In this edition of the prospect report I will continue my look into what the Islanders and Garth Snow may do with the 4th overall selection in the upcoming draft. In the first part of the series I looked at some of the top rated defensive prospects in the draft. That article can be found by clicking here. This time around I will look at some of the offensive prospects that could be available at #4 and how they might fit with the Islanders.
We all know that unless the Islanders trade up to the first overall pick that they don’t stand a chance at getting Nail Yakupov so I will leave him off this list. The first forward I will look at will be Mikhail Grigorenko (6’-3” 200lbs) from Quebec of the QMJHL. Mikhail is expected to be the 2nd Russian taken in the top five after Yakupov. He is a big center-man with a high hockey IQ that helps him see the ice and generate points. His great vision and hands led him to 85 points in 59 games during his first season of North American hockey.
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)
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.
The playoffs might be further out of sight, and the reality that the Islanders aren't a playoff team has become more and more apparent with every weakening loss, but this is not the time to "fail for Nail."
Nail Yakupov is considered to be the obvious choice for the number one overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The 19-year old Russian sniper scored 101 points (49 goals, 52 assists) in 65 games played for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. He currently has 31 goals and 37 assists for 68 points for Sarnia and is a +14. The Islanders, like every other team in the NHL, could certainly benefit from having another scoring winger added to their line-up.
So why do I say that the Islanders shouldn't look to drop in the Eastern Conference standings?
This edition of the prospect report brings me to take a second look at two of the Islanders best defensive prospects currently not in the Islanders system. Scott Mayfield and Andrei Pedan are both still involved in their college and junior seasons, and both are still impressing.
Scott Mayfield just recently finished the regular season for Denver University and is currently preparing for the first round of the conference playoffs. He finished the regular season playing in 35 games and scoring 3 goals to go with 8 assist. He also was able to maintain his +4 rating that he had the last time we heard from him. I was recently able to watch him play on the CBS college sports network and I was impressed. He wasn’t overly flashy but was a solid reliable defenseman, which is something the Islanders desperately need. (Photo Cerdit/Twitter.com @scottmayfield2)
Rick Nash won't be donning an Islanders jersey tomorrow night; the Islanders didn't get a first round pick for Evgeni Nabokov and/or P.A. Parenteau; Al Montoya will still be on the bench to back up the Islanders number one goaltender; and the defensive play of Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina and Steve Staios will still be seen for the rest of the season.
Staios, despite popular reports from a fake twitter account, was not dealt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 6th round draft pick.
BUT Garth Snow did manage to rid himself of the putrid play of Brian Rolston and the defensive relapses of Mike Mottau. Both were sent packing to the Boston Bruins for a couple of prospects; Yanick Riendeau and Marc Cantin.
When you ask someone 'who is your favorite player?' you may get responses of such Sidney Crosby, Marian Gaborik, Evgeni Malkin, or even John Tavares on the Islanders front. If you ask my lovely wife the same question....
It truly boggles my mind how someone that has a great mind for the game and knows her hockey would find such a admiration for a 4th line player that doesn’t exactly do things that chicks dig.. like hit home-runs or score 40 goals.
For reasons unknown, she has a true affinity towards him, so much in fact that she made up a shirt that stated simply 'Bring Konopka Back!' and subsequently wore the shirt on Monday to his first game back on the Island as an Ottawa Senator.
Watching the Islanders recently I have noticed that they truly need a BIG defenseman on their blue line for the future. That led me to check in on some recently drafted defenseman by the Islanders that could fill that void in a few years. Scott Mayfield and Andrei Pedan were both taken in this past summer’s draft and both happen to have the size and skill needed to fill this void.
Scott Mayfield was taken in the 2nd round this past June and there is good reason why. The 6',4” defenseman is known for his offensive ability. Currently playing at Denver University, Mayfield has two goals and two assists while maintaining a +4 this season through 21 games. One of the knacks on him when he was drafted was that he has the size and skating ability to be a top 4 d-man in the NHL but needed to learn to use his size more effectively. Denver unfortunately doesn’t keep a hits stat like the NHL and that is something I would like to see to see if his physical game has improved. Denver is known for having a great coaching staff that is able to work with players on specific skill sets; this should work in Mayfield’s favor and hopefully get him to be more physical and use his size to his advantage.
Ryan Strome displayed that he has the hands, the vision and the speed to compete at the highest level of hockey when he put on a show at the Islanders rookie scrimmage this past summer. He was making plays everywhere he was on the ice and then finished the game with an unbelievable shootout goal in the skills competition on Islanders goaltender, Anders Nilsson.
This move still makes my jaw drop when I watch it. Granted, will he ever be able to pull something off like this in a real game? Highly unlikely, especially if he doesn't want to be jumped by the opposing goalie and all of his teammates. But it just goes to show how much skill this kid really has.
Strome is currently participating in the World Juniors tournament for Team Canada to add on to his impressive season with the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL. In 24 games with the Ice Dogs, Strome has 16 goals, 17 assists and 33 points along with a +11 rating and 34 PIMs. He had 106 points in 65 games played last year with the Ice Dogs and appears to be on pace for another great season.
Ryan Strome is an 18-year old out of Mississauga, Ontario that many Islanders fans were unfamiliar with until the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 6'1, 183 pound center was selected by the New York Islanders with the fifth overall pick, igniting a fan base to a new level of excitement on draft day.
That's because Strome is a gifted center with great vision and superb play-making ability. He also has some of the craziest hands, as evident by his goal that he scored on Islanders goalie prospect, Anders Nilsson in the rookie scrimmage over the summer.
Currently playing for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL, Strome has five goals and four assists in only seven games played since be...