Isles Prospect Check 12/19/2011
Part of the plan for the slow and steady rebuild that General Manager Garth Snow started years ago was to have a talented pool of prospects to develop going forward; some of those prospects would make an impact on the immediate future of the team, while others would eventually follow suit down the line.
Slow and steady.
One of those players that might end up turning into an absolute gem is Anders Lee. Lee was taken in the 6th round by the Islanders in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at 152nd overall. So far in 20 games with Notre Dame, Lee has 12 goals and eight assists for 20 points in 20 games played, placing him second in scoring on the team. He previously put up 44 points in 44 games the year before. The best part about his scoring ability is that he has size to accompany his skill. The 21-year old center weighs in at 6'3 and 218 pounds. If he continues to play as well as he has, he might be a steal of the 2009 draft.
Aaron Ness is another Islanders skater that has carried his collegiate play to the professional level as well. The fast footed defenseman ended the 2011 year with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, dressing for 13 games and putting up four points. But so far this year he has amassed 10 points (two goals and eight assists) in 29 games with Bridgeport in his first full professional season. He only put up 17, 12 and 14 points each year with the University of Minnesota prior to joining the Isles farm team affiliate. Ness is only 5'10 and 170 pounds, but the kid can skate and has great vision on the ice. He may not be the most intimidating defenseman when you look at him, but so far he has displayed the ability to compete at the pro level, as well as produce.
Mikko Koskinen, who was basically the third goaltender in the rotation for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this year behind Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson, has kicked off to a great start with KalPa Kuopio of SM-liiga in Sweden. He signed a contract with KalPa since he was having difficulty earning starts between the pipes since he was fighting for playing time in a crowded crease. So far Koskinen has appeared in eight games with his new team and has only allowed 10 goals against. His GAA is 1.24 to accompany his 6-1-1 record and his save percentage is an impressive .949. There isn't anyone around that is 100 percent sure as to what will happen for the Islanders goaltenders next year with Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya as impending free agents and, well, Rick DiPietro's injury history. Therefore it is very important to see that Koskinen hasn't taken a step back in his development despite the fact that he was having trouble finding a consecutive set of starts for the Sound Tigers.
These are just three of some of the Islanders prospects that have been off to great starts this year. Stay tuned for future posts that will cover more of the Isles top prospects as the season rolls along.