Kukla's Korner Hockey
by William Morrison on 09/07/11 at 02:53 PM ET
Yesterday, Hockey’s Future named Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Strome to the top of the NY Islanders prospect list. Nino and Strome are very talented forward prospects and, barring some unforeseen circumstance, will be bright spots among the other young, talented forwards on the Islanders for many, many years to come. As stated many times on this blog, I fully expect Nino to make the team out of training camp. I expect Strome to be with the Islanders full-time at the start of the 2012-2013 season.
Travis Hamonic is currently listed third on the list and will be with the team full-time this year. It is still a coin toss at this point whether Calvin de Haan will be with the Islanders this season. I think the Isles brass has their mind made up on whether or not de Haan will play in the NHL this season, but they aren’t going to reveal their decision until after camp. If the Islanders sign a veteran defenseman such as Bryan McCabe, this will almost guarantee de Haan at least one more season in the minors. De Haan has a very bright future on the blueline for the Islanders, but they don’t want to rush him-especially if they don’t need to.
Leading the NCAA prospects is Brock Nelson, a forward from North Dakota. At this point in his career, Nelson seems a bit raw and underdeveloped, but expect him to expand on his 21 point freshman season at UND. Once Nelson puts on some weight and hones his skills for one or two more seasons in college, expect him to turn pro. Anders Lee, a sophomore at Notre Dame, who moved down three spots on this list, is a little bit underrated in my opinion. Lee has the body to play in the NHL right now and is willing to do anything to get himself in front of the net and will not hesitate to battle for the puck.
Ty Wishart, who I expect will be with the team full-time this season, is another player who will not be on the prospect list for long. Wishart should be rated a little higher on the list at this point in his career. Wishart has a chance to have a breakout season as part of the Islanders young defense corps.
Kirill Petrov’s talent is certainly worthy of being much higher than 15th on this list and I think the only reason he is ranked this low is because of past contract disputes. Hopefully the Islanders can eventually bring Petrov to North America and keep him on Long Island long-term. If Petrov reaches his ceiling, he is going to be a really good winger in the NHL.
There are no real surprises in Hockey Future’s new rankings. One dark horse who I believe will have a strong season and has the potential to rocket up these rankings is Justin DiBenedetto. DiBenedetto had 19 goals last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL and is likely to expand on that number this season.
What do you guys think of this list? Who do you think is rated too high and who is underrated?
The Islanders Informer
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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