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New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Scott Mayfield at #16 as age 24 season nears

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The 2011 34th overall pick is another defenseman facing a pivotal year.

Crunch crunch.
Crunch crunch.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Scott Mayfield had a bigger role with AHL Bridgeport this year, and also had a few more NHL appearances. The former came as other teammates got the latter.

Mayfield was the second blueline prospect called up, for a number of internal reasons, but by the end of the season Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech were preferred to him at the NHL level, which is about as you'd have expected it coming into the season. Mayfield ended up appearing in just six NHL games spread between January and April.

The physical side has always been there, going back to his NCAA days. The offensive and puck moving side has always been something he needs to improve to round out his game. He mentioned that in the post-season wrap with Michael Fornabaio of the Connecticut Post:

Personally: "It was a different year. Ever since after Christmas, there was a lot of ups and downs: suspension, being hurt, so going through all that is adversity, missing games for injury. … I was happy with how I played. I grew a lot with a leadership role, which I can bring to the organization."

You’d talked at the start about improving your offensive game: How about that? Carrying the puck a lot more, too…

"Especially after my first call-up, I started really producing more offensively. If you look at the points, I’m sure they’re better, too. It’s something I’ve always got to keep working on. … For me to get to the next level, I’ve got to make sound plays with the puck."

This is the territory of our Top 25 Under 25 countdown where the established but depth-role pros mix with the top prospects who have yet to appear in a game outside of juniors/college/Europe.

There are several interesting rationales to our votes below -- many have to do with concern whether Mayfield can keep up with the NHL game -- but in the rankings he gets bonus points for already being at minimum a very useful AHLer who can fill in on the NHL roster in a pinch.

Maybe that's his ceiling, but it's also why we run this review up to age 25: It's a fun conversation-worthy exercise to track the prospects from draft-day hope to increasingly clear reality as they hit their mid-20s.

With Mayfield's limited NHL viewings yet now significant AHL experience, it's tempting to wonder whether better skating could be the key component he's lacking. That used to be an attribute people thought you either had or you didn't, but we've now seen several examples in the last decade of players demonstrably improving their mobility and footwork.

How We Voted

Most of us were in similar territory on this one, and we'll let Les explain his big outlier vote -- a rationale I personally agree with, but which for me still doesn't put him below some of the other longshots on this list (as reflected in my ranking of 13).

King (CIL) Keith Mike B. McNally Garik Dominik Leboff Les
16 14 21
12 13
13 10 25

Garik:

Mayfield probably isn't going to be an NHLer at this point - just isn't enough mobility to play at the NHL level, and the results have been mediocre at best. And he's going to be 24 this year, no longer young for an NHLer - he's not going to get much better.

Michael Leboff:

Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back.

David King (CanadianIslesLifer):

I have high hopes for Mayfield, given his potential, but my fear is he tops out as a depth Dman. Speed is a necessity to survive at the NHL level, though Mayfield has improved in this capacity, he still appears to struggle against average NHL forwards.

McNally:

I've been rooting for Mayfield for a while, but I think he may have hit his ceiling in terms of what he will be skill-wise. He is physical and plays with a mean streak. Yay! His footwork and speed are non-existent. Boo!

He could be a bottom pair defenseman, but the kind of bottom pair defenseman that you're always looking to upgrade in the offseason. What he is though is a better option for daily scratch than Brian Strait or a 10-day contract to Radek Martinek.

Mike B.:

I've seen Mayfield have some good games. I saw him in college help completely shut down Nick Bjugstad. But it's been slow to translate to the NHL. This is worrisome. He's probably their 10th defenseman.

Keith:

If he had better foot speed, he would probably be already on the big club full time. Has the size, reach, snarl that's missing from the blueline. Great hitter, could use boxing lessons. Blocking lessons really. He should stop getting punched in the face. This is why college is a killer.

Les (HockeyGoalieEh):

People love Scott Mayfield's style of play, but it's a throwback to a bygone era that doesn't work anymore. In his limited sample size this year the only player with worse possession on the team was adam Pelech, but he has the benefit of saying that he possibly played injured and is nearly two years younger.

Perhaps the greatest indictment against his game came against Washington in the playoffs last year in game seven. The Capitals blew him off the ice when they had the benefit of last change and even at the last game ever at Nassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum he had to make a number of diving poke checks. While that looks impressive, that indicates that he's out of position.

Just about the only positive to his play is that he's physical, but that doesn't yield positive or negative results in the win-loss column and he'll be 24 in October. His AHL numbers scream mediocrity as well. He's too slow to ever materialize as an NHL player and the team should move him now to maximize their return.

Could he fetch something in a trade?

Previously on the Spring '16 25U25