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New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Versatile Mitchell Vande Sompel at #13

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The fleet-footed defenseman went a little under the radar on a struggling Oshawa squad.

Already looks like a good use of a 3rd-round pick.
Already looks like a good use of a 3rd-round pick.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

What Mitchell Vande Sompel lacks in size he boasts in all-zone hockey intelligence. He has to. He's been used as both a forward and a defenseman for an OHL team (Oshawa) that loaded up for an OHL and Memorial Cup championship in 2014-15 but only squeaked into the playoffs in 2015-16 .

But the allure here is how he can distribute the puck and join the rush from the blueline as an outstanding, agile skater. To make it as an NHL defenseman he'll surely have to add a little proverbial "man strength" and eventually adapt to the forwards he'd face in the NHL. But in recent seasons we've seen more and more defenseman break the stereotype that comes with that mold and become valuable NHLers.

It's still just one year after the draft for the 2015 third-round pick (82nd overall), but so far Vande Sompel's shown there's reason to hope he can pull it off.

How We Voted

King (CIL) Keith Mike B. McNally Garik Dominik Leboff Les
13 16 12
17 11
15 15 10

David King (CanadianIslesLifer):

Vande Sompel can play both forward and defense, although Oshawa has deployed him mostly on defense this year. He's a smart player who relies on his skating and quick decisions with the puck.

Somewhat on the small side, if Vande Sompel pans out at the NHL level, it will be as a second pairing offensive LD, who can quarterback a power play.

Les (HockeyGoalieEh):

He had a phenomenal season last year and took a large step back this previous season. It's hard to dock him for that as the Generals were horrid this past season and defensemen pick up their points through assists over goals. He seems similar to another late round defensemen that the Islanders foolishly let go in Jared Spurgeon. Hopefully he doesn't go that same route.

Garik16:

Vande Sompel's numbers dropped this year, but in large part that's because he apparently played entirely on D this year (he played some forward the year prior). Still a very solid prospect, who was disputedly one of the best OHL defensemen.

McNally:

Smallish, Vande Sompel is a good puck mover on the blue line. He still has some to learn in the defensive zone though. I'd rather root for 'the little guy' than be overly optimistic about his NHL future. That's why Vande Sompel is down here at 17 for now, but he does have the ability to be better than a couple d-men I ranked ahead of him.

Keith:

Really intriguing prospect who has played D/F and done pretty well at both. Can probably make a name for himself somewhere given that. Really down year for his team (see Dal Colle), hopefully takes another step next season.

Mike B.:

MVS is a puck-mover, though undersized. And maybe a plainswalker. Oh jiminy I think that was cough syrup on my ice cream. Are we still talking about hockey players? Keep your eye on Luch Sanipass, the completely imaginary Scots-born Canadian wing who went second overall in the 2021 draft. Narf!

Previously on the Spring '16 25U25