Prospect Report 1/26/12: Defensive Edition #2

On this edition of the prospect report, I will look at two lesser known Islanders defensive prospects drafted in the 2011 entry draft. American Robbie Russo and Canadian Brenden Kichton are both still fairly young and undeveloped prospects that under the right instruction could turn into regular NHL players.

Brenden Kichton was drafted in 5th round (127th overall) in 2011 and is currently playing in the WHL for the Spokane Chiefs. The 6’-0” defenseman is mostly known for his offensive abilities rather than his in zone abilities. So far this season he is putting up impressive numbers with 9 goals and 39 assists in 45 games. This is nothing new for Kichton who had a similar season last year where he scored 81 points (23 goals and 58 assist) in 64 games. His play in his own zone isn’t a downfall as he is considered solid; he doesn’t have imposing size but is still reliable in his own end.

There is no doubt that Kichton can put points on the board and for any defenseman to be able to put up as many as him it is impressive. He really needs to work on play in his own end if he wants to have a chance to play at the NHL level. It is still projected that he can be a power-play quarterback such as Mark Streit with good first pass ability and the skills to join the rush. Kichton is currently in his 4th season in the WHL and it doesn’t seem like there is much more he can learn at that level. The best hope for Kichton is that he impresses at prospect camp this summer and gets a shot at Bridgeport next season. He is an interesting prospect with the right coaching he could become a decent NHLer in the future.

Robbie Russo was drafted in the 4th round (95th overall) in 2011 and is currently playing at the University Of Notre Dame. Similar to Kichton, he is known for his offensive abilities; he currently has 12 points (3 goals and 9 assists) in 26 games so far this season. He is only a freshman at Notre Dame so his playing time is most likely limited until he gets some more experience at the college level. He is known for having well on ice awareness of the play and getting the puck up the ice quickly and efficiently. It is also said that Russo is a strong skater, this will work in his favor the older he gets.

Since this is Russo’s first season at Notre Dame, I would expect him to stay there for another season or two so that he can truly develop and learn the game. His projection is similar to Kichton in that if he is coached correctly and works hard he has the ability to be a future power play quarterback that is reliable in his own end.

These two prospects are very similar and play the same way. Being taken in the same draft seems like Garth only expects one to develop into an NHLer. It would be nice to see both blossom into regular defenseman but it will most likely be a long shot.

As always thanks for reading and feel free to comment below and let me know if there is any prospect in the Islanders system that you would like me to look at.

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