Remember the song from the 80s “The future is so bright you have to wear shades?” Well that can describe the New York Islanders’ organization. In a recent article by THW’s Matt Pryor, he analyzed every NHL team on how many players on the main roster that they have in their prime years, ages 24 – 29. The Islanders and the Bruins were tied for first with 14 players in their prime years. That is a great stat for both organizations. But in addition, the Islanders, according to the Hockeys Future spring team rankings, are ranked second in the league. Since that impressive ranking, New York added a number of talented prospects in the 2015 draft, including two first round draft picks. Let’s take a look at the top prospects in the Islanders’ system that all hockey fans should have on their radar.
Help is a Phone Call Away
There is a number of players at New York’s AHL team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, that can help the 2015-16 Islanders. Let’s start on the blue line, which is led by 2013 first round pick, Ryan Pulock, who was destined to be an Islander as his dad has been a life-long fan of the franchise, all the way from Canada. Pulock is considered a blue-chip prospect who has a chance to be an elite defenseman. At 6 foot 2, 215 pounds, he is armed with a slap shot that goes well into the triple digits in terms of miles per hour. Pulock is very close to being NHL ready but still needs a little work to fine tune the little things regarding his game. This has been shown so far this season for Pulock, as he has two goals and two assists in his first eight games but is a minus-3. So there is work to be done with Pulock, but he will be a weapon for the Islanders on the power play for years to come.
After Pulock, both Scott Mayfield and Adam Pelech project to be real solid defensive-minded, tough defensemen. Both could help New York this year, but of the two, Mayfield would get the call first. In terms of forward depth in case of injury to players on the big club, New York has Kirill Petrov and Taylor Beck, who are a phone call away. While neither are star potential, both could be solid secondary forwards for the big club this season if injuries do occur.
While the following players will not help the Islanders this season, like a big blockbuster movie coming in the next year or two, Islanders fans should be excited with the next wave of players coming. This group is led by the four players taken in the first round by New York in the 2014 and 2015 drafts. The top two kids from this group are Matthew Barzal (16th overall in the 2015 draft) and Michael Dal Colle (fifth overall in the 2014 draft). Barzal is off to fantastic start with 15 points in his first eight games for the Seattle Thunderbirds. Dal Colle has come out of the gates slow, as he just has six points in his first 12 games and has yet to lit the lamp for the Oshawa Generals. Both have ceilings to be first-line players in the NHL. Worst case scenario for this tandem is they will be top-six forwards. There is a good chance that Barzal and Dal Colle will be in New York’s opening night roster come October 2016.
The next two kids to watch for are Joshua Ho-Sang (28th overall in the 2014 draft) and Anthony Beauviller (28th overall in the 2015 draft). Ho-Sang made news across the hockey world when he failed to show up on the morning of the first day of training camp for New York. Ho-Sang blamed a failed alarm clock. After running the stairs for three hours, New York sent Ho-Sang back to junior. Both kids are off to incredible starts. Ho-Sang, in his first 13 games for the Niagara Ice Dogs, has four goals and 14 assists. While Beauviller has eight goals and 12 assists in his first 10 games for the Shawinigan Cataractes. Both players project to be top-six forwards and part of the Islanders’ core for years to come. However, don’t expect either player to be in Brooklyn on a full-time basis for at least two to three years.
A great deal for Garth Snow….gives up Griffin Reinhart, who has been slow to develop, picks Matthew Barzal at 16 and a 2nd. #Islanders
— Michael Augello (@MikeInBuffalo) June 27, 2015
I just highlighted the big names in the Islanders’ pipeline. This organization has a wealth of other prospects who can be solid contributors for years to come, as well.
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