As the Islanders’ coaches, scouts and management continue to judge players and make decisions during this intriguing NHL training camp, keep it here at Eyes on Isles as we take a look at individuals who need to make or brake the team. Whether it be prospects looking for their first chance or veterans trying to stick with the team, there are a lot of Islanders players who will be facing battles for spots.
Today let’s look at Kirill Petrov.
The Russian winger was touted as a top ten pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, but fell down to the third round on draft day. This was likely because there were concerns he would stay in the KHL with his team, Ak Bars Kazan. The Islanders felt like it was a risk worth taking and nabbed him 73rd overall.
More than seven years later, Petrov still has not played a game in the NHL.
He spent the past eight seasons playing pro in the KHL with Ak Bars Kazan and HC Ugra, never signing an entry-level contract with the Islanders.
That was, until this offseason, when he signed a one-year entry level contract with the Islanders.
But is he good enough to make the NHL? He is 25 years old now, and has good size and decent speed. But what has prevented him from breaking out in the KHL? His downside is not making good decisions in the offensive zone, which has limited his offensive potential. He also has some trouble in the defensive zone. However, he is very good in the neutral zone and makes the most out of everything he does. Maybe his combination of size and speed will translate to more success in the NHL.
He has a lot of other Islanders players standing in his way of a spot on the team, however. There could have been a spot available for him about a month ago, but since then, GM Garth Snow re-signed Brock Nelson and acquired both Steve Bernier and Taylor Beck. Petrov may have more skill than Bernier and Beck, but if it comes down to a heads-or-tails decision between them, coach Jack Capuano will probably not pick Petrov. Bernier and Beck already have NHL experience and are role-players. Not playing them too much wouldn’t hurt. However, if Petrov barely makes the team, he will hardly have any ice time. Petrov needs more North American ice hockey experience, and therefore will probably be better if he starts in Bridgeport. If he blows people away in preseason action, then yes, he should make the team, but the Islanders should not rush him yet.