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New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: The Outsiders

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Well we only had room for 25, see. You guys are in the waiting room to the waiting room.

Yeah, but he got into an NHL game.
Yeah, but he got into an NHL game.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 NHL Entry Draft is coming up June 24-25 in Buffalo, which means the New York Islanders will add to -- and potentially subtract from, you never know -- their stable of good young players in whom we invest much hope and expectation.

But before that stable changes it's time to again rank, and prepare to argue over and say goodbye to, the young players they currently have in the system. This is the beginning of our periodic "Top 25 Under 25" ranking, a chance to review the Isles' prospects and young pros in a sport that increasingly relies on youth.

We ask ourselves to rank each player under 25 -- including those who are already established NHLers -- to get a sense of the Isles pipeline: the longshot prospects, the ones on the cusp, and the youngest players on the NHL roster.

In theory, the ranking criteria is about who is a better player right now. In practice, most of us vote with a mix of what a player can contribute right now (e.g. Could Mathew Barzal make the NHL roster in the fall?) and the potential impact they have in the future (e.g. A player like Johan Sundstrom, though an active pro and qualified by the Isles last summer, gets penalized because he's unlikely to be back in the NHL).

Before we get to the Top 25, however, here's a look at who didn't quite make the cut. Bad news: three players from last June's draft are on this outsider list. Good news: They're the 5th, 6th and 7th rounders -- expected longshots anyway -- and last June's top four picks are still highly regarded a  year later.

Most of the following players received at least one vote from our panel. None of them received enough to crack the top 25. Select panelist comments on a few of them follow below:

  • Kyle Burroughs
  • Taylor Cammarata
  • Viktor Crus Rydberg
  • Petter Hansson
  • Ross Johnston
  • Loic Leduc
  • Ryan Pilon
  • Kyle Schempp
  • Andong Song
  • Johan Sundstrom

A few of our panelists chimed in even on the outsiders. Here's a sampling of rationales:

Kyle Burroughs

David King (CanadianIslesLifer):

Burroughs is my sleeper candidate. Burroughs has always played a physical game "with an edge." He was always a bit undersized for a Dman, but never shied away from "dropping the gloves." He will defend his teammates, either with a fight or a hit. Burroughs can at times, also be a bit of a dirty player.

Though Burrough's shot isn't above average, he does make good plays, has good positional awareness and can skate at the pro-level.

A 7th round pick, Burroughs was the Islanders last selection in the 2013 draft. Since drafted, Burroughs has grown from 5'11, 182 pounds to 6'0, 203 pounds.

Keith Quinn:

A small D man who seems to agitate and punch some faces. There always appears to be room for guys like this, but usually they're 3rd/4th line forwards.

Johan Sundstrom

Sundstrom supposedly attracted the interest of the Maple Leafs this spring, though he is still Isles property at least until they decide not to qualify him again in June.

King:

A 2nd round pick (50th overall) in 2011, Sundstrom was never projected to be a top 6 forward. But he was an intriguing prospect nonetheless, with a realistic chance to make the NHL.

A defensive right-shooting forward, Sundstrom can play all three forward positions, and chip in a bit offensively. His career was sidelined by successive concussions. Though Sundstrom had a solid rebound year in Sweden (17 goals, 19 assists for 36 pts. in 51 games with a +21), I don't expect to see him make his way back to North America, let alone to the Islanders.

MikB:

I just miss the guy. Wish he would come back.

Les (HockeyGoalieEh):

Johan Sundstrom played exceedingly well in Sweden both in the playoffs and in the regular season. He has been underwhelming to this point in his career, but this may be a sign that it's turning around. This may seem a bit high at this point, but along with Pelech he's the last guy that looks like he'll ever be able to contribute at the NHL level.

Keith:

Nope.

Loic Leduc

King:

Leduc certainly has the size and plays physical; however, those attributes were much more valued a generation ago. If he can improve his all around game speed to the NHL level, as well as his gap control and defensive awareness, he may someday develop into a 6th, 7th or 8th Dman at the NHL level.

Keith:

GTFO

Ed. note: This was Keith's judgment on most of the outsiders.

Kyle Schempp

Chris McNally:

One of those guys who does all the little things. He's not a big scorer but does excel at special teams play. Schempp has a long road ahead of him.

King (23):

Could eventually pan out as a depth forward. I didn't rank Schempp in the top 25 simply because I thought there are others ahead of him.

MikB (24):

I just wanted to write "Kyle Schempp Hockey." :crosses item from bucket list:

Keith (23):

Had decent college numbers and is a guy. Seems like a Cizikas type if Cizikas was worse and liked trucks and hunting.

Petter Hansson

King:

A real long shot prospect. I don't expect him to last with the organization.

Keith:

What he lacks in notoriety, he makes up with unnecessary consonants.

Kyle Schempp

King:

Could eventually pan out as a depth forward. I didn't rank Schempp in the top 25 simply because I thought there are others ahead of him.

Viktor Crus Rydberg

Les:

Crus-rydberg hasn't been impressive this far and my including him in the top 25 is strictly based on his athletic potential. He's only 21 and he was one of the more athletic players in the combine when tested. Maybe he can carve out a niche roll somewhere down the line, but he needs to learn how to play on a North American rink to do so. He probably doesn't turn into anything at all.

King:

I don't expect to see Crus Rydberg in an NHL uniform, let alone an Islanders uniform.

Ryan Pilon

Pilon quit hockey in the fall and at this point he hasn't looked back. If he changes his mind, his rights remain with the Isles for now.

King:

Had Pilon actually played last season, he would have ranked somewhere around Vande Sompel, Wotherspoon and Toews. If just one of the above four pans out, it will be great for the Islanders. Hope to see Pilon get his hockey career back on track in the near future.

Keith:

I hold out hope for only one 25U25 iteration and then a player moves to "dead to me" status. This one had a ton of potential, size, lineage, and boxcars. Shame he lost his heart for the game.

Garik16:

Protest Vote: Everyone below Pilon on my top 25 is not worth talking about. At all. They're worse assets than a retired player.

Next Up: The Top 25. They're Not Retired Yet!

If you're familiar with the Islanders' youth properties then you recognize this means a big slate of goalies made the cut. That doesn't mean we think they're surefire NHLers by any means; it just means...well the list thins out at the end.

But we'll get started on the rest tomorrow.