Looking back at the crazy 2012 draft deal that almost happened
Back at the 2012 draft in Pittsburgh, a monstrous deal almost went down between the New York Islanders and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The deal would’ve sent all seven of the Islanders draft picks, including the fourth overall, to the Blue Jackets for the second overall pick. The Blue Jackets declined the deal.
Looking back on it, it was a blessing that Scott Howson and the Blue Jackets did that. The draft for the Islanders looked like this:
#4: Griffin Reinhart
#34: Ville Pokka
#65: Adam Pelech
#103: Loic Leduc
#125: Doyle Somerby
#155: Jesse Graham
#185: Jake Bischoff
All of those players are defensemen, with all but Pokka and Reinhart still in the organization.
Both of those players took different paths, with Reinhart’s stint with the pro club ending quite quickly. He was traded for two picks which eventually became Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier. Pokka, on the other hand, looked like he was primed to become a solid NHL defender for the Islanders. Pokka was eventually traded as the main piece in the Nick Leddy deal and is thriving in the Blackhawks organization, and neither team is any worse off from the deal.
Dylan Somerby and Jake Biscoff are playing at Boston University and the University of Minnesota respectively. Both players don’t look like standout prospects, but they can rightfully still become something good. Somerby is a massive 6’5 which helps.
Loic Leduc and Jesse Graham have flipped between the AHL and ECHL during their pro careers and don’t appear to be amounting to much.
What would’ve happened if the Islanders got what they wanted with that deal? All seven picks: gone. The Islanders are on the clock with pick number two. They reportedly didn’t mind either Ryan Murray or Nail Yakupov, but more likely the former would’ve been chosen. As we know, Murray has had his fair share of injury issues but is still a solid defenseman for Columbus. He even recently inked a new contract extension worth just north of 2.8 million per season for two years. Yakupov has been in the headlights of Edmonton criticism for quite some time now, maybe due to lack of productions compared to other number one picks Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He is still a great player with potential, however.
Now, the fallout. The Islanders don’t get Pokka and don’t get to use him in the Leddy deal. Do they even make the Nick Leddy deal with Ryan Murray aboard? The defense could’ve had a core of Boychuk, Murray, de Haan and Hamonic moving forward. Leddy is just two years older than Murray, so the Islanders made out pretty well on this end.
Griffin Reinhart wouldn’t be an Islander either, and although that may have saved a lot of frustration, it wouldn’t have gotten the Islanders Barzal and Beauvillier.
The Islanders wouldn’t have Adam Pelech either, who has shown tremendous signs of growth and seems to be slated to be a solid, stay at home defenseman. The Islanders got a gem with this kid.
All in all, the Islanders have a lot to thank Scott Howson for (who is ironically now with the Oilers, the team who traded for Reinhart) not pulling the trigger. He couldn’t have known at the time, but he did the Islanders a great favor. The declining of that deal significantly altered the future of the Islanders in a ripple effect, although it technically remains unknown how far both teams would be today if the deal actually did go down.