We learned Tuesday night that the New York Islanders will receive the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming 2012 NHL draft and the speculation has already begun about where they could turn their attention.
Wednesday, ESPN Insider's Grant Sonier -- a former NHL scout -- submitted his updated lottery mock draft. With the top three forward prospects off the board -- Nail Yakupov, Filip Forsberg and Mikhail Grigorenko -- Sonier put the Isles on versatile defenseman Mathew Dumba from Red Deer of the WHL.
Here's an excerpt:
"It may be a toss-up [with Everett Silvertips D Ryan Murray], but I see Mathew Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels (WHL) falling in at No. 4 with the Isles. His two-way game and big physical play will make him a tremendous addition on Long Island."
Scouts have been high on Dumba all season long, but the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau recently dropped him to No. 11 among North American Skaters. The reasons for the drop aren't immediately apparent. Dumba is a tad undersized (under six-feet) but does not play small. He does not shy away from contact -- and often initiates it -- and, more importantly in today's NHL, can retrieve the puck from his own end and push it up ice. He's got some great character traits as well, captaining the Canadian team to the gold at the Ivan Hlinka tournament last summer, where he also helped shut down the aforementioned Forsberg and Grigorenko.
In August he competed against some more of the NHL's best draft prospects at the NHL Research and Development camp and he was both impressive on the ice and afterwards, when I had a chance to speak with him. He's going to wow some teams during the pre-draft interviews and if the Isles do select him they'd be getting a great ambassador for the team.
This is where the fun starts though, so who do you want to see the Islanders snag with the No. 4 pick?