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Top 25 Islanders Under 25: #18 Scott Mayfield, big college-bound defenseman

"Dude! You're kinda big."
"Dude! You're kinda big."

The University of Denver has earned accolades for its bounty of hockey prospects, and the New York Islanders certainly stand to benefit from that.

Rhett Rakshani was a four-year player (and senior captain) before he led Bridgeport in scoring last year, but more exciting may be the NHL future of Matt Donovan, who left Denver late last season and begins his first official pro season in 2011-12.

Could DU freshman Scott Mayfield one day become the best of the trio? That's getting way ahead of ourselves, but the promise that made him an early second-round pick this summer is why he ended up at #18 on our Top 25 Islanders Under 25 poll.

Here's how the votes from our panel of six turned out:

Top 25 Under 25 mikb M11 CIL Dom KQ Web
Scott Mayfield
18 13 10 22 12 24

Wow were we across the spectrum on this one. Part of that is my vague instructions: This wasn't a straight-up "who's better right now" poll, but it wasn't a straight-up "who's the most promising/high ceiling prospect for the future" poll either. Acknowledging that both factors bleed their way into any prospect ranking, this one was meant to create a mix of the two. You might go by "I wouldn't trade anyone straight up for the guys ranked above him" -- but even then, well what are your needs in a trade? The right now, or the hopefully-maybe later?

Anyway, enough of that. Opinions vary because you love the raw profile but it's so early to guess whether it will all pan out.

Mayfield was highly regarded going into the 2011 draft, with a raw mix of size and skill that scouts see as "projectable" into something very nice. Whatever that something is, it will certainly take a few years to develop. He's the type who, even if his offensive side doesn't develop, will still leave an attractive frame and defensive awareness.

What The Scouting Report said about Mayfield before the draft (ranking him 28th) was a pretty typical view:

... Defensively, his 1 on 1 skills are tough to match. Mayfield also plays with an edge in front of the net and in the corners. Offensively, Mayfield improved significantly in his ability to handle the puck and skate it out of his zone. He already possessed a great shot, sharp passing skills and offensive awareness...

Oh, P.S., he's 6'4" and a lot of Isles fans clamor for some better size in their blueline prospect corps.

Previous Posts in This Top 25 Under 25 Series

The Top 25 under 25 is an idea conceived (I think) by Oilers blog Copper & Blue and copied elsewhere, incorporated here by popular demand. We cut it off at players who were under 25 going into this season, soAndrew MacDonald, having just turned 25 this month, barely misses eligibility.

For this first edition, we polled LHH authors Keith, WebBard, mikb, myself, and two particularly prospect-focused LHH regulars, CanadianIslesLifer and MatthewM11. We wanted enough to get a decent number of voters but not so much that we make the first run unwieldy. It is absolutely unscientific but with varied enough votes to get us thinking.