Yesterday we reached the first full-time Islander on our Top 25 Under 25 list, but we hadn't yet gotten to Scott Mayfield. That's either an indictment of Casey Cizikas, who averaged out to 13th on our list, or (overly optimistic?) praise for Mayfield, who saw a five-game NHL debut with the Islanders during their injury-battered final month of 2013-14.
Since I was the no-fun low voter (again), I'll just say that I do like Mayfield's raw assets and fancy a potential smart reliable D-man with snarl. There is definite value to a guy who can be a pain in the ass to good opponents -- particularly when the player is young and not in the "I could move...or I could just fall back on my reputation" Douglas Murray and Brooks Orpik Tribute phase of his career.
But horse before cart. All of that's still an "if" as to whether it translates at the NHL level, and it doesn't appear that his offensive side will suddenly ramp up.
Since I'm more of a literal voter in these -- I think of what (I believe) a guy could offer the lineup today -- all but the can't-miss prospects usually take a back seat to the working NHLers on my list.
But regardless, a diversity of views and approaches is why we do this thing, and (respectful) debate is what makes it fun. Mayfield ended up at 12 this time; here is how the panel voted:
|CIL||Keith||Mike B.||Mark||Mike L.||Chris||Dom|
And a few comments from the gallery:
He isn't as promising as he seemed in his freshman season of college hockey, where he was getting special teams play and looked good, even against high drafted prospects. Saw him against Nick Bjugstad, for example, and he shut him down.
Everything written about him says he should be a solid D-man. Looking at the potential depth chart of this team though, he'd be a bottom pair guy.
Has "teh size" and "teh gritz". but "teh foot speed" was suspect. Looks to have made progress throughout the year though, and will hopefully continue an upward trajectory.
I can't help but see Mayfield as insurance in case one of Pokka or Pulock busts or becomes a key trade chip. With Hamonic, that's one RD too many. Not that one couldn't play the off-D, but RD are in demand/shorter supply than LD. At least one of the four is likely to be moved to acquire a key piece at some point.
That said, over the years Mayfield has received mixed reviews by scouts, but some, such as those claiming his ceiling is Pronger, were probably reaching even then. He's big, physical, has a mean streak, but Cairns needs to teach him how to box at the NHL level if he is ever to drop the gloves again. I think Mayfield is going to improve his skating, gap control, etc.
Once he's confident in his defense, we likely see him develop a bit of an offensive game. I see Mayfield as a safe bet as a future defensive 3rd pairing D, who after 200-250 games, may develop into a solid number four D who also brings size and physicality.
Up next: The top prospects and the recent NHL debutantes fight it out for how to line up behind Johnny T.