Islanders This Week | New York Islanders Top 20 Prospects

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Islanders This Week | New York Islanders Top 20 Prospects | By Tony Stabile | Islanders Ticket Deals | Islanders RSVP

As the Islanders 2013 prospect minicamp gets under way this week, let’s take a look at the top 20 prospects throughout the Islanders organization. These rankings are done by me based on my conversations with scouts and research done on each individual player.

The list consists of the following:

  • 9 Defenseman
  • 3 Goaltenders
  • 8 Forwards

So without further delay….

1. Ryan Strome C/W Niagara Ice Dogs OHL 53gs 34g-60a-94pts
Strome had his most dominant season of his OHL career in ‘13. His 94 points over 53 games means his PPG (points per game) average was at 1.77. In 2011, his PPG average was 1.63. Strome then finished the season with Bridgeport and added 7 points in 10 games. There has been talk of moving him from Center to the Wing, which would make it likely he is the heir apparent to play with John Tavares. Strome has shown improvement in his game and is likely to start the 2013-14 season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

2. Brock Nelson C Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 66gs 25g-27a-52pts
Nelson, who played his first professional season last year after leaving the University of North Dakota after his sophomore season, had a break out year. All eyes on Bridgeport were on Nino Niederreiter last year, but Nelson outplayed Nino down the stretch and actually was rewarded with suiting up for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals against Pittsburgh. Nelson is a big body with a nice scoring touch and can play in his own end. GM Garth Snow is looking for Nelson to crack the Islanders lineup this September. Nelson projects as the Islanders future 2nd line center.

3. Griffin Reinhart D Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 59gs 8g-21a-29pts
Reinhart, the Captain of the powerhouse Oil Kings, had a bit of a slow start, but was back to his dominant self by the end of the year. Another huge body (6’4”), Reinhart is the future of the Islanders blue line. His shut down capabilities and offensive upside project him as a number 1 defenseman. He most likely will need another season in the WHL before making the jump to the pros.

4. Ryan Pulock D Brandon Wheat Kings WHL 61gs 14g-31a-45pts
Pulock is a pure offensive defenseman who plays a very responsible game in his own zone. His slap shot from the point is rated a 60 on the ISS 20-60 scale and could be as effective as Zdeno Chara’s in the future. It’s been clocked at over 100 MPH and he has some control of it as well. Pulock is extremely strong and projects as a number 2 or 3 defenseman. With his offensive potential, Pulock is more likely a number 2. A scout told me a Pulock-Reinhart tandem could be extremely dangerous down the road. He will spend the 2013-14 season in Brandon.

5. Anders Lee C/W Notre Dame Fighting Irish CCHA 41gs 20g-18a-38pts
Lee made the jump from Notre Dame, where he spent 3 seasons and was the Captain the past 2, to Long Island after the NCAA Froze Four tournament. Lee, like many other Islanders prospects, has a huge frame (6’3”) and can play a physical game. He has a nose for the net and recorded a point in each of the 2 games he played in the NHL last season. Lee should benefit from a training camp on Long Island, but it wouldn’t hurt to see some games in the AHL this season. Lee projects as a top 9 scoring forward.

6. Matt Donovan D Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 75gs 14g-34a-48pts
Donovan finished his second season in Bridgeport as its number 1 defenseman and one of the top point producers from the blue line. After spending two seasons at the University of Denver, Donovan has continued to improve his overall game in the AHL. He is a +25 the past two seasons in addition to his 40+ points. He will vie for the spot left by Mark Streit’s departure this September, and has a very good chance to crack the Islanders top 6. Donovan projects as a second pairing offensive defenseman.

7. Scott Mayfield D University of Denver CCHA 39gs 4g-13a-17pts
Mayfield, a punishing stay at home defenseman, is a fantastic skater who is not far away from being an NHL defenseman. He has some offensive ability and a very good shot from the point, but Mayfield is known more for his defense. He is 6’4 and is considered a very strong skater. He could be a strong candidate to take over a spot on Long Island next season. He projects as a second pairing shutdown defender.

8. Ville Pokka D Karpat FEL 47gs 6g-6a-12pts
Pokka was a very nice selection for the Islanders at #34 in the 2012 NHL Draft. Pokka, who was projected by some to be a late 1st rounder, is a very polished 19 year old playing in the FEL. He’s an offensive defenseman who has a great first pass and is very good in his own end. Some scouts project him as high as top paring defenseman with 40 point potential. Pokka will continue to play important minutes in Karpat this season with a look ahead to a possible move to North America in 2014.

9. Kirill Kabanov W Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 32gs 2g-7a-9pts
Kabanov missed a huge chunk of the AHL season after being cut along his wrist. He came back late in the year, but after being hurt only a few games into the AHL season, it ended up being a lost year. He is still considered a top prospect, as his work ethic has continued to improve and is even spending time in the Gary Roberts training academy this off season. Kabanov still projects as a top 6 offensive forward that possesses magic like puck skills. KK should spend the entire season with Bridgeport in 13-14.

10. Anders Nilsson G Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 8-11-0 2.98gaa .899 Save %
Anders Nilsson is the Islanders top goaltending prospect, and at 23 years old, this is a make or break year for him. Coming off a very impressive 1st season in North America, Nilsson had a strange illness and was sidelined for much of last season. The doctors seem to have his issue figured out and he looks to be the starter in Bridgeport this coming season with a shot to back up incumbent Evgeni Nabokov on Long Island. Nilsson has the potential to be a good number 1 goaltender.

11. Andrey Pedan D Guelph Storm OHL 60gs 14g-30a-44pts
Pedan finished his 3rd season with the Guelph Storm this year and signed with the Islanders at the end of the season. He played 8 games with Bridgeport at the end of the 2013 season and recorded 2 assists in those games. Known more for his punishing and physical style of play, Pedan displays solid offensive skills as well. He recorded 40 or more points his last 2 seasons in Guelph along with 145+ PIMS. He should require some time in the AHL, but Pedan should become a soild NHL defenseman before long.

12. Calvin de Haan D Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 3gs 0g-2a-2pts
Calvin de Haan is still considered a top prospect despite him missing so much time due to injuries the past 3 seasons. It’s usually his shoulder that is the problem, as he has had surgery twice now. When de Haan is on the ice, he is a fantastic prospect. He displays strong offensive skills and is extremely smart with the puck. If he can stay healthy, de Haan projects as a top 4 defenseman with offensive potential. Even though he missed nearly all of last season, he has a decent chance to break camp with the Islanders this fall.

13. Adam Pelech D Erie Otters OHL 59gs 8g-32a-40pts
Adam Pelech had his most successful season in 12-13 with the Erie Otters. Pelech finished with 40 points and nearly 100 PIMS (which was double what he finished with his draft year). Another huge body on the blue line (6’2” 210lbs), Pelech doesn’t project as an offensive defenseman, but more of a shutdown d-man. He will need another year in the OHL before signing his ELC probably next spring.

14. Kirill Petrov W Kazan Ak Bars KHL 47gs 12g-8a-20pts
Petrov has slid down this list as the years have passed (he was selected the same year as Josh Bailey), but still makes the list as he is finally in the last year of his KHL contract. There has been word out of Petrov’s camp that the Islanders definitely want to sign him and bring him directly into the NHL next season. Petrov has certainly shown he can score, he has ranked 3rd in goals for Kazan the past 2 seasons. Kazan isn’t exactly the KHL’s most talented team (they’ve missed the playoffs the last 2 seasons) so Petrov, who attended rookie camp a few summers ago, may be looking for a change of scenery. He has the talent and potential to be a top 6 power forward that can put the puck in the net.

15. Kevin Poulin G Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 15-14-3 3.22gaa .904 Save%
Poulin has had the opportunity to show the Islanders he is ready to be their goalie of the future. He finished a very solid career in the QMJHL and almost immediately showed the Islanders the promised he displayed during his time in Victoriaville. He suffered a dislocated knee cap at the Coliseum in 2011 and has yet to post the same impressive numbers since. He took over as the Islanders backup after Rick DiPietro was waived and did a commendable job despite not playing very much. Poulin will have to have a very solid camp to keep his name on this list going forward. KP has the ability to be a number 1 goaltender, though he needs to prove he can do it.

16. Johan Sundstrom C Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 59gs 11g-21a-32pts
Johan Sundstrom, the Islanders 2nd round pick in 2011, had a very successful 1st season in North America in 12-13. Sundstrom scored 11 goals and had 32 points for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Sundstrom plays an extremely reliable 2-way game and has the size and strength of a power forward. His game reminds me of Frans Nielsen, but with a lot more size. Sundstrom has the ability to be a very good 2nd or 3rd line center with some offensive upside. Johan will turn 21 this September and will in all likelihood continue his development in Bridgeport next season.

17. Eamon McAdam G Waterloo Black Hawks USHL 17-9-3 3.45gaa .896save%
McAdam was the Islanders 3rd round pick (70th overall) in the 2013 NHL draft. This was the pick that was acquired with Cal Clutterbuck in the Nino Niederreiter trade. McAdam split time in Waterloo with fellow 2013 Draft pick Cal Peterson (taken by Buffalo in the 3rd round). McAdam was the 3rd ranked goaltender by ISS and was the 4th one taken in the Draft (behind Zach Fucale, Tristan Jarry and Eric Comrie). McAdam has the ability to turn into a solid goaltending prospect. He has a strong game and plays the angles well. He’s not the most athletic goaltender around, but is sound technically and will continue to improve on this. McAdam is headed to the Penn State this fall.

18. Taylor Cammarata C Waterloo Black Hawks USHL 59gs 38g-55a-93pts
You would think someone who lit up the USHL for 93 points and was voted USHL player of the year would not be around at pick number 76, well the Islanders got themselves a heck of a player in Cammarata. The knock on this kid is his size (or lackthereof). Cammarata is listed at 5’7” and 156 lbs. He needs to add weight to his size if he has any chance to deal with the daily grind of playing in the NHL. Cammarata is headed to the University of Minnesota this fall and should continue to grow (hopefully) under coach Lucia. A successful season in St. Paul this year could rocket this kid up the list next year.

19. John Persson W Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 65gs 17g-12a-29pts
Persson was chosen by the Islanders in the 5th round in 2011. He has shown a scoring touch that earned him an ELC and an invite to Bridgeport. In his 1st full season in the AHL, Persson scored 17 goals in just 65 games. His competitive play on the ice, as well as his scoring touch, was rewarded with a recall to the Islanders playoff roster. The 21 year old Persson will continue to play at Bridgeport and we’ll continue to monitor this intriguing prospect’s development.

20. Robbie Russo D Notre Dame Fighting Irish CCHA 41gs 5g-18a-23pts
Russo comes off another solid season with Notre Dame (he was a teammate of current prospect Anders Lee). Russo is not the biggest or strongest defenseman in the CCHA, but he’s smart and plays with passion. The Islanders love this kid and he shows a desire every time his skates hit the ice. He has some offensive skills and has a great first pass out of the zone. He reminds me a lot of Thomas Hickey; smallish, but knows how to move the puck. Russo will return to Notre Dame for his junior season. The Islanders will continue to monitor his progress.

Honorable Mentions

  • Viktor Crus-Rydberg 2013 5th round pick out of Linkoping Sweden.
  • Alan Quine 2013 6th round pick from the Belleville Bulls.
  • Jesse Graham 2012 6th round pick from the Niagara Ice Dogs.
  • Stephon Williams 2013 4th round pick from Minnesota State University Mankato.

Graduated Prospects
Casey Cizikas, Thomas Hickey

For Hockey This Week …. I’m Tony Stabile

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonystabile

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