Prospect Report 5/15/12: Islanders Top Prospects #5-1
The countdown of the Islanders top 15 prospects not playing in the AHL or NHL continues on as we have reached the top 5. If you missed either of the other two parts of the countdown, well numbers 10-6 can be found here and numbers 15-11 can be found here. Without further ado here is the top 5.
#5 Andrey Pedan – Defenseman, Guelph Storm (OHL) 6’-4” 205lbs
Pedan just finished his second season with the Guelph Storm of the OHL and it was another successful season for the young defenseman from Russia. Andrey played in 63 games this season finishing with 40 points (10 goals and 30 assists). He also played in 6 games during the OHL playoffs where the Storm were eliminated in the first round. (Photo Credit: GuelphStorm.com)
Pedan is a big physical defenseman with some offensive upside. He plays the game with a gritty edge and is still sound in his own zone. This is the type of defenseman that the Islanders are missing, to compare him to a current Islander, think Travis Hamonic with a little more size. This kid has the potential to be a top pair player for the Islanders. I would expect him to start the season in Bridgeport this year and possibly be ready for a late season call up to the big club.
#4 Kirill Kabanov – Forward, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) 6’-2” 199lbs
Kirill has been bounced around the CHL during his junior years but this past season he found a home in Shawinigan and exceled. Playing in 50 games this season, Kabanov scored 55 points (21 goals, 34 assists) to go along with 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) in 11 playoff games. Both of these are career highs for Kirill. (Photo Credit: Flickr/lavantage)
When Kirill was drafted in the 3rd round during the 2010 draft he was considered a boom or bust pick. A kid that had first round talent but fell to the third round because he was believed to have attitude issues. Since being drafted by the Islanders Kirill hasn’t had a single attitude issue and has done nothing but excel on the ice. After being bounced around the past 3 years in junior’s I believe that Kabanov is ready to move onto Bridgeport. He is expected to start the season there next year so baring any problems this offseason we should see him there next year.
#3 Brock Nelson – Forward, University of North Dakota/Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NCAA/AHL) 6’-3” 205lbs
Nelson finished his sophomore season this past year at the University of North Dakota and after which he decided to join the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Playing in 42 games for North Dakota, Brock scored 47 points (28 goals, 19 assists) earning his team’s MVP award. He was able to join Bridgeport for the final 4 games of their regular season but was unable to register a point. (Photo Credit: Flickr/Sapierson)
Brock is big forward that can move quickly all over the ice, combine this with his hard shot and you got a mixture needed for a solid future 2nd or 3rd line center. He has good size that he uses to his advantage in his own end to win important battles for the puck. Nelson seemed brunt out at the end of last season from a long NCAA season and then trying to make the jump to professional hockey so don’t let his numbers in the last few games fool you. I expect Nelson to spend the season in Bridgeport where he will get the instruction needed to excel in the NHL. Brock will be the big two-way forward all Islanders fans want once he is fully developed in the next few years. He is a major piece of this Islanders rebuild.
#2 Andres Lee – Forward, University of Notre Dame (NCAA) 6’-3” 218lbs
Andres just finished his sophomore season playing at Notre Dame and had a successful year. Playing in 40 games, Lee scored 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists). His 17 goals were good enough to lead his team and the 34 points put him second on the team. In 84 career games at Notre Dame, Lee has scored a total of 78 points (41 goals, 37 assists). (Photo Credit: Marcus Snowden)
Lee is another big forward that is strong on the puck and able to work in the dirty areas. He uses his big frame to power through checks and gets the puck to the net. He is also very responsible in his own end of the ice which makes him a good asset on the penalty kill. Lee will be a big bodied power forward that is usable in all areas of the ice. He has stated that he will return to Notre Dame next fall for his junior season. The 6th round pick from 2009 will be able to develop and work on his game for another season before joining the Islanders. I for one was drooling at the thought of him turning pro at the end of this past season but more time in college won’t hurt the young man.
#1 Ryan Strome – Forward, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL) 6’-1” 183lbs
Ryan Strome is without a doubt in my mind the Islanders top prospect. Taken in the draft last summer with the #5 overall pick Strome has all the skill needed to develop into a top forward in this league. In his 3rd season with the Ice Dogs, Strome played in 46 games and scored 68 points (30 goals, 38 assist). He also played in 20 playoff games with the team where he scored another 23 points (7 goals, 16 assist). Playing in a total of 138 regular season games in his Ice Dog career, Strome has totaled 187 points. (Photo Credit: Flickr/Mandelux12)
Ryan is a very talented center that could create an amazing 1-2 punch with John Tavares long term. He is difficult to move off the puck and has an amazing set of hands that creates magic when the puck is on his stick. His great vision also helps him become a great set up man. Strome will definitely get to play in at least 9 games at the start of next season so the Islanders can see where his development is at. If the 9 games go well he will be with the Islanders for the rest of the season and if not it is not out of the question that he could return to Niagara for one more season. Regardless of where he plays next season he will be a player to watch.
Well I thank you for reading my take on the Islanders top 15 prospects and stay tuned to the checking line Islanders edition all summer long to get any news about the Islanders. As always feel free to comment below.
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