With no hockey going on this season, I wanted to take some time to look at some of the Islanders prospects. The Isles have one of the best systems in the entire NHL right now. Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, and Kirill Kabonov are all forwards with at least top-six potential and they have a decent group of defensemen to supplement them. Considering the age and talent levels of John Tavares and Travis Hamonic, the Islanders may have a very good team right around the time they hit Brooklyn.
Here is the Islanders Top 10 Prospects list via Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus (the commentary is mine):
New York Islanders Top 10 Prospects
1. Ryan Strome, Center
2010-11 Ranking: 1st
Date of birth: 07/11/1993
Statistics: 45 GP, 30 G, 68 P (Niagara-OHL)
Acquired: First round, fifth overall in 2011 by New York Islanders
MY TAKE: Strome is not yet ready for the NHL, but he could be very special when he gets there. He projects as a first-line center because of his plus puck skills and hockey sense, but with Tavares around the Islanders will be able to have a pair of lines run by elite pivots. He has 12 G and 21 A in 19 GP with the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL this year.
2. Kirill Kabanov, Left Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 2nd
Date of birth: 07/16/1992
Statistics: 50 GP, 21 G, 55 P (Shawinigan-QMJHL)
Acquired: Third round, 65th overall in 2010 by New York Islanders
MY TAKE: Kabanov has the skills to be a top line winger, but has tremendous defensive skills if he never reaches his potential offensively. Best case is they have their starting left winter, worst case seems to be a very solid second or third liner that are very important, but often overlooked. He has 0 G and 2 A in 4 GP with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL this season.
3. Brock Nelson, Center
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 10/15/1991
Statistics: 42 GP, 28 G, 47 P (Univ. of North Dakota-WCHA)
Acquired: First round, 30th overall in 2010 by New York Islanders
MY TAKE: If he fills out more he seems like a Todd Bertuzzi type. A real tough defensive player who can also perform at a higher offensive level. He’s another center, but it sounds like he could move to the wing if he gets stuck behind Tavares and Kabanov. He was one of the best players at the college level playing with the University of North Dakota last season and is off to a good start in the AHL this year. He has 6 G and 5 A in 10 GP with the Sound Tigers this year.
4. Matt Donovan, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 7th
Date of birth: 05/02/1990
Statistics: 72 GP, 10 G, 44 P (Bridgeport-AHL)
Acquired: Fourth round, 96th overall in 2008 by New York Islanders
MY TAKE: Donovan is the top defenseman in the system. The problem is that he’s not very strong defensively. He is a good weapon to have though and could end up being a powerplay quarterback. He broke in with the Islanders last April, but is back down in Bridgeport because of the lockout. He has 0 G and 6 A in 9 GP this year.
5. Calvin de Haan, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 4th
Date of birth: 05/09/1991
Statistics: 56 GP, 2 G, 17 P (Bridgeport-AHL)
Acquired: First round, 12th overall in 2009 by New York Islanders
MY TAKE: De Haan is a very promising defensive minded defenseman who projects as a second pair guy. He was promoted to the NHL late last season and would have had a chance there this year if not for the lockout. Unfortunately De Haan separated his shoulder playing with the Sound Tigers earlier this year and is out for the season. It wouldn’t be a big deal since he’s young enough, but he’s suffered multiple shoulder injuries to the point where it could be a real concern. He had 0 G and 2 A in 3 GP before he got hurt.
6. Griffin Reinhart, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 01/24/1994
Statistics: 58 GP, 12 G, 36 P (Edmonton-WHL)
Acquired: First round, fourth overall in 2012 by New York Islanders
MY TAKE: Reinhart was their first round pick in last year’s draft. He’s a big boy and is going to end up being a big physical defense man He’s No. 6 on this list now, but I expect he’ll move up with more experience. He has 1 G and 4 A in 19 GP with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL this season.
7. Scott Mayfield, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 5th
Date of birth: 10/14/1992
Statistics: 42 GP, 3 G, 12 P (Univ. of Denver-WCHA)
Acquired: Second round, 34th overall in 2011 by New York Islanders
MY TAKE: Right now Mayfield is kind of in the middle prospect wise. He currently projects as a second pair defender, but could take a turn and become more of a first line type or could even be a very physical third pairing type. Either way, the Islanders have a guy with solid potential for the future club. He has 0 G and 3 A in 6 GP for the University of Dever this season.
8. Johan Sundstrom, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 09/21/1993
Statistics: 49 GP, 6 G, 11 P, 12:06 ATOI (Frolunda-SEL)
Acquired: Second round, 50th overall in 2011 by New York Islanders
MY TAKE: Sundstrom is the type of player who doesn’t look extremely exciting, but ends up being a solid, but unspectacular contributor for a long time. He has defensive skills and was impressive playing with Team Sweden that won the gold in the World Junior Classic. He has 2 G and 3 A in 10 GP with the Sound Tigers this year.
9. Anders Lee, Left Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 8th
Date of birth: 07/03/1990
Statistics: 40 GP, 17 G, 34 P (University of Notre Dame-CCHA)
Acquired: Sixth round, 152nd overall in 2009 by New York Islanders
MY TAKE: Lee is currently projected as a “below average second-line forward.” He’s a big dude, but a weak skater who isn’t much of a playmaker. Still he has a strong shot and could end up being a strong grinder type. He’s 22-years-old and is still playing in Notre Dame. Expect him to jump up to the NHL soon. He has 5 G and 4 A in 9 GP so far this year.
10. Ville Pokka, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 06/03/1994
Statistics: 35 GP, 0 G, 3 P (Karpat-SM-Liiga)
Acquired: Second round, 34th overall in 2012 by New York Islanders
MY TAKE: HP is projecting him as an average second-pairing d-man, but because of his size and skating ability he seems like a long shot. The thing is, he’s still very young so there is certainly time for him to develop. He’s got a solid base to start with though so perhaps he can eventually reach his ceiling. He has 2 G and 3 A in 14 GP with Karpat in the SM-liiga this year.
The next five are listed as Casey Cizikas (center), Aaron Ness (defenseman), Brenden Kichton (defense), Robbie Russo (defense), John Persson (left wing) and Mike Halmo (left wing) is listed as a sleeper.