It's June, the draft is coming, that must mean it's Top 25 Under 25 time!
This is our annual (but sometimes semi-annual) exercise to check the temperature, the zeitgeist if you will, around the youngest New York Islanders properties, some of whom are already stars, some of whom we hope will be stars, and some who are just here because we've got to fill out the list and cause irrelevant fights.
Today we show you the rather sizable group who didn't make the Top 25 aggregate but did receive at least one vote for a Top 25 from one of our voters. (Who is on our panel of voters, you ask? As Chris said yesterday: "A bunch of guys who shouldn't be." It's both true and totally meta, since every player on the list shouldn't be ranked wherever they happen to be ranked.)
Anyway, on to the outsiders, the "bastards" who have only one advocate or so, and thus deserve to be characters in a Tom Waits song.
Receiving One Lousy Vote
The majority of the following players received one vote, and usually it was the 25th.
Kyle Burroughs, d, Regina (WHL), Bridgeport (AHL)
Well, except Burroughs. He received two votes: the 25th from yours truly, and an 18th from CanadianIslesLifer, who honestly probably follows Canadian junior hockey more closely than any of our other voters.
A 7th-round pick last summer, Burroughs has already done well for himself by picking up his scoring as he captains the Regina Pats, and earning an AHL ATO where he appeared in nine (scoreless) games for Bridgeport at the end of the 2013-14 season.
Like just about every amateur who arrived on a late-season ATO, he came away with a new appreciation for what it would take to earn a return. He's a right-shooting defenseman, which makes him at least tacitly more interesting than average. He's one who you wouldn't be shocked to see on next year's 25U25 proper.
Robbie Russo, d, Notre Dame (NCAA)
Whatever his challenges on the academic side (more on that below), Russo has progressed decently enough at Notre Dame. But it's now three seasons since his draft year -- a time when you usually have heard at least one and usually two springs of "the Islanders are trying to sign this pick out of college." It's already a logjam in the pipeline at defense even without missing the second half of this season.
Mark D. gave Russo a 23rd-rank hardship vote:
Russo was ruled academically ineligible last season apparently due to one grade. He was on pace for a 30 point season, which would have continued his streak of having more points then the previous season. Bad break for the kid.
Loic Leduc, d, Cape Breton/Rimouski (QMJHL)
As you'll see below, Mike L. (ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles) had a few controversial outlier votes (but his approach was to leave of the Kirills and such "good but unlikely" types). One of them was this delightfully umlauted French name.
After being traded from Cape Breton for Rimouski's playoff run, Leduc received an entry level contract from the Isles this spring. So there's that. You'll see him in the minors next season.
CanadianIslesLifer on Leduc:
Can’t help but think of a young Eric Cairns when you watch Leduc. The size is there, but the talent limited. He could very well pan out as a depth Dman, but if he does, it won’t be before spending several years in the AHL. I don’t see Leduc as a player who’s game would translate well to the larger European rinks, so he will likely be on the Isles farm for the foreseeable future.
Doyle Somerby, d, Boston U. (NCAA)
Aside from having a name befitting a Sherlock Holmes book, Somerby is big and rangy and hey-you-never-know. In receiving one vote, 25th, from Keith, he also gets the best explanation for why our panelist voted for him:
Somerby is my reach pick mostly because of size, where he's playing, and because I'm fed up with Petrov, Russo, goalies and most guys who were sent to the ECHL this season.
Jesse Graham, d, Niagara/Saginaw (OHL
To be clear, we held our poll before Graham's (pretty expected) contract signing was announced. Not that this would affected the votes much, as he received just one vote, 25th, from CIL.
The promise here is that he's excelled even after separating from Dougie Hamilton, so there's that question cleared up a bit. We'll see much more from him next season as he joins a bevy of prospects at the Bridge.
Jason Clark, W, Bridgeport/Stockton (AHL/ECHL)
I won't ever quite understand why the Isles gave Clark an ELC when they did. There was talk this year of molding his raw assets into the kind of bottom-sixer that would be his (only) shot at an NHL future, but the assignments and stats don't bode well.
Mike L. gave him a 24th sympathy vote, and Mark D. weighed in with one of his "not voting for this guy but have to leave my piece" deals:
This is why you don't give contracts to guys who played 35 college games and had 2 points. No reason he shouldn't have spent the last two seasons in college.
Alan Quine, C, Bridgeport/Stockton (AHL/ECHL)
Quine was a draft re-entry last summer after the Red Wings did not sign him, and his path looks similar to most re-drafts. He had some roles, and they moved him around Bridgeport and Stockton to work on them. What can you say? Three years since his first draft, he's still a longshot.
Chris ranked him 25th.
Anders Nilsson, g, Bridgeport/Islanders, Ak-Bars "Trap!" Kazan
As you'll soon see and no doubt already expected, the 25U25 vote did not look kindly upon the goaltenders. Nilsson may have gotten some decent NHL action this season, but ... well it's what he did with it that frightens. It's why he knew to jump at a KHL offer, because an NHL one-way offer certainly wasn't in the cards 19 NHL games this season.
Still, Mike B. -- a goalie himself -- chose this pile on which to throw his 25th bone:
Just wanted to agree with Mark. In fact I had him higher than this at first but I don't have the heart to drop him completely. His World Championships play proves that it's in there, somewhere... was his erratic play here a matter of bad coaching, lack of starts, the B-12 thing? Who knows? So this is my token vote in recognition that he has talent, even if the Isles saw only a bit of it.
Wait, "agree with Mark" -- what did Mark say? Oh, this:
Just wanted to say Mike is insane for rating Nilsson at all.
And it's on.
Kevin Poulin, g, Bridgeport/Islanders
Where is Poulin headed next? Who knows, but another reason the timing for our list is fun here is because RFAs are due qualifying offers this month. Do the Isles even qualify him? Does he take it if they do?
He was sub-.900 with the Isles this year in 28 games, and .910 in 15 games with Bridgeport. Chris ranked him 20th though -- the highest rank any goalie received. (Not like there's much competition.)
Eamon McAdam, g, Penn State (NCAA)
His freshman year on a Penn State team -- which itself was not good, in its first year of Big 10 hockey -- did not go well. Losing out on the #1 job, 4.09, and.882 is no way to go through life, son.
That said, power-ranking maestro Mike L. (ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles) needed to throw some goalie a bone, so McAdam got his 25th-vote bone. It was McAdam's only vote:
OK, so I felt the need to put at least one goalie on the list, but Poulin and Nilsson have sadly not turned out well (I'd like to think it was the injuries). And Koskinen is over 25 now, so the best I could come up with is McAdam. He's really tall so theoretically that should mean he'll fit the net mor.... oh never mind. Sigh!
Mark D. also weighed in on McAdam, though not with a vote:
Wasn't particullarly good in the USHL and isn't particullarly good in college. How we miss Cody Rosen.
Already going Rosen on him? That's even rougher.
The Top 25 Under 25: It's bloodsport, really.
Up Next: The actual Top 25 begins! Thanks everybody for reading, taunting, ranking and generally chiming in.