Islanders prospect update: Otto Koivula rounding into form

Otto Koivula #21 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Otto Koivula #21 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Islanders prospects are getting things done over in Europe, here’s how they’re getting on over the last seven days.

It’s been about a month now since I’ve started completing these New York Islanders prospect updates. There are quite a few things to be pleased about in the Islanders system but we still need to manage our expectations when it comes to our prospects.

The Islanders farm system is constantly regarded as a middle of the road system, and there’s a good reason for it. The Isles just don’t have that crop of top tier talents.

Just because a guy like Alexander Ljungkrantz is putting up points for Brynas doesn’t mean he’s going to be an incredible player at the NHL level. Look, he could absolutely be a gem, but he’s still playing at the U20 level. There’s a way to go still for him. Be excited, but be realistic with what he could be.

Finland (Liiga/Mestis)

Ruslan Iskhakov (TPS)
Season stats: 8GP, 2G, 3A, 5pts

He hasn’t put up a point over the last four nights for TPS, but he did get a shootout winner against JYP on Saturday. So he’s technically finding the back of the net for his team in big moments. Even if that goal won’t find itself on the stat sheet.

It’s his first pro season since leaving UConn and after a hot start to the year, he’s tailed off a bit. That happens, but he’s still creating out there. He’s put 14 shots on goal in his last four games, six in a loss to Ilves on the 20th.

Just like Mathew Barzal, he could certainly work on his faceoffs. He holds a 32.25 FOW% on the season.

Otto Koivula (HIFK)
Season stats: 4GP, 1G, 1A, 2pts

It took him a few games to settle in, and now Otto Koivula has put up a point in back-to-back games for HIFK.

His ice time has also increased steadily since he returned to Finland. Clearly showing that Koivula is getting up to speed pretty quickly for the Helsinki side.

Matias Rajaniemi (Pelicans)
Season stats: 7GP, 14:44ATOI

Rajaniemi is still young. He just turned 18 on September 11, and as a result, he isn’t getting a ton of ice time. He’s averaging 14:44 per game, which ranks him sixth out of eight defenders for Lahti.

But he’s doing well with that ice-time. He and teammate Julius Bergman are the only defensemen on the team to hold a positive +/-.

Henrik Tikkanen (IPK)
Season stats: 6GP, 2.31GAA, 0.899SV%

He had a rough start to October with two outings where he posted sub-900 save percentages but he’s bounced back strong in the latter half of the month. Tikkanen has stopped 63 of 69 shots over his last three outings for a 0.913SV% and a 2-0-1 record.

The 20-year-old has looked composed in the crease from the limiting viewing I’ve seen. His calm demeanor combined with his incredible size seems to make a pretty solid combination.

Sweden (SHL/Allsvenskan)

Simon Holmstrom (Vita Hasten)
Season stats: 5GP, 15:37 TOI

Holmstrom played twice this week, he didn’t get on the scoresheet in either game. He registered four shots on goal, all in a 6-1 loss to MODO. All four shots were from outside of the slot. He’ll want to get in closer if he’s going to want a chance at converting those.

He was given a ton of ice time against MODO (21:52 TOI). So that’s something to watch out for going forward. Is this his coaching staff believing in him or did they put him out there more in a lost cause game to see what he’s got?

Oliver Wahlstrom (AIK)
Season stats: 6GP, 2G, 2A, 4pts

Oliver Wahlstrom will be out for a while according to the team. AIK indicated to me that he could be out a week or two after the Isles forward spilled into the board pretty hard. AIK brought in Devils prospects Fabian Zetterlund to take his spot.

Robin Salo (Orebro)
Season stats: 10GP, 1G, 3A, 4pts, 23:58 ATOI

The one question I keep getting about Robin Salo from Islanders fans is: “When is he coming over to North America?”.

When he moved to Orebro from Finnish side SaiPa he signed a one-year deal with his new club. So he won’t be moving until that deal expires at the end of the 2020-21 season. Orebro’s last regular-season game is March 11. With the way things are going with the NHL and AHL, he could be here for the 2020-21 season.

Alexander Ljungkrantz (Brynas J20)
Season stats: 14GP, 9G, 5A, 14pts

What a weekend for Ljungkrantz. On Saturday the Isles third-round pick put up two goals in a 3-4 loss to Lulea then the following night he picked up two helpers in a 5-1 drubbing over Skelleftea.

He now sits with 14 points in 14 games for Brynas’s junior squad. It’s giving a lot of fans some confidence about the Isles 2020 draft class.

Russia (KHL)

Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist)
Season stats: 17GP, 7G, 5A, 12pts

Over this last week, he’s put up two points, both coming in a 5-2 win over Neftekhimik. He’s a consistent forward who plays a solid game and it’s helping Avtomobilist push up the standings to second in the Eastern Conference by a single point.

Does he come over like he said he would for the 2021-22 NHL season? We’ll see. I don’t see why he wouldn’t. The Islanders are certainly going to need depth offense in the years to come.