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New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Parker Wotherspoon, young and promising at #12

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The Tri-City defenseman has top four potential and he's showing it at an early age as the youngest to ever play for the Sound Tigers.

Tri-City cruiser
Tri-City cruiser
Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

It's easy to get a little too excited about an uncertainty who happens to have done good things at an early age. In prospect watching, "achieving things at an earlier age" is one of the variables that can indicate bigger things ahead when you're comparing kids from different teams in different leagues at different (and early) points in their development.

Parker Wotherspoon fits the description, impressing in juniors and even getting a quite rare AHL ATO stint with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the end of the season, when he became the youngest Sound Tiger ever. Once there, he appeared in six regular season games and two playoff games, including special teams. At age 18. Then they inked him to a three-year Entry Level Contract.

Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson said this, among other things in the Connecticut Post coverage of his debut:

"I thought he was confident," Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson said. "He was poised with the puck. He made really good puck decisions.

"He had really good battle. His hockey IQ: He was ready to play. He understood where to be on the ice."

He skates well. He jumps in the play well. Oh, and he defends well. We're excited about him, enough to collectively land the 2015 fourth-round pick at #12 on our Top 25 Islanders Under 25 countdown, which is territory generally reserved for existing pros at first-round picks.

How We Voted

King (CIL) Keith Mike B. McNally Garik Dominik Leboff Les
14 13 13
15 10
14 16 12

David King (CanadianIslesLifer):

When you watch Parker Wotherspoon, you notice him. He's a fast skater who can skate the puck out of the D zone or through the Neutral zone. In the O-zone, he can set up plays, or chip in a goal occasionally himself.

His PIMs are a concern (78 PIMs in 71 games in 2015-16), though they're down from his previous two seasons in the WHL (93 PIMs in 72 games in 2014-15 & 74 PIMs in 62 games in 2013-14).

Wotherspoon has the potential to be a top 4, offensive LD who is sound defensively. Still just 18 years of age, both his size (6'0, 171 pounds) and his game should continue to improve. Out of the four LD puck movers (Vande Sompel, Toews and Pilon being the other three) the Islanders currently have in their prospect pool, Wotherspoon has the highest ceiling.

Mike B.:

The kid can skate, which seems to be the direction that defenses are moving. His age and the depth of the Isles' defensive pool will let him develop at his own pace. I like his ceiling and the thought that in a few years he can lead rushes and create mismatches; kind of an evolutionary FMIV.

Garik16:

Wotherspoon is really underrated by Isles prospect people - The kid is super young (He's still 18), had a very solid WHL season, both in points and by scouts, and was liked enough by the Isles that they sent him to Bridgeport for an ATO, despite him not being eligible for Bridgeport next year.

That hasn't happened...basically ever before - Wotherspoon was the youngest player in Sound Tiger history. Keep a big eye on him next year.

McNally:

I've always thought Spoon was the coolest nickname ever, so obviously an Islander I can call Spoon would make my Top 15.

He's barely old enough to buy scratch-offs and already has donned a Sound Tigers jersey. Great last season in the WHL. Kid could be a player and has the time to develop.

Les (HockeyGoalieEh):

Parker Wotherspoon improved greatly this past year on a Tri-City team that wasn't very good. He received his NHL contract and reported to Bridgeport where he managed his first professional point in six games. He'll need to watch the PIM's if he wants to advance to the next level.

Keith:

I was legitimately excited that a kid this young got the call for an ATO. Has some great numbers on a pretty poor team.

Previously in the Top 25 Under 25