UPDATE -- The Flyers have signed both Austrian left winger Michael Raffi as well as 20-year-old QMJHL defenseman Maxin Lamarche.
In a statement on Raffi, who lit up international play for Austria:
“Both (Director of Player Personnel) Dave Brown and myself as well as (European Scout) Ilkka (Sinisalo) saw him at the World Championships and he’s a good player,” said Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor. “You noticed him over there. He’s got skill. He thinks the game. He’s a versatile guy and can do a lot of different things.”
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.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Maxime Talbot was bestowed a great honor this week when it was announced that his number 25 jersey was going to be retired by his former major junior hockey club, the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
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.
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.
The rebuild is only four years old, and although I use the word, "only," I understand how long that it has actually been for the loyal fans who continue to come out and support this team, waiting for them to finally return to glory. But the fact of the matter is that these things take time - a lot of time.
The St. Louis Blues are a prime example. They have only made the playoffs once since the lock out and are now finally poised to make a serious run for the Stanley Cup for the first time since Chris Pronger was on the team. President John Davidson has been building them through the draft while signing veteran free agents, much like what the Islanders have done. And the free agents they have signed haven't exactly been guys in their prime, such as Paul Kariya, Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner. They also had trouble scoring goals for a long time as well. But finally, things are starting to fall into place and they are on the brink of becoming a power house hockey team in the Western Conference.
The Isles, much like the Blues, are still building toward that stature. But one thing is for certain; the Islanders farm team next season is going to play a major role in the rebuild.
The newest QMJHL franchise of Blainville-Boisbriand revealed its name and colours this week. Going for a classic black-and-white scheme, they opted for the name Armada, an "evocative name suggesting strength, cohesion, union, dynamism and the blending of forces."
Apparently the Armada was also a Spanish fleet involved in a failed attempt to overthrow Elizabeth I of England in the early 17th century. It also refers to a small village in Michigan, a band formed by Jeff Martin of The Tea Party, the Czech military (hey, that's actually pretty cool), a Nissan car model, and my favourite: