There will be plenty of tough decisions to be made for New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano when training camp starts in September, especially when it comes to deciding which young forward will have a chance to be on the opening night roster.
Both Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson have earned the deserved opportunity to get a long look before being sent back down to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers; the only question is which one will stay.
Similarly to Nino Niederreiter, many were wondering where Ryan Strome would be playing at the start of the 2013 season. After being selected by the New York Islanders with the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft, Strome remained with the team straight out of training camp. He only watched two NHL games from the press-box before being sent back to his OHL team, the Niagara Ice Dogs. (Photo Credit: mandelux12/Flickr)
Strome continued to impress with the Ice Dogs and had some hockey pundits expecting him to crack the Islanders line-up this year. But the NHL work stoppage has basically kept many Islanders prospects with their respective junior teams or their farm team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Therefore, Strome has continued his career with the Ice Dogs this season, playing for them for the fourth year in a row.
The 2012 NHL entry draft concluded this past weekend and with it came seven new prospects to the Islanders system. In a strange move by Garth Snow, the franchise picked all defenseman.
Most of these prospects are still a year or two away from wearing an Islanders jersey but here's a look at what the future might hold.
Many of you have heard about the first round selection Griffin Reinhart so we'll touch on the picks made during the second day of the draft.
In the second round (34th overall), the Islanders selected Ville Pokka from Karpat of the Finnish professional league. Pokka is already playing against men as a 17-year old and still was able to put up three assists in 35 games.
You couldn't have been more wrong if you predicted the Islanders to take a forward in this year's draft. The Isles only selected defenseman out of all seven rounds of this year's draft. They also acquired the top four defenseman that GM Garth Snow has continuously talked about addressing in this off-season.
The first move came when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the Islanders traded their 2013 second round pick to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Lubomir Visnovsky, a 35-year old defenseman (he turns 36 in August) in the final year of his contract. Visnovsky put up six goals and 21 assists for 27 points in 68 games last year with the Ducks. The year before was even better as the Ducks d-man scored 61 points in 81 games. 2012 was a tough year overall for the Ducks, so there's reason to believe that Visnovsky can be an offensive weapon, especially on the power play.
The countdown of the Islanders top 15 prospects not playing in the AHL or NHL continues on as we have reached the top 5. If you missed either of the other two parts of the countdown, well numbers 10-6 can be found here and numbers 15-11 can be found here. Without further ado here is the top 5.
(Photo Credit: GuelphStorm.com)Pedan just finished his second season with the Guelph Storm of the OHL and it was another successful season for the young defenseman from Russia. Andrey played in 63 games this season finishing with 40 points (10 goals and 30 assists). He also played in 6 games during the OHL playoffs where the Storm were eliminated in the first round. (Photo Credit: GuelphStorm.com)
Most of the Islanders’ top prospects have had their season come to a close so it seems like a perfect time to count down the top 15 prospects from this past season. I will start from number 15 and work my way up to the top prospect in the Islanders system. I won’t be counting the Islanders prospect that started and played most of the season in the AHL. Now let’s get this thing rolling!
#15 Jason Clark – Forward, University of Wisconsin (NCAA) 6’-2” 190lbs
Jason had a quiet year for the Badgers playing in just 21 games and only recording one assist. This was Clark’s sophomore season and it seems he is still looking to find his way in college hockey. Clark is pretty good size for a forward and needs to start using it more in order to help his development. Since this past year was only his sophomore season I fully expect Jason to return to Wisconsin for another season next fall and hopefully show more of the skill the Islanders hoped for when they drafted him.
With the Canadian Junior playoffs still ongoing some of the Islanders prospects still have a chance to win the memorial cup while others are starting their summers early. I will take a look at some of the prospects that are still fighting for a championship and others that are practicing on their golf swing.
Ryan Strome and Mitchell Theoret both play for the Niagara Ice Dogs who recently won their second round match up and advanced to the OHL semi-finals where they will play the Ottawa 67s. Strome is continuing his strong post-season where he is third in the OHL in scoring with 17 points (6 goals, 11 assist) in just 10 games. He is a leader for the Ice Dogs offense and someone the team will rely upon as the playoffs continue. Theoret isn’t showing up on the score sheet as much as Strome but still has contributed two assist in seven games.
With most hockey seasons coming to a close it is important to keep up with the Islanders prospects that are still making a push in the playoffs. Ryan Strome and Kirill Kabanov are both still taking part in the OHL and QMJHL playoffs that are currently on going.
Ryan Strome and the Niagara Ice Dogs started their second round playoff series against the Brampton Battalion this past weekend. The Ice Dogs were able to take the first two games in the series winning the first 2-1 in overtime and taking game two 3-1. So far in this series Strome has only been held to 1 goal. He does still have 11 points in 8 games so far this postseason which are pretty solid stats to have. The series continues tonight in Niagara.
This edition of the prospect report I will look to update you on all the news and notes surrounding Islanders prospects. Some prospects decided it is time to go pro while others continue their march through the playoffs with their current teams.
To start, the news came down earlier this week that Islanders prospect Brock Nelson decided to leave college and start his NHL career by signing a 3 year entry level contract. Nelson is considered to be one of the Islanders best prospects and it is exciting seeing him ready to take the next step in his development. Nelson also signed an Amateur Tryout contract with Bridgeport that will allow him to join them this weekend to finish out the season and get a taste of some playoff hockey. Nelson will see his first action tonight as the Sound Tigers take on Syracuse. He will wear number 29.
For this edition of the prospect report I will take a second look at the two Islander’s prospects that played in the World Juniors tournament and see how their season has progressed since last hearing from them. Ryan Strome and Johan Sundstrom are two very solid prospects for the Islanders that both have a very good chance of one day wearing an Islanders jersey full time. I introduced you readers to these two prospects after the closing of the World Junior tournament in January. You can find the original article by clicking here.
Ryan Strome is still considered by many to be the top prospect in the Islanders system and he continues his impressive season with the Niagara Ice Dogs. Ryan Strome hasn’t played a full season this year due to injury but in his limited 38 games he has still scored 23 goals and 31 assists. The injury Strome suffered was a broken nose from Brody Slik. The punch was considered to be a sucker punch and landed Slik a 10 game suspension. The good news is that Strome is back playing and still producing at a high level.