Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Anders Nilsson at #15

When facing six pucks at once, scouts say Anders Nilsson excels at identifying which poses the greatest threat.

Where to rank goalies? TSN struggled with that, listing just one (record-breaking Tim Thomas) in the top 25 of their recent Top 50 NHLers list.

The challenge is you're never sure how good they are and their performance (and the numbers we use to try to measure that performance) can fluctuate quarter to quarter and year to year like middle relief pitchers.

All the more mysterious with goalie prospects. But Anders Nilsson has received good reviews and at age 20 had a strong season for Luleå last year (31 GP, 1.92, .918), at the top of their GAA chart and tied for sixth in save percentage. So we can't penalize him (too much, anyway) just because the members of his fraternity are less reliable than a Yugo.

Thus he lands at #15 in the middle of our Top 25 Islanders Under 25 ranking, in a poll taken before camp training camp opened:

Top 25 Under 25 mikb M11 CIL Dom KQ Web
Anders Nilsson
14 18 14 16 14 16

Nilsson had a good first training camp in North America this past month. He now goes down to Bridgeport as part of the Islanders Triangle B trio of goalies in the AHL. And he's quite focused on these shores: Though a clause in his contract allows him to return to Sweden, he's determined to force his way into the conversation here.

Projecting outward, Kevin Poulin and his 10 games of impressive NHL experience last season probably keep him as next in line. But unlike last season, Poulin now has real company.

Unless, of course, NIlsson's (or Poulin's) 2011-12 looks nothing like his 2010-11. Which can happen with goalies. They're crazy like that.


Previous Posts in This Top 25 Islanders Under 25 Series

The Top 25 under 25 is an idea conceived (I think) by Oilers blog Copper & Blue and copied elsewhere, incorporated here by popular demand. We cut it off at players who were under 25 going into this season, soAndrew MacDonald, having just turned 25 this month, barely misses eligibility.

For this first edition, we polled LHH authors Keith, WebBard, mikb, myself, and two particularly prospect-focused LHH regulars, CanadianIslesLifer and MatthewM11. We wanted enough to get a decent number of voters but not so much that we make the first run unwieldy. It is absolutely unscientific but with varied enough votes to get us thinking.

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