Corey Pronman has begun to release his prospect pool rankings for NHL teams. The Islanders come in 27th of 31.
The Islanders pipeline isn’t necessarily something to get excited about. Just two years ago they were in the top-five, last year it dropped to 16, and now in 2020, the prospect pool sits at 27th in the league according to Corey Pronman.
This isn’t necessarily a hot take from Pronman, as no one is really considering the Isles to have this deep prospect pool.
According to Pronman, Noah Dobson is the best prospect and is in the high-end/very good bubble as a prospect. No argument here as Dobson is clearly the best prospect and could make an impact as early as next season.
Oliver Wahlstrom, Ilya Sorokin, and Kieffer Bellows are the next three on the list. Both Wahlstrom and Sorokin project to be very good while Bellows projects as a “legit” NHL player. Of that group, Sorokin will likely have the biggest impact on the roster in 2020-2021.
Bellows is now four years removed from his draft class with eight NHL games under his belt. He should have a shot at the roster next year but may need some more development before getting a full-time role in the NHL.
In the NHL potential group, the only name that stands out is Otto Koivula. Yes, as Pronmon points out he’s not a great skater but I think he has a shot to fill out a bottom-six role for the Isles in the future.
I agree with Corey Pronman, the Isles prospect pool isn’t great but I really don’t think they need it to be. As currently constructed, the team is in the second round three wins away from the Eastern Conference Final.
They aren’t in a rebuild mode. If they were a bottom 10 team in the league and had the 27th prospect core in the league, then I’d be worried.
Most Islanders fans agree that the team is a scorer away from being a contender. Heck, how they are playing right now they look like a contender. Of this group, I think three positions really matter for the Islanders right now.
They need Sorokin to be good and be the goalie of the future, they could use Dobson in a regular role as a cheaper replacement for Johnny Boychuk and they realistically need one of Oliver Wahlstrom or Kieffer Bellows to be a legit goal-scorer in the NHL.
If all that happens, then I really don’t care what else happens to the rest of the prospect pool. Obviously I’m rooting for these guys to pan out, it’s just anything else that happens with them is a bonus.
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I really can’t get worked up over the organizational depth when they have a core that has gone to the second round of the playoffs in back to back years. If that makes me naive, I guess I’ll live with it.