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Islanders prospects update: Big call ups for a few players

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - MAY 26: Feature of the gold medal on the neck of #82 Harri Pesonen of Finland after the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Slovakia final game between Canada and Finland at Ondrej Nepela Arena on May 26, 2019 in Bratislava, Slovakia. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)
BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - MAY 26: Feature of the gold medal on the neck of #82 Harri Pesonen of Finland after the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Slovakia final game between Canada and Finland at Ondrej Nepela Arena on May 26, 2019 in Bratislava, Slovakia. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images) /
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Here’s this week’s New York Islanders prospects update.

It’s been a relatively busy week with New York Islanders prospects. Some of them didn’t play at all whether through injury or for performance-related issues. Some just kept on plugging away and putting up points. Others got some pretty big call ups.

It’s been a busy week following the select few prospects who’ve been able to play. There are still a number of players that will hit the ice at some point this year.

Guys like Bode Wilde, Blade Jenkins, Samuel Bolduc, and Jakub Skarek have yet to hit the ice competitively. Same for some of the other players the Islanders picked at the 2020 draft. Alex Jefferies (fourth round) hasn’t skated for Merrimack and William Dufour (fifth round) has only played in two games before the QMJHL season was suspended.

So there’s still more to come later this year. But for now, here’s what took place this week for those Islanders prospects whose teams are playing.

Finland (Liiga/Mestis)

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

Iskhakov was a healthy scratch for TPS’s last two games. There was no official word from the team but Iskhakov hasn’t necessarily been much of a factor of late. And with the team failing to get a regulation win over the four games before he got scratched it’s clear TPS was looking to shake things up.

There’s a good chance he’s back in the fold after TPS’s short break.

Otto Koivula (HIFK)
Season stats: 7GP, 2G, 3A, 5pts

Koivula’s three-game point streak might have been broken but he’s still on a point per game pace since his third match in Finland. In his last outing, Koivula put up two helpers to take his tally to five points over his last five games.

Like I said last week, Koivula is rounding into form over in Finland. He might not have a spot on the roster in 20-21, but he could very well have a spot in 21-22 when Casey Cizikas’s deal has expired.

Matias Rajaniemi (Pelicans)
Season stats: 10GP, 15:02ATOI

His time on ice keeps going up steadily week over week. He was averaging 14:44 just last week and now he’s up to over 15 minutes a night. An 18-second increase in average ice-time might not sound like a lot, but for an 18-year-old kid, it’s a pretty impressive jump in ice-time.

Impressive enough to warrant a call up to team Finland for exhibition games later this week. Called up to the U20 side, Rajaniemi is being considered for Finland’s 2020 World Junior Championship squad.

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

Tikkanen hasn’t played this week so there’s no news on the big man.

Sweden (SHL/Allsvenskan)

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

Last week I said that Simon Holmstrom’s talent will eventually find a way to put up points for the White Horse, and that’s what happened this week. Holmstrom put up his first two points in Sweden this year with a goal and a helper against Vasteras.

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

Wahlstrom is still out with an injury he sustained just under two weeks ago. The team hasn’t said anything about his condition but if he’s out the full two weeks we likely won’t see him on the ice until Sunday, November 8.

Robin Salo (Orebro)
Season stats: 13GP, 4pts, 23:30 ATOI

He’s been one of the most heavily used skaters in the SHL, but he’s still young. And youth + a lot of ice time = mistakes. On Thursday, Salo made one of those rare mistakes after getting stripped of the puck by 2020 fourth overall pick Lucas Raymond.

Alexander Ljungkrantz (Brynas J20)
Season stats: 15GP, 9G, 6A, 15pts

With a break in action for Brynas’s U20 squad, Ljungkrantz took the next step in his career by getting some ice time with Brynas’s senior squad. And by ‘some’ ice time I really mean it. Over his two games in the SHL this week, Ljungkrantz averaged 2:07 of ice time.

He’s deserved the call-up. With 14 points in 14 games before his SHL cameo, Ljungkrantz was a top-quality player for his team and in his division. Adding a point after returning to his U20 team, he now has 15 points in 15 games which has the Islanders 2020 third-round pick tied for sixth in scoring for his division.

Russia (KHL)

Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist)
Season stats: 19GP, 7G, 7A, 14pts

He’s putting up more production of late so that’s a good thing.

Recently Arthur Staple indicated that he may not be interested in joining the Islanders (subscription required). Which is possible. He’s got a good thing going with Avtomobilist. He’s already pretty rooted out in Russia. Does he want to uproot his family for a chance to play in the NHL? What if it doesn’t work a-la Jan Kovar? That’s a big risk to take.

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