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New York Islanders Prospects Playing for 2019 CHL Memorial Cup

QUEBEC CITY, QC - MAY 31: Canadian Hockey League Commissioner David Branch stands beside the Memorial Cup during the 2015 Memorial Cup Championship between the Oshawa Generals and the Kelowna Rockets at the Pepsi Coliseum on May 31, 2015 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The Oshawa Generals defeated the Kelowna Rockets 2-1 in overtime to become the 2015 Memorial Cup Champions. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
QUEBEC CITY, QC - MAY 31: Canadian Hockey League Commissioner David Branch stands beside the Memorial Cup during the 2015 Memorial Cup Championship between the Oshawa Generals and the Kelowna Rockets at the Pepsi Coliseum on May 31, 2015 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The Oshawa Generals defeated the Kelowna Rockets 2-1 in overtime to become the 2015 Memorial Cup Champions. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders prospects Arneaud Durandeau and Noah Dobson will be on opposing sides as their team’s faceoff for the 2019 CHL Memorial Cup. And both are in wildly different places in their careers with the New York Islanders.

On Sunday, May 26th, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the Halifax Moosehead will compete for the CHL’s Memorial Cup. Whoever wins, the New York Islanders will have one of their prospects lift the cup.

Defenseman and Islanders 12th overall pick from the 2018 NHL draft, Noah Dobson plays for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, and Isles sixth-round pick from 2017 Arnaud Durandeau plays for Halifax.

While both are in the New York Islanders system, they are currently on wildly different trajectories in their professional hockey careers.

One is poised to take the next step and perhaps join the NHL this season, while the other has yet to sign his entry-level contract and faces uncertainty on what will happen next.

Noah Dobson

This is the second time in two years that Noah Dobson finds himself playing for the Memorial Cup. He won it last season with the Acadie-Bathurst Titans.

The kids a stud on the blue line. It’s why the New York Islanders selected him 12th overall at the 2018 NHL Draft. It’s also why the Isles gave Dobson an ELC two months after they drafted him and gave him an extended look at last year’s training camp.

With 147 points across 186 games for the Titans and Huskies, Dobson’s clearly outgrown the CHL. He’s ready for the next step in his career.

The Islanders are now set on the right side of the blue line with Ryan Pulock, Johnny Boychuk, and Scott Mayfield meaning that Dobson’s next step might just be the AHL. If one of the Isles right-handed defensemen go down with an injury you know Dobson will be called up immediately. And with Boychuk turning 36 and never playing a full season to date, you know Dobson is going to get his chance.

There’s also the possibility that the Islanders move one of their right-handed blueliners – like Scott Mayfield – to bring in that top end quality they’re looking for. If they do Dobson can and will step right in.

Either way, it’s clear that Dobson’s career trajectory has him on a direct path to the NHL, regardless of him winning a second Memorial Cup in two years.

Arnaud Durandeau

That clearly isn’t the case for Arnaud Durandeau. Sixth-round picks aren’t typically destined for the NHL. They aren’t bad players, but they don’t have that “NHL quality” about them.

But then again, Anders Lee was a good hockey player, but no one knew if he’d play hockey or football. And so he fell down the draft and into the sixth round. Look how that turned out.

It’s not to say Durandeau will be the next Anders Lee, but quality can still be found in the sixth round. In his draft year, Durandeau put up 41 points in 64 games. It’s not a fantastic return, but he got better.

In the two seasons since his draft, he’s scored 53 and 73 points. He added another 20 points in 23 playoff games this season as Halifax made it all the way to QMJHL finals (losing to Dobson’s Huskies).

But unlike Dobson, Durandeau hasn’t yet signed an ELC with the New York Islanders. If the Isles don’t sign him to an entry-level deal by June 1 they could lose his rights.

If Durandeau can lift the Memorial Cup tomorrow, it should be the final straw the Islanders need to bring him in on an entry-level deal.

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The New York Islanders have two players at different points in their professional careers playing against each other in the finals for a major trophy. For one no matter what happens his next step has already been pre-determined, for the other it’s all up in the air.

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