With the Islanders not drafting in the top 10 for the first time since two lockouts ago, it's no guarantee that their top pick this summer will automatically be included in our Top 25 Under 25 (25U25 for short) list. But it's high time we update the list regardless.
There are a few reasons we do this 25U25:
- It encompasses more than just prospects, to include young players who are regulars in the NHL or frequent sailors on the ferry from Bridgeport.
- Doing that highlights young players who have really proven themselves at an early stage.
- By age 26, theoretically the prime or beginning of the prime of a healthy player's career, you pretty much know what you have. Before that, there is room for growth.
- Like, what the hell else are we going to do during the summer? Watch baseball?
As with everything that has ever been written about a prospect ever, there is nothing scientific about this. We intentionally poll a cross-section of Islanders fans who pay attention but bring slightly different criteria to this ranking.
While the overall instruction is, "Who is better or more important right now?", each voter has the freedom to bring whatever he wants to the table, including signability, injury concerns, and ultimate ceiling. (For example, Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas are already useful NHLers. Does that mean they rate over Ryan Strome, who hasn't played an NHL game? Probably not.)
The result is an aggregate of impressions, a zeitgeist if you will, reflecting the temperature of how Islanders properties are seen at a given time.
The list has lost some recent graduates, including Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner (and Jesse Joensuu too has reached 25). The ballot includes some players who will be 25 by the start of next season. Basically, for this round we included anyone who has yet to turn 25 by June 2013. Thus Ty Wishart is out (he turned 25 on May 19), while Mikko Koskinen is eligible (though he turns 25 in July).
If you're making your own list at home, feel free to share in comments or save them one by one as we do the rundown over the next month. Essentially we're considering anyone listed on the Isles team and prospects pages who has yet to turn 25. (That means unsigned picks like Mitchell Theoret and Brenden Kichton too, even though their rights are about to be lost if not signed over the next week.)
Our voters included most of the writers/moderators on this site, as well as a returning voter, reader and prospect watcher, CanadianIslesLifer. Today we start with the players who did not make the top 25 cut. For the first time since we started doing this exercise, there was almost unanimity in who the Top 25 are: Only 27 players received top 25 votes, and only three in the top 25 were left off any individual ballots.
At Least Someone Likes You
The two who received votes but did not make the top 25 cut are Kirill Petrov and Mitchell Theoret. [Edit: Mark's ballot also has Robbie Russo, who did not make the top 25.]
Petrov: He's obviously talented and could probably step into an NHL role today, based on how he's used and produces in the KHL. He's not a star, but he's a smart, effective player with some attractive tools. But he's still signed in Russia for next season, and many doubt whether he will ever come over. So several voters punished him for that reason.
I placed him 24th (punishing him for signability, but not ostracizing him all the way), while Mike (ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles) put him at 15th based on production in the KHL. Everyone else left him off. As Keith said: "He's dead to me."
Theoret: A former teammate of Strome's in Niagara, Theoret was traded to Barrie for their playoff run and scored 21 points in 20 games as the Colts pushed London to seven games and lost in the final second of the final. Can Theoret convert his physical presence and the skills he showed in the OHL to the NHL level? That was the idea behind drafting the overager.
He was left off all ballots except Mike B.'s (24th) and CIL's (25th).
Outside of those guys, most of the class of 2012 was left off (too early to tell on most of the guys drafted after the second round), the older prospects in Europe like Justin DiBenedetto, Mark Katic and Koskinen received no votes, while current ELC guys Mike Halmo, Jason Clark, Joey Diamond and Brandon Defazio received no votes. Robbie Russo of Notre Dame also received no votes, though he had a good season in the NCAA and if he improves on that next year, he's likely to get more consideration.
Finally, his rights expired but we left him on the ballot for consideration: Alas, Cody Rosen received no votes either.
Tomorrow: Number 25, as ordained by a bunch of people on the Internet.