New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Swedish winger John Persson at #20

Whatever happens, there's no taking this away. - Bruce Bennett

Not Johan nor Johnas, but John.

John Persson's second pro season did not go as planned, as injuries limited him to 46 games on the last-place Bridgeport Sound Tigers. But it ended on a personal high note: His first NHL goal five games into a 10-game NHL debut.

Persson was among the army recalls during the final month when half the New York Islanders lineup was injured. That left an impression, as quoted in Michael Fornabaio's Bridgeport season wrap:

For me, going up was a huge pump. I got to see what to expect up there.. But overall, it was a tough season.

One thing that remains from his draft day billing and is elaborated on below: His skating likely needs to improve for him to rise above the peers who are also competing for depth forward roles. It's tempting for Islanders fans to just wish all prospects would go to the magical skating school John Tavares went to early in his pro career. Of course, then we remember John Tavares is John Tavares, and other various doses of reality follow.

How we ranked Persson, whose average rank (he's the first guy on our list to appear on all of our ballots) placed him 20th on our Spring 2014 Top 25 Islanders Under 25::

CIL Keith Mike B. Mark Mike L. Chris Dom
24 23 17 21 20 24 19

And how we spoke of him:

Keith:

Big, tough, kind of slow. Has some work to do on his mobility, but has the frame and hands for scoring and face punching.

Mike B.:

One hopes that he gets a good look at bottom six work next season. It's been fun watching Matt Martin run over fools, but he was often brutal this year. Persson's possession numbers aren't so hot but he had awful goaltending behind him as well. Martin's possession #s were worse but a .924 sv% while he was on the ice masked a lot of that.

Chris:

I never had high hopes for Persson as an NHLer, but I thought he took a step back at Bridgeport this past season.

While his goal production stayed about the same, his overall offensive production slipped a little. Once he got to the Island I wasn't really impressed either.

Seems to lack the offense for the NHL and didn't seem to be above average at any of the other facets of the game either. Career AHLer in my eyes.

CIL:

I'm less bullish on Persson than I was a few years ago. Foot-speed (and health) are serious issues. His skating should have improved by now if he is to ever make the show. Otherwise, his game is exciting to watch, physical, gutsy, etc. However when I ask myself if Persson's game will translate to the NHL, my answer is probably not, maybe as a 4th liner but he still needs to get faster.

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