islanders in the 2007-08 season. He got his professional start with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers immediately thereafter, notching 9 goals and 19 assists. He got the call to the big club near the end of the season where he potted two more goals, including his first tally on future NHL Hall of Famer, Martin Brodeur. Okposo has went on to score 37 more goals with the Islanders and is considered an important building block to the Islanders future.

2007 No first round selection

Josh Bailey 9th Overall - The Islanders return to the first round didnt come without a little movement. Originally slated for the fifth overall selection, the Islanders made deals with Toronto and then Nashville, securing the ninth overall selection to draft Josh Bailey. Although considered a surprise pick by draft experts, Bailey made the jump to the big club immediately scoring 7 goals and 18 assists in 68 games. The following season, Bailey improved his output with a career-high 16 goals.

John Tavares 1st Overall - For the fourth time in team hhistory, the Islanders were given the opportunity to draft first overall, and they made their mark drafting John Tavares. Tavares turned plenty of heads during his junior years, breaking the all kinds of OHL records. First, he shattered Wayne Gretzkys OHL goals in a season record with 72 in the 06-07 season, and followed it up by becoming the all-time OHL goals leader with 215. In his first season with the Islanders, Tavares led the team with 54 points (24 G, 30 A) and was named to the All-Rookie team.

Calvin de Haan 12th Overall - Originally slated to draft #26, the Islanders had a specific plan in mind. They first moved up to #16, then later to #12 in order to select Oshawa Generals defenseman Calvin de Haan with their second first round selection of that evening. Although his season was cut short due to a shoulder injury, de Haan signed his first professional contract with the team and will surely be making an impact very soon.
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