The Islanders wrap up the home slate of the season Tuesday night when the Ottawa Senators come to town. The Islanders will try to improve on their 13-18-9 home record before closing out the regular season on the road for their final three games. The Islanders have played better at home recently (3-0-1) but their failure to take advantage of home ice earlier in the year is a big reason why the Islanders will be watching the playoffs at home next week for the sixth time in their last seven seasons.
Regardless of their unexpected success taking them into the playoffs last year, there were many areas that the Islanders needed to improve coming into the current season. The core of the team was established, but among many other things the defensive corps was a major concern and the departure of captain Mark Streit only made things worse.
The Sound Tigers have gone 5-1-0 in their last 6 games, continuing their up and down trend that has gone on all season long. A lack of identity could be the cause of the inconsistency but there are some bright spots to take note of in Bridgeport.
Prior to the Islanders game against the Carolina Hurricanes last night, defenseman Aaron Ness was recalled for some help on the blueline. It could have been for help, or for a bit of a shake up as well which I think is needed for this team at the moment.
Recently, the New York Islanders have had some good luck when it comes to their prospects. More so than the prospects themselves, in certain regards. See, as their junior or college seasons have ended without huge playoff success, their professional careers have taken off.
The old saying goes as follows: "defense wins championships." The New York Islanders have learned in recent years that they have not had enough defense. No Islanders team has averaged less than three goals against per game since the 2007-2008 season, and if that team had allowed three more goals, it would have been exactly three goals against per game.
The Islanders held there annual prospect scrimmage last week and a few players stood out from the group during the game. The “orange” team was able to come out with the 3-0 win in what was a defensive dominated game.
Scott Mayfield was the prospect that stood out the most during the game. He played well with the puck and physical without it.
With this edition of the prospect report I will continue my count down of the top 15 prospects in the Islanders system from this past season. If haven’t read the first part of the countdown then click here and catch yourself up.
#10 Mikko Koskinen – Goalie, KalPa (Swedish Elite) 6’-6” 202lbs
Mikko is the first and only goaltender to make this list as Kevin Poulin and Andres Nilsson played their season in the AHL. Koskinen spent his season in the Swedish Elite league in order to avoid a three headed goalie monster at Bridgeport. Playing for KalPa this season, Mikko appeared in 25 games posting a GAA of 2.30 and a save percentage of .916. Koskinen also played in 6 games during the opening round of the playoffs in which KalPa was eliminated.
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)