Corey Pronman, a writer for ESPN Insider who specializes in NHL prospects, released his mid-season rankings and four New York Islanders are featured.
The rankings are composed of players currently signed with an NHL team who are outside of the NHL (Less than 25 NHL games in 2015-16, less than 50 NHL games in their career and not currently on an NHL roster) . Three Isles were ranked in the top 50 players — Matthew Barzal (6th), Anthony Beauvillier (26th) and Michael Dal Colle (45th). He also made a separate list of his top-10 goalie prospects and Ilya Sorokin came in at number four.
Now, we’re not going to go into too much detail about what Pronman said about the four players, because ESPN Insider is a paid service and we feel it is worth the price of admission to read Pronman and Craig Custance. However, Islanders fans will be happy to know that he still has faith in Michael Dal Colle turning it around.
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Dal Colle was recently traded in the OHL from the Oshawa Generals to the Kingston Frontenacs and has since caught fire. He’s scored 10 points in his first four games with the Frontenacs, after scoring at less than a point per game pace in his previous 30 games with Oshawa (25 P, 30 GP).
Hopefully the change of scenery is all the young forward needed, because it’s been a rough year for him.
Before the slow start in the OHL, he started with a lackluster Islanders camp, which is not abnormal for a player his age. Then after playing in the OHL for most of the season, he attended Hockey Canada’s World Junior Championship camps where he failed to make the cut. The absence from the under-20 tournament was a large blow to the 19-year-old’s stock, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s more about coverage than development.
Dal Colle isn’t the only Isles prospect making noise in the hockey world though, here are some other notable players:
Matthew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL – 29 GP, 12 G, 35 A – Pronman has been very high on Barzal in the past (Had him 6th in 2015 draft rankings) and it appears he still feels strongly about his abilities. Barzal came into the World Junior Championships as Canada’s 13th forward, but after being used as a replacement for Brayden Point in the first game, he was used in a more significant role. In the WHL, he’s third in points per game and has three goals and one assist in four games since returning from the World Juniors.
Anthony Beauvillier, Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL – 23 GP, 19 G, 24 A – Beauvillier wasn’t particularly impressive at the World Junior Championships (One goal and no assists in five games), but he also didn’t get to play very much. In the QMJHL however, he ranks third in points per game so far this season and has two goals in two games since returning from the World Juniors. He was not in the lineup for the Cataractes’ last games.
Ilya Sorokin, CSKA Moscow, KHL – 21 GP, 0.956 Save Percent – A couple of weeks back, we wrote about how Sorokin is leading the KHL in save percent, he still does. It’s becoming an increasingly impressive season and people around the league, like Pronman, have taken notice.
Ryan Pulock, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, AHL – 36 GP, 6 G, 11 A – After Johnny Boychuk went down, Adam Pelech was called up. After Travis Hamonic went down shortly after, Scott Mayfield was called up. This has left many to wonder why Pulock wasn’t called up and if there’s any concern in his development. He had a slow December in which he only tallied two points in 11 games, but overall it seems he still has some kinks to work out on the defensive side of his game:
Linus Soderstrom, Vita Hasten HC, HockeyAllsvenskan – 12 GP, 0.927 Save Percent – Soderstrom was named the top goalie in the World Juniors, largely due to a 46-save shutout against the American team in the round robin. While that is great news, Pronman notes that he has played so few games that it’s hard to get a true read on his talent level:
Soderstrom has yet to play a game since returning from the World Juniors, although he is in the lineup for today’s game. It’s unclear whether he will start or not.
Joshua Ho-Sang, Niagara IceDogs, OHL – 37 GP, 13 G, 38A – Everyone who has seen him play raves about his skill. He’s 10th in OHL scoring this season leads the next player on his team by nine points. He’s done everything he can at the level he’s playing and we’re excited to see him play at a professional level – AHL or NHL – next season. Recently, he was also featured on Sportsnet’s series “The Next One”.
Parker Wotherspoon, Tri-City Americans, WHL – 41 GP, 8 G, 29 A – Wotherspoon has been a pleasant surprise this season. After scoring at a rate of 0.58 points per game last season, he is at 0.90 points per game in 2015-16. That ranks him 9th in the WHL among defensemen.
“If his birthday was less than one month later, his points per game this season would rank him 4th among draft eligible defensemen in the entire CHL”
One thing to note is that he was a late-birthday player, which could be one reason for him having more growth than other players.
Eligibility in the NHL draft is determined by whether or not a player’s 18th birthday was on or before September 15th of the draft year. Wotherspoon’s birthday is August 24, 1997, so of the players that were available in the 2015 draft, he was one of the youngest.
This likely isn’t the only reason but just consider that if his birthday was less than one month later, his points per game this season would rank him 4th among draft eligible defensemen in the entire CHL. Not bad for a fourth-round pick.
Mitchell Vande Sompel, Oshawa Generals, OHL – 21 GP, 2 G, 14 A – Vande Sompel, who was drafted the round before Wotherspoon, has failed to match his production from last season. He has played only played 21 games thus far and is currently serving a six-game suspension for a hit on Kingston Frontenacs forward Connor McGlynn. It’s tough to get a read in so few games, but his numbers just aren’t as strong in a season in which the Islanders were no doubt hoping for him to excel.
Considering the current depth of the team’s roster, Islanders fans have a lot to get excited about. We’ll be attending some OHL games in person before the end of the season in hopes of seeing some Islanders prospects and we’ll be sure to update you when we do.