Islanders prospect report: Matias Rajaniemi bronze medal and first goal

Matias Rajaniemi #12 (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Matias Rajaniemi #12 (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Attention has shifted, and rightfully so. With New York Islanders hockey finally back on our TV’s our attention has gone from the prospects playing under the Islanders umbrella around the world. And again, that’s fair.

The Islanders are the main draw for fans, but these prospects are still playing while the NHL finally starts its regular season. And while that’s happening I’ll continue to try and provide you with information on prospects in the Isles system.

Here’s what some have been up to since last week.

Update on New York Islanders prospects for the week of January 11 to 17

Matias Rajaniemi (Pelicans)
Season stats: 20GP, 1G, 3A, 4pts, 13:59ATOI

It’s been an impressive few weeks for Rajaniemi. At the start of January, the Islanders sixth-round pick from 2020 won the bronze medal with Finland that the World Junior Championships. Once his quarantine was over he re-joined his Liiga team, the Lahti Pelicans where he’s skated an average of 17:19 minutes and put up points in back-to-back games, including his first goal at the Liiga level.

Josh Ho-Sang (Orebro)
19-20 Season stats: 22GP, 4G, 9A, 13Pts 

Josh Ho-Sang is already in the south-central Swedish city and practicing with his teammates. Orebro will hit the ice on Tuesday where Ho-Sang could play his first game. Based on public communications from the team, Ho-Sang could very well play in their top six.

Alexander Ljungkrantz (Brynas)
Season stats:
J20 – 16GP, 8G, 7A, 15pts
SHL – 9GP, 0pts, 3:07ATOI
Hockeyettan – 4GP, 1G, 2A, 3pts, ~13ATOI

Things are going well for Ljungkrantz during his loan spell to Stromsbro. After a scoreless debut, he’s found his way on the scoresheet more consistently. He’s also been a great play-driver for Stromsbro.

On Thursday he hit a 66.67% CF at 5on5 and an 18.84% relative CF (again at 5on5). Those are some incredible possession numbers no matter the level. There’s no reason to get too excited about the player yet, but the developing picture shows why the Islanders nabbed him the third round rather than wait for later.

Alex Jefferies (Merrimack College)
Season stats: 8GP, 4G, 3A, 7pts

Even though Merrimack is dealing with a number of injuries to its center core, Alex Jefferies continues to perform for Merrimack.

The last time I spoke to his coach, he warned me that there could very well be a down-turn in Jefferies production due to those injuries. But the freshman has clearly worked on his game to make up for the issues in the roster.

Logan Cockerill (Boston University)
Season stats: 3GP, 4G

He’s making up for lost time. With BU’s season significantly delayed due to the pandemic, the Isles seventh-round pick in 2017 can’t stop scoring for BU. The first-year captain already had a shorthanded breakaway goal to his name. A few days later, this time against UMass, who’s at the top of the Hockey East standings, he was back at it.

Ruslan Iskhakov (TPS)
Season stats: 19GP, 2G, 8A, 10pts

In his last outing, Iskhakov had two helpers and is seeing his ice-time rise because of it. He hit over 15 minutes of ice time for the second straight game for the first time since the end of November. This could be the start of a turnaround for the Isles second-round pick in 2018.

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Here’s the rest of the prospect pool for the Islanders:

Robin Salo (Orebro): 31GP, 4G, 17A, 21pts, 22:12 ATOI
Christian Krygier (D | Michigan State): 14GP, 1G, 1A, 2pts
William Dufour (Voltigeurs): 8GP, 6G, 4A, 10pts
Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist): 41GP, 12G, 14A, 26pts
Reece Newkirk (Melville Millionaires | SJHL): 12GP, 4G, 8A, 12pts
Henrik Tikkanen (IPK): 9GP, 2.55GAA, 0.901SV%
Jacob Pivonka (C | Notre Dame): 14GP, 1G, 3A, 4pts
Ben Mirageas (D | Providence): 12GP, 1G, 15, 6pts
Collin Adams (University of North Dakota): 13GP, 5G, 7A, 12pts