David Ullstrom and Niklas Hjalmarsson come together to talk politics.
As we hit #11 on our list, all but one of the remaining players on our Top 25 Islanders Under 25 -- poll taken in May 2012 -- have NHL experience. David Ullstrom is one who would have much more NHL experience if not for an untimely concussion just as he was hitting his stride in the first month of his NHL career. (He discussed that concussion -- "three weeks of pounding headaches" -- in that Hockey Sverige story linked last month.)
Ullström was actually one of two Islanders Swedes to debut on Nov. 21 in Pittsburgh out of respect for Sidney Crosby: Anders Nilsson also got his first NHL start (he'd mopped up previously) in the forgettable 5-0 loss. Ullström stuck around and impressed with his speed, forechecking tenacity and willingness to take the puck directly to the net (something, it must be noted, that stood in contrast to the player he replaced, the waived Blake Comeau).
That's not to say Ullström is already better than Comeau, who is 26; rather, Comeau's is vaguely the slot in the depth rotation Ullström is slated to fill. Ullström is 23 (as of April) and already had pro seasons in Sweden and AHL Bridgeport before this year. So it's fair to be disappointed if he doesn't win an NHL job out of camp in 2012-13.
How We Voted
Ullström started hot in Bridgeport, earned the call up and produced a little (4 goals, 4 assists) in 29 games with the Islanders. He took one of those steps you hope to see prospects take -- at his age, a step he needed to take -- so he's moved up from 19 to 11 on our 25U25 list:
Panelists: CanadianIslesLifer making a return appearance, as well as most of the authors at LHH.
Note: For those LHH readers who sent their own selections in, JPinVA has them summarized in this FanPost. That one will be fun to measure against our panelists' results.
You can see which other prospects just missed our top 25 in this preview post.
- At #25 was 2011 pick John Persson
- #24 saw another Swede from 2011, Johan Sundstrom
- At #23, the irritant known as Justin DiBenedetto
- #22: Kirill Petrov, with an asterisk
- #21: Brenden Kichton, Western late bloomer
- #20: Anders Lee, loophole guy?
- #19: Big Scott Mayfield
- #18: Rhett Rakshani, Queen of Funk
- #17: Aaron Ness, Mini-Me Rising
- #16: Anders Nilsson, Towering Thor
- #15: Kirill Kabanov, now a Proven Winner(TM)
- #14: Nino Niederreiter, historic rookie year
- #13: Calvin de Haan, please don't break
- #12: Brock Nelson hits the pro scene
- Our September 2011 25U25 Poll Results
Disclaimer You'll See with Each 25U25 Post
To reflect the variety of ways you can place value on prospects with uncertain futures, we brought a range of philosophies to this poll, which ranks all Islanders (prospect or pro) under age 25: Some voters valued present talent/maturity more, some valued future potential more. All are averaged with the intent of capturing a moment in time in the evolution of the Islanders prospect pipeline.