The Charlottetown Islanders’ top pick says he has a well-rounded game.
“I’m a 200-foot player. I play a fast game but also a really offensive game,” said Sam Oliver.
“I like to set up players but put the puck in the net as well and take care of my D zone.”
The Islanders selected the Quispamsis, N.B., native 27th overall in Saturday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft after trading back five spots in the second round to add more picks.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamt of playing in the Q,” Oliver said. “It’s a real special feeling.”
The five-foot-10, 177-pound centre played at Rothesay Netherwood School in New Brunswick last season, tallying 44 points, including 25 goals, in 40 games.
Central scouting had him ranked 40th overall.
“We think he fits our identity and DNA to a tee,” Islanders’ head coach and general manager Jim Hulton said.
“He has a track record of scoring,” he added, noting his back-to-back 25-goal seasons.
“We think he (plays a) similar style to a Brett Budgell.”
Oliver had options open to him south of the border but has committed to the Islanders.
“It was a really tough choice,” he said. “I spoke with (the Islanders’ staff) many times over the last month and they really, really had a big part of that decision.”
Saint John, N.B., native Matt Bursey, who played with the P.E.I. Rocket/Islanders’ organization from 2011-14, coached Oliver in his first year of bantam.
Shortly after the Islanders drafted Oliver, they dug deep into the draft cupboard to get the assets to acquire overage goalie Colten Ellis from the Rimouski Oceanic. Oliver and Ellis are both represented by the same agency and have attended camps together.
“I think Charlottetown has a really good chance of winning the championship,” Oliver said. “I can’t wait to get started.”
The Islanders then took a pair of Quebec defencemen in the fourth round.
They selected Angus (Gus) Booth, who is the younger brother of former Quebec and Saint John goalie Callum Booth, at 60. Hulton said he reminded the staff of current Isles’ blue-liner Will Trudeau.
“Al Cusson, our Quebec head scout, has absolutely loved him. He’s been talking about him since Christmas,” he said.
Booth was paired with Michael Mastrodomenico, who went ninth overall to Shawinigan, for much of the season for Laval-Montreal of the Quebec midget AAA league. Booth is described as a solid, steady defender with offensive upside.
“The way he thinks the game was really intriguing to our guys,” Hulton said.
Charlottetown then added Mathis Aguilar at 76.
At nearly six-foot-two and 175 pounds, he provides some needed size on the back end and projects as a penalty killer, who is hard to play against and can clear out the front of the net.
“Aguilar is a real throwback, a big stay-at-home defensive defenceman,” Hulton said.
The Islanders picked 14 players in the 14-round draft. All were 2004-born players except two 2003s (Logan Costenaro and William Blackburn).
The coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic forced the draft online for the first time in the league’s draft history, which dates back to 1972.
“The Q did a real good job with how they ran the whole thing online,” Oliver said.
The Islanders continue to have discussions with both defenceman Luke Vardy and forward Ryan Greene, who were drafted in 2019. Greene, who played in the United States last year, has verbally committed to Boston University while Vardy played at St. Andrew’s College in Ontario.
A look at the Charlottetown Islanders’ draft picks and who they played for in 2019-20.
27. C Sam Oliver, Rothesay Netherwood School (New Brunswick).
60. LD Angus (Gus) Booth, Laval-Montreal (Quebec).
76. LD Mathis Aguilar, St-Eustache (Quebec).
106. G Paolo Marabella, Lac St-Louis (Quebec).
124. C Jarrett Todd, Halifax (Nova Scotia)
130. RD Xavier Delage, Saint-François (Quebec).
142. LW Jonah Jelley, Notre Dame (Saskatchewan).
150. LW Logan Costenaro, Lanaudière (Quebec).
160. LD Beren Simard, Mississauga (Ontario).
178. RW Brandon Crowell, Mount Saint Charles Academy (Rhode Island).
196. LW William Blackburn, Lac St-Louis (Quebec).
214. G Sebastian Lever, Halifax (Nova Scotia).
232. RD Landon MacDonald, Charlottetown (P.E.I.)
250. D Isaac Vos, Kensington (P.E.I.)