With the first pre-season game a little over a month away, it’s time to take a look at the New York Islanders’ Top 25 prospects under the age of 25. Anyone under the age of 25 by August 1st, 2018, was eligible, which gave us a list of 37 prospects to narrow down to the top 25.
The ranking criteria tends to be a mix of “what are you doing right now?” vs. “what are you going to be in the future?” meaning that some prospects who have already made the NHL may be ranked much lower than those who have a high ceiling and high-end skill set. This year, the community ranking added a new dimension to that, as we got to add in what the LHH community thinks of these players with a wide range of perspectives.
Of those on the 2016 list eligible for the 2018 iteration, Mathew Barzal (ranked #2 in 2016), Ryan Pulock (#3), Anthony Beauvillier (#7), and Adam Pelech (#10) have all carved out regular NHL roles with the Islanders in some capacity.
In addition, the Isles have added some truly high-end talent to the prospect pool for the first time since Barzal in 2015, and that’s a good sign for the organization going forward.
However, for all the promising prospects on this list, there are a whole lot of questionable draft picks with iffy chances of panning out. While we won’t be doing full write-ups on these guys, you can read some of the comments left about the honorable mentions and see the full list of outsiders in our Top 25.
From David King (CanadianIslesLife):
Mirageas is one of several fleet footed LD prospects in the Islanders pipeline. Skating isn't an issue. He can transition the puck up the ice with quick outlet passes on the fly or skate the puck out of the zone himself. He's 6'1 so size shouldn't be an issue in the modern NHL. Scouting reports claim his defense has improved. He has the tools to play the pro-game. What remains to be seen is whether Mirageas can process and react to the game at the NHL level.
Solid offense could see him turn into another Tanner Fritz where he can come in and contribute for cheap.
[...] while Durandeau is a skilled top 6 forward in the Q, at the pro-level he's more likely to pan out on the Justin DiBenedetto level. I expect he'll do his time in the AHL and be a benefit to the development of the prospects who do pan out, but I don't expect him to be an NHLer. Durandeau gets Honourable Mention from me, because in most years he would rank somewhere between 18-25.
Johnston was rated highly by some who took part in the community vote, due to the fact that he's going to be here for the next 4 years and has shown that he can make a physical impact on NHL games. However, those seem to be just about the only positives for Johnston, who is what he is and has the lowest ceiling of anyone else on this list. But considering that the majority of the prospects on this list likely never make the NHL, Johnston has already debuted and earned a long-term commitment from the team, giving him an honorable mention.
My final dart finds an intriguing sleeper who came on strong in the second half of his freshman year at B.U. Cockerill came through the US development program that has been producing a good crop of talent each year. He has the luxury of time.
While being an outsider on this list doesn’t mean we’ll never see these players in the NHL, the guys we think have a better shot at being regular impact contributors are up next. #25 of our Top 25 debuts tomorrow, and kicks off the next few weeks of the Top 25 under 25.