In the summer of 2017, the Islanders traded a fan-favorite player away in defenseman Travis Hamonic. He was sent to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 2018 first and second-round pick and another second-round pick in 2019. At the time, the Islanders would come to miss one of their top defensemen. But now four years removed from that trade, it seems like a valid time to evaluate what the Islanders got in return for Travis Hamonic.
Noah Dobson (D)
The Islanders hit the jackpot with the Flames 2018 first-round draft choice. The Flames faltered in their 2017-18 season, missing the playoffs with a 37-35-10 record. This resulted in them getting the 12th overall pick in the draft. And with that 12th overall pick, the Islanders selected Noah Dobson, a highly regarded defenseman. Needless to say, Dobson has not disappointed with his play in the NHL. He’s been developing his game over the last two seasons and is currently in the midst of a breakout.
Specifically, his offensive game has been stellar this season. He’s already tied his career-high of 14 points in just 26 games. His most recent highlight is scoring an overtime winner against the Edmonton Oilers. In his three seasons in the NHL, he’s been someone the team’s coaching staff could rely on to play strong minutes for them. While he still has to work on some aspects of his defensive game, at age 22 Dobson has already shown a significant amount of long-term potential. He seems to be locked as a top-four defenseman for this Islanders team in the future.
Ruslan Iskhakov (C)
Ruslan Iskhakov was the player selected with the Flames 2018 second-round pick. Iskhakov is a Russian center who was taken out of the University of Connecticut. He only received second-round consideration due to the fact that he’s undersized at a height of 5-foot-8. But aside from that, he’s shown a lot of promise as an offensive player. He broke out in his first season playing pro hockey in Liiga, scoring 10 goals and 28 assists for TPS. The talent is there, but it is uncertain when or if he’ll crack the Islanders lineup in the NHL. Iskhakov is only 21, so there’s still plenty of time for him to prove himself overseas and earn his shot. This could be a high upside pick if he continues strengthening his overall game in the pros as he has been.
Samuel Bolduc (D)
Samuel Bolduc was taken with the Flames 2019 second-round pick. Some may remember Bolduc from when head coach Barry Trotz gave him high praise in last season’s training camp. He had a great first season with Bridgeport, finishing second in points with 14 overall points on the year. Unfortunately for Bolduc, that level of success has not continued through this season. Through 23 games this season, Bolduc has yet to score a point for Bridgeport.
He was even passed over in favor of Robin Salo for the opportunity to make the NHL squad with the myriad of injuries and COVID issues that plagued the Islanders. It should be noted that Bolduc has dealt with injuries this season, but the lack of points is still concerning. He still plays a solid enough defensive game, with this highlight play showing his determination on that side of the puck. Given his potential and age, this is far from the end of the road in terms of Bolduc making the NHL. He needs to work on his overall consistency and maybe then he’ll be a recipient of a call-up.
In reality, Dobson’s value alone makes this trade a net positive for the Islanders. The team was extremely lucky to wind up with as high a pick as they got from the Flames. Dobson is going to be a long-term impact player for this team, and already has filled an important role in the early stages of his career. And while the NHL futures of Iskhakov and Bolduc are uncertain, they too are very high potential prospects. If at least one of them were to make the NHL and have some success, it will make this trade look even better than it already is.
Featured image courtesy of NHL
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