The New York Islander prospect pool is stocked with defensemen, so no surprise that at 22 is yet another defensemen. Unlike the last two, this one has it all.
We’ve already laid out that the New York Islanders system is full of young defensemen. In 2012, the Islanders selected defenders with each of their seven picks. In 2013, they selected two, Ryan Pulock (who we’ll see him later) in the first round and Kyle Burroughs in the seventh round.
Kyle Burroughs, isn’t short on physical stature like Jesse Graham, nor is he a colossus on skates like Loic Leduc. He’s a 6’0″ tall, 198 lbs 22-year-old with slick skating and great hockey sense.
He’s got all the tools necessary to excel. But that Islanders defensive depth has been a real killer to him progressing further.
On a side not here, those who love to bemoan Garth Snow’s failures, just look at this pool of prospects both on the defense and on the offense. The Islanders farm system is absolutely stocked with talent. While simultaneously posting 100 point seasons. Seems like Snow’s doing an alright job.
That Perfect Depth Blueliner
In trying to understand Burroughs I read things such as: “[Burroughs] is solid in own zone using positioning and smarts to hold off opposing forwards. Offensively he is mobile and makes good decisions with the puck. Burroughs can contribute on the powerplay […]”
Sounds pretty basic. He’s good on both sides of the ice and can make smart plays. What does that really mean? Because as I read more and more scouting reports for young defencemen those few factors keep coming up.
So I pulled this highlight package for Burroughs from his draft year. He was playing for the Regina Pats at the time, in a season where he put up 38 points.
Now did you see how he controlled that blue line? Did you see how Burroughs was able to properly cycle the puck to his wingers and open up space? Did you notice him pinching to support the attack when the lane was clear?
This kid might be missing certain factors, such as an NHL-caliber shot, and maybe some more fantastic offensive numbers. But what he lacks he makes up in terms of intangible like puck distribution, defensive responsibility, and attack support.
So why does Burroughs rank so low? He seems to have all the skills necessary to make it to the NHL after all. First, it’s hard to bet against a 7th round pick. There’s a reason he went 196 overall. Second, he’s got a small sample size of senior level hockey.
Burroughs has 40 AHL games over the last three season, with the majority (31) coming in 2015-16, after being called up from the ECHL. Burroughs career is trending upwards. He has the skill and the intelligence, can he put it all together to push for the NHL?