Kyle Okposo's 100th Assist: Another small milestone for homegrown New York Islanders

A blend of imports and homegrown, shifting each year. - Bruce Bennett

It's been a long time, but the Islanders are finally drafting and keeping talent again.

John Tavares passed the 100-point milestone oh, a good 129 points or so ago.

Frans Nielsen hit it 78 points ago -- excluding shootout conversions, which don't count as they only exist in the laboratory.

Blake Comeau hit the mark, then disappeared with a scratch and a waive.

Josh Bailey reached the mark last season, but took nearly 300 career games to get there.

Radek Martinek hit it just before his aborted sojourn to Columbus, and now he's back to add a little more like last night's big goal.

And the 24-year-old who assisted on Martinek's game-winner last night reached the 100-point milestone during his injury-truncated 2010-11 season. But last night's assist put him in a new century company: Kyle Okposo is just the 49th player to collect 100 assists in an Islanders uniform. (He just tied Bryan Berard at 100.)

The above names are all Islanders-drafted players who have scored their first 100 NHL points while wearing the Isles uniform. Just a few seasons ago, it had been a long while since the club had any who fit the description. But the Milbury draft-and-burn years are over. Now they have a few -- Okposo's 100th career assist pushed him to 170 points -- and you can look at the prospect pipeline and dream that more are on the way.

Technically, next in line are defensemen Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic, two partners who came from starkly different development paths but are both 43 points away from 100.

But it's not hard to look ahead and think forward prospects Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson or Nino Niederreiter might lap them.

The top of the Islanders all-time scoring leaderboard runs 13 men deep with homegrown players who notched their first 100 NHL points -- and many, many more -- wearing the Orange and Blue. (Pierre Turgeon, with 340 regular season points in the uniform, is the highest non-Isles draftee on the list.)

with Isles GP G A Pts Rank
Tavares 266 98 131 229 t-28th
Nielsen 342 56 122 178 42nd
Okposo 294 70 100 170 t-46th
Bailey 304 48 76 124 64th
Martinek 456 22 82 104 76th
MacDonald 207 11 46 57 t-110th
Hamonic 158 9 48 57 t-110th

Once upon a time, homegrown players were kept and cultivated to build a dynasty -- with just a few sold off for key parts to secure that dynasty. Later, in the dark ages, they were routinely ridiculed and tossed away for spare parts or temporary fixes, leaving a cupboard bare and with little hope.

Today, there are enough pieces in the system to start thinking big again. We don't know what the club will do with them, whether they'll make the right calls on them, how many will be superseded by younger superiors, nor how many will be Comeau'd or remain just plain enigmatic and short of their potential. (Okposo turns 25 next month. His identity as a player is starting to harden.)

But for once, the club has kept its homegrown pieces again. It's collected enough of them to make the future quite interesting and -- dare we say it -- even promising. Internal competition is on the horizon. Not all 100-point men will survive. That's a lost luxury no longer.

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