With over a point per game two seasons running, there is nothing to dislike about 2011 5th-round pick Brenden Kichton other than a slightly undersized frame and an untimely broken jaw that robbed him of a chance to make an impact in the WHL playoffs.
Otherwise, the Spokane Chiefs' leading scorer -- from the blueline -- was a savvy overage pick for the Islanders last summer, when they selected him after he put up 81 points (23 of them goals, 10 on the powerplay) in 64 games. In 2011-12 he again put up over a point per game, with 74 points (8 powerplay goals) in 71 games.
Kichton won't turn 20 until June 18, so he could technically return for another season of juniors or be signed and assigned to the AHL. An intriguing case with good skating and offensive instincts, he lands at #21 on our May poll for the top 25 Islanders under age 25.
So he took the test, though we don't know if he said poem or gun.
How We Voted
Note: For those LHH readers who sent their own selections in, JPinVA has them summarized in this FanPost. That one will be fun to measure against our panelists' results.
Panelists: CanadianIslesLifer making a return appearance, as well as most of the authors at LHH.
Obviously his just missing my own top 25 vote hurt his result a little bit in our pooled ranking. I have no proper rationale for that, other than everyone in the 20-25+ range has some positive attributes along with real or imagined knocks.
For me, I'm assuming the PP opportunities tha helped him get points in the WHL won't necessarily be there for him if he makes the NHL -- but who knows? The Spokane defensemen who have come before him like former Isles pick Jared Spurgeon and top Senators pick Jared Cowan have moved on to the NHL just fine. I gave some weight to his untimely injury [nasty image of it on this page] which could set back training this summer and ruled out an AHL ATO once the WHL playoffs were done but shouldn't hurt his long-range impact.
Until he gets into the pro pipeline he sits behind several other Isles D prospects, but maybe once he gets there he erases any lingering doubts that stem purely from him not being drafted the first time he was eligible.
Oddly Kichton is listed in many places as a lefty shot, but you can see from multiple images that he's a righty stick, which actually makes him a little more interesting in the Isles' left-heavy D prospect pool. He was invited to Red Wings camp a couple of seasons ago when he broke his hand. If he pays off, he'll be one of those bonus late picks you need to advance a rebuild.
For some of these 25U25 overviews, we will feature the words of an anonymous scout or pundit on the player in question who wishes to be heard but prefers not to have his real name associated with a site or opinion such as this.
For Kichton, we turned to "Donald Strawberry" for an inside look:
"Nice kid. Love to see a Western boy get another look after being passed over in the draft. But let me tell you something, what's with this half as many penalty minutes as points? Sounds kind of Euro if you ask me. I see a kid come out of the W, I expect him to be tough and physical and pile up penalties. So i don't know about this so-called 'point per game' business.
"Nice kid though. Good Western Canadian boy."
Disclaimers and Links You'll See with Each 25U25 Post
You can see which other prospects just missed our top 25 in this preview post. Others:
- At #25 was 2011 pick John Persson
- #24 saw another Swede from 2011, Johan Sundstrom
- At #23, the irritant known as Justin DiBenedetto
- #22: Kirill Petrov, with an asterisk
As you'll see with players in this 20-25 range, there's enough difference of opinion -- and uncertainty -- that some of them made ballots and some didn't.
To reflect the variety of ways you can place value on prospects with uncertain futures, we brought a range of philosophies to this: Some voters valued present talent/maturity more, some valued future potential more. All are averaged with the intent of capturing a moment in time in the evolution of the Islanders prospect pipeline.