Another prospect joins the pro system: New York Islanders 2011 draft pick (2nd round, 34th overall) has agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level deal after leaving the University of Denver. Mayfield will join the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League on an amateur tryout contract (ATO) for the rest of this season. His three-year NHL contract will trigger in 2013-14.
Mayfield is 6'4" and over 200 lbs. and was drafted for a mix of defensive acumen and "good skating for a big man." His offensive potential isn't high, though he has those skills and as a 20-year-old sophomore he scored 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) with a plus-8 rating. Over his college career, the St. Louis, Mo., native compiled 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) and 192 penalty minutes in 81 games.
That last figure is actually something that stands out: He was docked for 114 PIM this past season, and considering there is no fighting in NCAA hockey to goose those numbers, it's a figure he'll want to control in the pro ranks.
The move moves another fairly touted -- but no sure thing -- defenseman up the ranks of the Islanders prospect pipeline. However there are on-going issues, or at least uncertainty, with the Denver program that made this move slightly more likely than it was a few weeks ago, before Denver fired long-time coach George Gwozdecky.
As local hockey writer Adrian Dater notes with the Mayfield signing news:
This leaves a gaping hole in the Pioneers’ defense. And right now, the Pioneers have no coach to point to any new recruits who might want to take his place. DU athletic director Peg Bradley-Doppes has declined to speak to our paper or anyone else about the firing of Gwozdecky earlier this week.
In the near term, this adds another new body to the Islanders' AHL team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In the past week they've added top 2011 forward pick Ryan Strome -- who is already notching points -- and fellow big defenseman Andrei Pedan.
Meanwhile, three other defensemen who've long been in the system, Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness and Calvin de Haan, will compete for an NHL job next fall, and the ones who fail to win one will be joined by Mayfield, Pedan and Griffin Reinhart in the fight to be the next wave.