New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Scott Mayfield #11
The New York Islanders have a number of defensive prospects in the system. Three will challenge for a starting job on the NHL roster. At number 11 is one of them.
Scott Mayfield was drafted by the New York Islanders in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’4″ defender isn’t going to amaze you with his production, but he’s still got everything required to make a push for the NHL.
The 22-year-old has size, toughness, and just does the basics well. He’s the most perfectly vanilla type of defensive prospects.
He’s a risk averse defense first type of player. A player that teams just love. Not to fill out that top end of the defensive roster, but to round out the bottom pairings. The type of guys you can throw out there for 15 minutes a game and not worry about conceding.
A Competitive Chance
Mayfield is fresh off signing a two-year one-way $1.25 million deal with the Islanders. On that alone, it’s possible the Isles have intentions to keep Mayfield with the NHL squad.
But will the Islanders give him some games or decide to keep him in the pressbox as a healthy scratch for most of the season is the question surrounding Mayfield.
He’s going to have to prove himself against flashier defenders like Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech. Two defenders that are almost locks for the NHL roster this season.
Mayfield is going to need a strong training camp to change the Islander brass’ minds when it comes to roster spots on the team. That means playing to his strengths: playing tough, protecting the blueline, and getting the puck up the ice.
Supporting the attack with risky pinches or carrying the puck deep into the offensive zone needs to be avoided. Some defensive prospects need to support the attack in order to show their strengths, but for Mayfield getting caught deep exposes his slower skating stride.
It’s no guarantee that the Isles give him a spot, but playing a defensively responsible game throughout training camp should get Mayfield a long look by the Islanders. For the Islanders, having this level of competition for a single spot is exactly where they want to be.
Next: Top 25 Under 25: #12 Shane Prince
Competition for every position. Competition for roster sports only pushes players to continue performing with the very real threat of being replaced by a player lower in the depth chart. Mayfield might just get a shot at the NHL this year, but at worst he’s the fire under other players seats, pushing them to perform.