Prospect Report 1/13/12: Defensive Edition

Watching the Islanders recently I have noticed that they truly need a BIG defenseman on their blue line for the future. That led me to check in on some recently drafted defenseman by the Islanders that could fill that void in a few years. Scott Mayfield and Andrei Pedan were both taken in this past summer’s draft and both happen to have the size and skill needed to fill this void.

Scott Mayfield was taken in the 2nd round this past June and there is good reason why. The 6',4” defenseman is known for his offensive ability. Currently playing at Denver University, Mayfield has two goals and two assists while maintaining a +4 this season through 21 games. One of the knacks on him when he was drafted was that he has the size and skating ability to be a top 4 d-man in the NHL but needed to learn to use his size more effectively. Denver unfortunately doesn’t keep a hits stat like the NHL and that is something I would like to see to see if his physical game has improved. Denver is known for having a great coaching staff that is able to work with players on specific skill sets; this should work in Mayfield’s favor and hopefully get him to be more physical and use his size to his advantage.

One sign that could suggest he is becoming more physical is that he is leading Denver in penalty minutes so far this season. It could just be wishful thinking on my part but I would like to imagine most of those minutes are from him laying big hits on opposing players. Defenseman take longer to mature and prepare for the NHL and with Mayfield just in his freshman season at Denver I would expect him to play at least one more season there and then I am sure a season in Bridgeport would be needed. He is a promising prospect that fans can be excited about but don’t hold your breath waiting for him; it could be a few years. But as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.

Andrei Pedan was taken in the 3rd round of the 2011 NHL draft (63rd overall) and, like Mayfield, is a towering figure on the blue line. Also 6’,4”, Pedan is known for his physical game and his skating ability. He is a rare mix of the complete defenseman, strong in his own end, physical and can jump in offensively when needed. Currently playing for the Guelph Storm in the OHL, he has amassed 6 goals and 13 assists in 33 games so far this season. His plus/minus rating isn’t jumping off the page at anyone (currently a -3) but the entire Storm team is struggling in that category, with only 6 players on the plus side. His game seems further along than Mayfield’s which should mean that we should see him sooner in an Islanders uniform. He will finish out this season in Juniors and I am sure he will get a hard look at prospect camp and training camp this summer to judge his development and decide what is best for him. I wouldn’t expect to see him in and Islanders uniform next season because, as I said earlier, defensemen take longer to develop. I do, however, see Pedan as a true stud defenseman for the Islanders once he is fully developed and ready for the NHL.

That will do it for this edition of the Prospect report, as always thanks for reading and feel free to comment and let me know if there is a prospect in the Islanders system that you would like to hear about.

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