In the final 18 nominees in our Top 25 New York Islanders Under 25 countdown, only one of them lacks any pro experience.
Scotty Mayfield, entering at #17, is not that guy.
Mayfield made the decision to take the plunge and leave college after his University of Denver team was eliminated from the NCAA playoffs, so he already has six games of the proverbial "playing with men" on his c.v.
In those six games on an ATO with Bridgeport he registered 10 shots and just one minor penalty, a nice sign after the big man piled up penalties -- many for "checking while big" -- in NCAA competition.
In contrast to the Jared Spurgeons, Aaron Nesses and Calvin de Haans of this rebuild's earliest stages, Mayfield is part of a trend in Islanders draft picks to grab larger defensemen who can play. At 6'4 and over 200 lbs., Mayfield has the size and the snarl.
At the time of his draft in 2011, scouts liked his defense and hockey sense but hoped it would translate into more offense. Two years later there hasn't been a ton of offense, but he did put up 17 points in 39 games for Denver despite not being used in the prominent offensive roles.
We'll see how it all translates to Bridgeport in 2013-14, but to this point our panel placed him right at the edge of 25U25ers who mostly have a lot more pro experience than he does.
How we voted:
A sampling of comments:
One can dream about having the towers of him and Reinhardt anchor the smaller Donovans, Nesses and Pokkas, no?
Mike of FIGs:
Both size and the ability to move the puck up ice and contribute to the score sheet. He should become a decent d-man.
And this isn't a pundit's pedantry, but rather the player in his own words on his ATO before Connecticut Post writer Michael Fornabaio's pen called it a wrap:
"It was really beneficial. … I learned to kind of handle the pro life, the game, how much different it is from college. … The lifestyle’s different. You’re not going to class (it’s a job). Hockey, mostly the speed of the game. It’s two or three steps faster than college."
Here are a couple of assists from this season, via of the excellent ITM Pucks on YouTube:
If tracking prospects is an art mixed with a guessing game hindered by the unpredictable swings of teenagers, at least getting the Isles' prospect to Bridgeport provides some great evaluative fun. We get to turn the lens on Mayfield, Andrey Pedan, and so many others in the AHL in 2013-14.