A couple of days ago Hockey's Future published their new list of Top 20 prospects in the Islanders system. After reading it, it leaves one to wonder: Has the author actually watched any of these guys this year?
Disclaimer: This is basically an elaborated version of my fanshot on the subject. The opinions expressed in this piece are solely of the author and not of the proprietor of the site.
Just to review who's on the list:
1. Calvin de Haan
2. Jesse Joensuu
3. Travis Hamonic
4. Kirill Petrov
5. Andrew MacDonald
6. Rob Schremp
7. Trevor Smith
8. Jason Gregoire
9. Rhett Rakhshani
10. Aaron Ness
11. Mikko Koskinen
12. Anders Nilsson
13. Corey Trivino
14. Casey Cizikas
15. Justin DiBenedetto
16. Brian Day
17. Matt Donovan
18. Kevin Poulin
19. Dustin Kohn
20. Blake Kessel
"Just Missing Out" - Mark Katic
First let's start with the notable snubs. How did Matt Martin not make this list? Not only has he made an impact at the AHL level for Bridgeport but he's shown that he belongs in the NHL. How is Katic considered a near miss on the list but there's no mention of Martin, whose played in the NHL this season. All Anders Lee did in the USHL was put up 63 points in 52 games, 7th in the league in scoring. He and the Wild's 7th round draft pick Erik Haula will be the steals of the 2009 draft. HV 71's David Ullstrom was once in the Elitserien's top 5 scoring leaders. While an injury derailed his scoring a bit, he still played a key role in HV 71's run to the Elitserien plaoyffs.
Second let's go with Schremp and MacDonald. I think they've both graduated from prospect status at this point, no? Both played extremely well before injury ended their seasons, but if Jack Hillen and John Tavares have graduated from prospect status, shouldn't have these two as well?
Trevor Smith is another story. I am surprised he made the list because it's becoming more and more obvious he's not in the Islander's future plans. The author says of Smith:
With four forwards slated to become unrestricted free agents in July, the Islanders will likely turn to skilled young players such as Smith to fill vacancies on the third and fourth lines.
Does anyone seriously think of the four potential UFA's (Park, Weight, Sim and Jackman) Smith will replace any of them? Smith isn't a checking line, grinder type like Sim or Jackman, isn't adept at PK like Park (I know Park's usefulness on the PK is debatable right now, sue me) and isn't the playmaker or leader Dougie is. Any of these holes Garth is probably going to fix with players other than Smith.
Third let's go with the head scratchers. While Koskinen dropped precipitously due to his injury (From 2nd in the fall to 11th on this list), poor play hasn't affected some of the players on the list. Two of the Isles NCAA prospects, Aaron Ness and Corey Trivino haven't exactly had seasons to write home about, but both are still ranked relatively high, above guys who have had better seasons in Donovan, Poulin and Kessel. Donovan has had a terrific year for University of Denver and the USA WJC team, while Ness has had a poor year for the Gophers and didn't make the cut for the WJC.
While I agree with some of the rankings, such as de Haan at 1, Hamonic at 3, Joensuu high though not necessarily at 2, this list is bizarre. You would think a website with the high reputation of hockeysfuture.com (a site quoted in both the Sound Tigers and Islanders' Media Guides when profiling prospects) would have a more thorough list or editor.
Anyway, go ahead discuss the list and your thoughts on it.