Editorials

New York Islanders Fourth of July Spotlight: The Americans

By Brian Dollard
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New York Islanders employ a few Americans who have made impacts representing their national team, as well as high school, college and juniors hockey.

In celebration of Independence Day, I thought it would be only right to showcase the American players on the New York Islanders. There are currently four American born roster players, and some notable Americans in the system.

Nick Leddy

Defensemen Nick Leddy was raised in Eden Prairie, MN. As many hockey fans know, Minnesota is the hockey state of America, and Leddy’s history is illustrious. He was named Mr. Hockey in 2008-09 which is awarded to the best high school hockey player in Minnesota. That season he posted 45 points in 31 games for Eden Prairie high school.

He played one season at the University of Minnesota in 2009-10 before debuting in the AHL the following year.

Leddy went on to represent the USA at the World Junior’s Championship in 2011, contributing three assists in six games played. The American team went on to win the bronze medal in the tournament.

Brock Nelson

Forward Brock Nelson has a family history in USA Hockey.

His uncle, Dave Christian was a member of the 1980 US Olympic team winning a gold medal. Brock’s grandfather, Bill Christian, and Brock’s great uncle, Roger Christian both played for the 1960 gold medal winning US Olympic team.

Finally another great uncle of Brock’s, Gordon Christian, won a silver medal for Team USA in the 1956 Olympics.

Nelson grew up in Warroad, MN and played for his high school team, before committing to the University of North Dakota.

He was also a member of the bronze medal winning US team at the World Junior’s Championship in 2011. He contributed an assist in five games during that tournament. After two seasons at the University of North Dakota, Brock made the jump to the AHL.

He most recently represented USA in the 2014 World Championship scoring seven points in eight games played. He returned for the 2015 World Championship posting ten points in ten games. After the Islanders elimination from the 2016 playoffs, Brock again joined Team USA for six games, posting four points.

Anders Lee

Big winger Anders Lee is from Edina, MN. Anders played his high school hockey at St. Thomas Academy for one season, before playing his final high school years at Edina High School.

He also played baseball and football in high school. He was selected as the Gatorade Minnesota Football Player of the Year in 2008, and was a finalist for the Mr. Football title, which goes to the best high school football player in Minnesota.

Unsurprisingly, Lee was also a finalist for Mr. Hockey that year, losing to future teammate Nick Leddy. Lee was considered the best hockey prospect in Minnesota, and had the chance to play both football and hockey for University of Minnesota. He committed to hockey at Notre Dame.

In three seasons with Notre Dame, Lee had 116 points in 125 games, scoring 20 goals or more in two of those seasons.

Lee represented the USA at the 2015 World Championship with Islanders teammate Brock Nelson. He had five points in ten games during the tournament.

New York Islanders

Shane Prince

Shane Prince, who recently signed an extension with the Islanders, is from Rochester, NY. Prince played in the Syracuse Stars minor hockey program before electing to forego college and join the OHL.

He was selected in the OHL Draft by the Kitchener Rangers at age 15, making him the youngest player in the league. He then spent three seasons with the Ottawa 67’s. He amassed 220 points in his OHL career.

He participated in the CHL’s Top Prospects game in 2011.

Prince returned “home” to the Binghamton Senators of the AHL, located two and a half hours from his hometown. He played three seasons for the Baby Sens from 2012 to 2015, when he made his NHL debut with Ottawa. In his three AHL seasons he scored 18, 21, and 28 goals increasing his production each year.

Joining his first American NHL team with the New York Islanders, Shane Prince has not yet represented his home country in international play.

In the System

New York Islanders 2016 first round draft pick, Kieffer Bellows is a native of Edina, MN. He played junior hockey in the USHL for the Sioux Falls Stampede. He scored 33 goals and was named USHL Rookie of the Year.

He most recently played in the US National Team Development Program. Last season with the US U18 league, he scored 32 points in 23 games.

Bellows, represented USA at the 2016 World Juniors U18 tournament. He helped the team to a bronze medal with 8 points in 7 games.

Ironically enough, his father, former NHL wing Brian Bellows, played for Canada in international play.

Eamon McAdam, goaltender from Perkasie, PA was drafted by the Islanders in the third round of 2013.

He played three seasons in the USHL with a 30-18-3 record in his USHL career.

McAdam has played the last three seasons at Penn State, going 13-8-1 last season with a 2.98 GAA and a .913 save percentage.

Stephon Williams, another goaltender, calls Fairbanks, AK home. He was drafted by the Islanders in the fourth round of 2013.

He spent three seasons in the USHL with a record of 30-22-10. Williams then played for Minnesota State University for three years. His final year he went 25-6-3 with a 1.65 GAA and a .925 save percentage.

In 2015-16, Williams played 29 games in the AHL for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He was 15-13-1, with a 2.77 GAA and .899 save percentage.

Next: Shane Prince Gets Extension

The New York Islanders have some great American players in their organization. No current Islander is named to play for Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey this fall, but don’t be surprised to see some familiar faces suit up for the red, white and blue in the future.

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