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Top 25 Islanders Under 25: Kirill Kabanov's latest detour at #23

One of those wild cards who, if he works out, would be a serious bonus to the rebuild.

Much yet to see. A lot still to like.
Much yet to see. A lot still to like.
Bruce Bennett

Kirill Kabanov is a highly skilled wing.

Kirill Kabanov suffered a serious injury in the third game of his first pro season that essentially torched his rookie year in Bridgeport and laid yet another obstacle on his road to the NHL.

That's essentially what his conflicted ranking in our Top 25 Islanders Under 25 comes down to. Most of us still see promising potential in the 20-year-old. All of us wonder what kind of roadblock he'll run into next.

How the panel ranked him:

CIL KQ MikB Mark David MikeFIG Chris Dom
22 18 19 19 25 22 18 22

A sampling of comments:

David Hans und Frans:

Enigma. Call me back when something's actually happened here. Makes the list over Kirill Petrov by virtue of being under contract.

GFY Quinn:

Injury and some underwhelming play had Kirill drop in my rankings. I still have some hope for him.

Mike, FIGmeister:

This guy is a bit puzzling. His numbers at Bridgeport tell me he still has a ways to go.

No player welcomes injury. But given Kabanov's well-documented and probably overblown rocky history, the skate slice to his forearm in the first week of the AHL season was the last thing he needed as he sought to establish himself.

An exciting debut weekend undermined, Kabanov returned months later but a far cry from the form he brought into training camp. He finished with just nine points (2-7) in 32 games, and was scratched multiple times down the stretch. The layoff had to hurt, but the responsibility still falls with him.

At age 20, with only the first year of his ELC burned and with ample talent in his arsenal, I can write off this season as another unfortunate hurdle to clear. Sound Tigers coach Scott Pellerin was right to hold his feet to the fire when he returned from injury, and Kabanov would be wise to put this year behind him and recommit this summer to advancing his career.

If he can do that, he won't be stuck in the 20s of our countdown next time around.