Mitchell Vande Sompel
Vande Sompel is yet another of those “undersized” defenders in the Isles system. Just like Sebastian Aho before him, Vande Sompel stands at 5’10”. He’s well under the 6’0″ average that is seen in the NHL. But he hasn’t let that get to him.
Last season was Vande Sompel’s first taste of the AHL. With a 36 point season, he did well. Not well enough to immediately vault him up the Islanders defensive depth chart, but well enough that he’ll be expected to take a big step forward in 2018-19.
The former third-round draft pick isn’t expected to become a stud top-pair defender at the NHL level, but to think he can slot in either the second or third pairing seems right.
With Thomas Hickey, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech on deals that last at least four years it’s going to be tough for Vande Sompel to crack the roster. He’ll have to outplay at least one of them just to turn some heads in the organization.
Vande Sompel has the drive and determination to do it. He’s even got a good set of skills. But the deck is stacked against him with a number of NHL proven players ahead of him on the roster who already lay claim to the spot he’s eyeing.
Although I’m sure at 5’10” Vande Sompel has had to deal with a significant amount of adversity already at this point in his young hockey career.