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New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Alan Quine, playoff hero at #11

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Be honest, where would you have ranked him in March?

That moment though.
That moment though.
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

I don't know where Alan Quine would have landed on this list if he hadn't received a surprise callup for the Islanders' final two regular season games. And if he hadn't stayed in the lineup for the start of the playoffs. And then stayed there for 10 of their 11 playoff games. And scored a memorable double-overtime goal to put the Isles in the driver's seat against the Panthers. (Man, remember April? That was fun.).

So yes, Quine's stock has changed, and very recently.

He's still an older "prospect," having turned 23 in February. He's still someone whose potential is as a dependable bottom-six type -- even though he spent time next to John Tavares in playoff games, but that's another topic. And given his top role with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where he'd have been the leading scorer but for an injury that capped his season at 56 games, he'd probably still be somewhere in this territory of our Top 25 Under 25.

What his playoff run showed is that all that work refining his game in the AHL might translate to NHL usefulness. The challenge for forwards who show offensive talent as juniors but don't have that kind of offensive talent is to demonstrate they can do the proverbial "little things" that make NHL coaches trust them. (Quine was a 3rd round pick by Detroit in 2011 before re-entering the draft in 2013, when the Isles took him in the 6th.)

Quine was doing those things -- the "hard on the puck" and "200-foot game" stuff -- that earned Capuano's trust. Capuano, during the playoffs:

"You watch video and you see his habits. You see his speed and tenacity he brings. I think anyone who plays with (Kyle Okposo) and (John Tavares) is going to be able to hunt pucks down. I like that he's a reserved guy, he's a confident guy. He's not nervous and he's playing like he should be. I like his speed and deception."

He doesn't have an NHL job locked up by any means for next season. But as the Isles appear set to lose one bottom-six forward to unrestricted free agency, he's made the conversation more interesting. (As long as that conversation doesn't include, you know, more time on the first line.)

How We Voted

Here's how each of our panelists ranked him on our Top 25 Islanders Under 25, plus a few thoughts on why.

King (CIL) Keith Mike B. McNally Garik Dominik Leboff Les
10 10 11
10 8
9 10 11

McNally:

All this time I thought Detroit knew prospects. Pssh.

I'm not sure what it says about this list that Alan Quine checks into the Top 10. He looked good in this year's playoffs until Capuano thought it wise to put him on the first line. He can score, he has shown that in the AHL. He can also take faceoffs, plus he is responsible in his own end.

But with much more talented forwards in the system, I feel like Quine is going to need to focus more on the latter two areas of his game and find a spot amongst the Bottom 4 forwards if he wants to stay in the NHL. If not, we may be looking at the next version of Keith Aucoin.

Garik16:

Quine came from nowhere to be productive in the playoffs - and his AHL scoring numbers aren't bad. He should get a shot next year at some playing time, although first line minutes were always silly. While his upside isn't too high, being at the NHL level puts him ahead of all but the super good prospects who aren't yet pros.

David King (CanadianIslesLifer):

Quine has three years experience playing pro at the AHL level. His point totals to date have been respectable. Speed has always been key to Quine's game, but it wasn't until the last season that Quine actually became a good defensive centre. Quine is also known for his work in the faceoff circle.

I was impressed with Quine in this year's playoffs, but I'd hesitate to pencil him into the top 12 until he proves himself over an extended period of time. Quine projects as a bottom pairing, defensive centre with speed, who can occasionally spare someone in the top 9. His development from a long shot prospect to a legit NHL candidate has been impressive.

Keith:

Not sure if we had him anywhere in past 25U25 incarnations, but his playoff performance was a revelation. Can he carry it through to an 82 game grind? Looked like a very complete player in limited viewing, but put up points in the AHL.

Les (HockeyGoalieEh):

Alan Quine led the Sound Tigers in points before coming to the Islanders right before the playoffs and getting some burn. He did decently, even scoring an overtime winner, though the overall numbers weren't spectacular. He's a fringe NHL. player at the moment and would be ideal at the left wing should Matt Martin depart, one that would come in cheap and save the team a million or two on the cap.

That's pretty good value for a sixth round pick.

Previously in the Top 25 Under 25