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August 21, 2013
Top 10 Prospects 2013
New York Islanders

by Corey Pronman

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Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

New York Islanders Top 10 Prospects

1. Ryan Strome, Center
2. Ryan Pulock, Defense
3. Griffin Reinhart, Defense
4. Brock Nelson, Center
5. Calvin de Haan, Defense
6. Matt Donovan, Defense
7. Ville Pokka, Defense
8. Kirill Kabanov, Right Wing
9. Johan Sundstron, Center
10. Scott Mayfield, Defense

Organizational Ranking: 2nd

System Overview

The Islanders' system remains one of the NHL's best. Ryan Strome is one of the top forward prospects outside of the NHL, and Brock Nelson looks like he could be a very good two-way center. The strength of New York’s system, however, comes on defense. Ryan Pulock and Griffin Reinhart are the spearheads, while Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan, Ville Pokka, Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech, Andrei Pedan, and Robbie Russo are all above-average prospects. The Islanders top-end potential after Strome, Pulock, and Reinhart may not be elite (though it is still very good), but their depth is extremely strong.

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1. Ryan Strome, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 1st
Date of birth: 07/11/1993
Age: 20
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 192
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 53 GP, 34 G, 94 P (Niagara, OHL)
Acquired: First round, fifth overall in 2011 by New York Islanders

Year in Review: Strome was one of the top players in the OHL, and he was a quality player towards the end of the season in a brief AHL stint.

The Good: Strome dominated the OHL season, and he was one of the top players in the entire CHL. Strome bleeds puck possession ability and offensive upside. He has great hands and high-end vision. Per one NHL scout, his ability to control the puck and make plays on the power play could make him an asset on the man advantage at the top level right away. He is not a blazing skater, as he has about average speed, but he gets solid power from his legs with a good first step and fine balance. He has continued to work on his game off the puck, as his defense and faceoffs are now at a sufficient level, and he works pretty hard on the ice. His strength has also made good strides.

The Bad: There is not a whole lot to nitpick about Strome. He does not have a glaring weakness, so just continuing to add onto his strength and defensive value will help him make the NHL jump.

Projection: He could be a top line forward, and maybe even a potential star.

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2. Ryan Pulock, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 07/11/1993
Age: 18
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 211
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 61 GP, 14 G, 45 P (Brandon, WHL)
Acquired: First round, 15th overall in 2013 by New York Islanders

Year in Review: While Pulock saw a notable decline in his point production this year, it can be somewhat attributed to playing on a poor team, as he actually co-led the Wheat Kings in scoring with just 45 points.

The Good: Pulock is a very gifted defenseman with a lot of offensive tools. He is a plus puck mover who always makes good decisions, exhibits cool under pressure, and flashes quality skill. His shot is elite, as he can absolutely hammer bombs from the point, and he can be a nightmare to cover on the power play. Pulock controls his gaps well, and he sticks to his checks. He is also tough on his assignments, and he displays good strength.

The Bad: Pulock's skating is roughly average, but it is not a true weakness, although he can have the odd defensive lapse.

Projection: He could be a top pairing defenseman.

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3. Griffin Reinhart, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 6th
Date of birth: 01/24/1994
Age: 19
Height: 6'4''
Weight: 202
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 59 GP, 8 G, 29 P (Edmonton, WHL)
Acquired: First round, fourth overall in 2012 by New York Islanders

Year in Review: Reinhart did not put up gaudy point totals (in part due to how Edmonton used him), but he was a high quality defensive player.

The Good: The first thing that stands out with Reinhart is his hockey sense, especially in the defensive end. NHL sources describe it anywhere from high-end to elite, although I lean more towards the former. He possesses simply fantastic poise and calmness in his game. Reinhart makes very good decisions with the puck, as he positions his body and stick well to make stops. He has a long wingspan and quality mobility for a big man, and he has improved over the last year to the point where he can now close gaps well. He knows when to join the attack, and will do it effectively, while maintaining a conservative, in-control defensive style. Reinhart is big and strong, and he projects as a high-end physical player. He also is able to unload all his strength into his shot, which is very hard.

The Bad: Reinhart's offensive upside is questionable. He is not an overly creative or dynamic player with the puck. That is not to say he cannot make plays, as he average with the puck and fine for his size, but he projects as a decent second power play type of player.

Projection: He could be a fringe number two or great number three defenseman.

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4. Brock Nelson, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 3rd
Date of birth: 10/15/1991
Age: 21
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 205
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 66 GP, 25 G, 52 P (Bridgeport, AHL)
Acquired: First round, 30th overall in 2010 by New York Islanders

Year in Review: In his rookie pro season, Nelson was Bridgeport's leading scorer, and he continued his very positive development.

The Good: Nelson is a quality, do-it-all type of forward who could step into the NHL next season. He is a very smart two-way player, with the offensive instincts to flash good creativity and vision. Nelson is also an aware and committed defensive forward who can kill penalties, while playing against good forwards. He has good size, has gained a lot of strength, and projects as a quality physical player at the top level.

The Bad: Nelson does not have a clear issue in his game. His skating, which used to be a weakness, has improved to a pro-average level.

Projection: He could be a good second line center who plays tough minutes.

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5. Calvin de Haan, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 5th
Date of birth: 05/09/1991
Age: 22
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 180
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 3 GP, 0 G, 2 P (Bridgeport, AHL)
Acquired: First round, 12th overall in 2009 by New York Islanders

Year in Review: A dislocated shoulder in the beginning of the season put De Haan on the shelf for the remainder of the campaign.

The Good: De Haan has high-end hockey sense at both ends, and he really stands out with his poise and reads on and off the puck. He is a very effective outlet passer who moves the puck around fine on the power play. He shows the ability to excel as a tough-minutes shutdown defenseman, and he can also put up a fair amount of points.

The Bad: De Haan has improved his physical play, showing better output in his one-on-one battles, but he still needs more strength. De Haan's offensive upside is just average, as well. While he projects as a second power play unit defenseman, he will not be stellar on offense. His health, specifically his shoulder status, continues to be an issue.

Projection: He could be a good second pairing defenseman.

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6. Matt Donovan, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 4th
Date of birth: 05/02/1990
Age: 23
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 205
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 75 GP, 14 G, 48 P (Bridgeport, AHL)
Acquired: Fourth round, 96th overall in 2008 by New York Islanders

Year in Review: Donovan was one of the top scoring defensemen in the AHL in his second pro season. He started off the season with average play, but was good from midseason on.

The Good: Donovan is a talented player with a lot of offensive tools. He has the ability to make really flashy and significant plays, as he has top-end puck skills, good vision, and is also an above-average skater. Donovan moves the puck well, can lead a rush, and can be a good quarterback on the power play.

The Bad: Donovan has been used in tough defensive situations, but he can still have notable defensive lapses. He also has a tendency to take ill-advised penalties.

Projection: He could be a quality second pairing defenseman.

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7. Ville Pokka, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 10th
Date of birth: 06/03/1994
Age: 19
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 198
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 47 GP, 6 G, 12 P (Karpat, SM-Liiga)
Acquired: Second round, 34th overall in 2012 by New York Islanders

Year in Review: Pokka was a quality defenseman for an 18-year-old in Finland's top league, and he played significant minutes in the second half. He suffered a concussion earlier in the year, however.

The Good: Pokka is a tremendously smart defenseman, with the two-way hockey sense to make a lot of plays. He displays significant puck-moving skill, with the creativity and quick decisions to make a lot of good passes. Pokka also has above-average puck skills, and he can make checkers miss effectively. He is an aware defender who makes a lot of stops with his body and stick. He is also a decent physical player.

The Bad: Pokka's skating is still a little rough, especially with his first few steps. He is a tad undersized as well. His positioning off the puck could stand to improve.

Projection: He could be a second pairing defenseman.

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8. Kirill Kabanov, Right Wing
2011-12 Ranking: 2nd
Date of birth: 07/11/1993 `
Age: 21
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 200
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 32 GP, 2 G, 9 P (Bridgeport, AHL)
Acquired: Third round, 65th overall in 2010 by New York Islanders

Year in Review: Kabanov did not have a good season, as he was sidelined by several injuries, and exhibited below-average play when he was in the lineup.

The Good: Kabanov is a highly-skilled player, with top-end puck skills and good raw offensive instincts. He is creative, and he can see the ice at a plus level while making difficult plays with the puck. He skates at an above-average level, with good work ethic and energy. Kabanov has filled out his frame well, and he has upped his physical game into a decent asset.

The Bad: Kabanov struggled with the pro-level pace this season, having to, at times, be quite sheltered at even strength. His defensive game also was a notable issue. It was hard to pinpoint how much of his issues were due to injury or not.

Projection: He could be a top-six forward.

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9. Johan Sundstrom, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 8th
Date of birth: 09/21/1992
Age: 20
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 195
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 59 GP, 11 G, 32 P (Bridgeport, AHL)
Acquired: Second round, 50th overall in 2011 by New York Islanders

Year in Review: Sundstrom was an average AHL player in his rookie year, and went through some typical ups and downs.

The Good: Sundstrom is a skilled, versatile forward. His offensive instincts are significant, as he can flash high-end vision. His puck skills are solid, but he can make defenders miss just by outsmarting them with good angles, fakes, and quick decisions. Sundstrom also is an above-average skater, with a powerful stride. He works hard at both ends, can kill penalties, and plays center or wing well in terms of positional play.

The Bad: Sundstrom needs to keep gaining strength to be able to handle the physicality of the pro level. He also needs to work on faceoffs if he wants to stay at center.

Projection: He could be an average second line forward.

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10. Scott Mayfield, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 7th
Date of birth: 10/14/1992
Age: 20
Height: 6'4''
Weight: 205
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 59 GP, 11 G, 32 P (Bridgeport, AHL)
Acquired: Second round, 34th overall in 2011 by New York Islanders

Year in Review: Mayfield displayed a lot of the same great elements that has made him a desirable prospect in the past few years, but unfortunately, he also displayed the same inconsistencies.

The Good: Mayfield is a huge, strong, physical defenseman, who projects as a true high-end physical player at the pro level. He is very mobile for a big defenseman, and that makes him scary to deal with, because he can close his gaps so quickly, as well as deliver crunching hits. Mayfield excels more in a shutdown role, and he has quality defensive value. He has solid offensive creativity as well.

The Bad: Mayfield's decision making and puck moving still need work. He will have good moments, but he also makes too many bad pinches or reads, as well as has too many overaggressive moments.

Projection: He could be a quality second pairing defenseman, but he does have above-average risk on his projection.

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The Next Five

11. Anders Lee, Center: Lee is a great physical player, as he is a big, strong forward with skill and a big shot. His skating is not the best, however. Lee could be an NHL regular as soon as next season.

12. Taylor Cammarata, Left Wing: Cammarata led the USHL in goals and points this past season. He is an extremely gifted offensive player, but he is also extremely small.

13. Adam Pelech, Defense: Pelech is a top-end defensive thinker who makes a lot of stops, and he also showed a surprising level of offense this year.

14. Andrei Pedan, Defense: Pedan is a big defenseman who skates at an above-average level, and he has offensive ability. He showed significant improvements in his decision making.

15. Alan Quine, Left Wing: Quine was a re-draft after not being signed by Detroit. He is a great skater and puck handler, but his game still has rounding out to do.

The Sleeper: Doyle Somerby, Defense

Somerby played high school hockey during his first post-draft year, which is a good way to stay under the radar. He is a big defenseman who moves well and has above-average skill. His defense still needs work.

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New York Islanders Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2013 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1. John Tavares, Center
2. Ryan Strome, Center
3. Ryan Pulock, Defense
4. Griffin Reinhart, Defense
5. Brock Nelson, Center
6. Calvin de Haan, Defense
7. Matt Donovan, Defense
8. Ville Pokka, Defense
9. Kirill Kabanov, Right Wing
10. Johan Sundstron, Center

Ranking Tavares first was not exactly a tough call. He is a star player in this league, with the potential to put up big numbers as he enters his prime.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (08/14)
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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (08/14)
Next Column >>
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (08/22)
Next Article >>
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (08/22)

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