I wanted to dedicate this prospect report to follow up on the New York Islanders 2020 draft class. All five picks have either been playing (and playing well) or there’s some news to report since the last update.
The Isles 2020 draft was largely dismissed by just about everyone for the lack of top-end talent added to the prospect pool. And that’s understandable. The Isles didn’t make a pick until the third round. But the players the Islanders did select are showing there was a reason for it. And maybe they’ve landed a gem or two.
So, this week’s update will look a little different. Most of it will be spent on the Isles most recent class of prospects added to the system, I’ll provide a few notes on a few more and then a stats update for the rest.
New York Islanders 2020 draft class looking good
Alexander Ljungkrantz (Brynas)
J20 – 16GP, 8G, 7A, 15pts
SHL – 12GP, 0pts, 3:07ATOI
Hockeyettan – 6GP, 5G, 3A, 8pts
Since being loaned out to Stromsbro, Ljungkrantz has absolutely dominated. He’s playing on the team’s top line and on the power play. On Sunday, he scored a hat-trick capped off by this coast-to-coast overtime game-winner.
Stromsbro plays in the third-tier of Swedish hockey, but Ljungkrantz is playing against men and is leading his team to the top of the division and maybe towards promotion to the second tier of Swedish hockey next season.
He’s also been quite literally bouncing around. When he’s not playing on Stromsbro’s top-line he’s with Brynas as their 13th forward. He’s no getting any ice time with the SHL side but he’s dressed and on the bench. He’s working hard to get better that can’t be ignored.
Alex Jefferies (Merrimack College)
Season stats: 10GP, 4G, 5A, 9pts
Remember when I said that Jefferies’s offense output could cooldown after some injuries to the squad? Well, it did, but it’s bounced back now.
He has points in four straight games. That puts him at nine points and leading the team so far this year. That’s right, a true freshman is leading the team. Keep your eyes on Jefferies.
William Dufour (Voltigeurs)
Season stats: 10GP, 7G, 7A, 14pts
When the Drummondville Voltigeurs left their last bubble, Dufour was sporting a five-game goal streak. When they hit the ice again (this time in a Drummondville bubble), Dufour picked up where he left off to make it six games in a row with a goal.
That streak came to an end on Sunday when Dufour didn’t register a goal against the Gatineau Olympiques. But he wasn’t kept off the scoresheet. He registered three primary assists on the night.
There was already some excitement about Dufour when the Isles got him in the fifth round, and now it seems that the excitement was well-founded. He’s clearly ready for the next level.
Matias Rajaniemi (Pelicans)
Season stats: 20GP, 1G, 3A, 4pts, 13:59ATOI
On Tuesday, Rajanimie put up his sixth point of the season. Since coming back from the World Juniors the fifth-round pick now has four points in his last five outings. What gives?
When I spoke to him this week it was his opinion that a combination of confidence gained from winning bronze at the World Juniors and having more ice-time because there was a slight North American exodus on the Pelicans defensive roster, is to thank for his production.
Henrik Tikkanen (IPK)
Season stats: 9GP, 2.55GAA, 0.901SV%
The Isles seventh-round pick has made the jump from the Mestis league (which is on hold) to the top league in Finland. Last week, Liiga side KalPa brought in the big 6’8″ goalie via a loan from IPK. He’s yet to play, even though KalPa played back-to-back games. I’m not sure why. I reached out to the team in order to figure out why but haven’t heard back yet.
Josh Ho-Sang (Orebro): It’s expected that Ho-Sang will make his start for Orebro on Thursday. The team confirmed to be they expect him to play this week. He didn’t suit up on Tuesday so that leaves Thursday’s game against Lulea.
Logan Cockerill (Boston University): After a delayed start to the season, Logan Cockerill is having to miss more time after picking up an injury recently. He’s day-to-day and already missed two games.
Reece Newkirk (Melville Millionaires): I spoke with the Islanders fifth-round pick from 2019 as he waits for both the SJHL and WHL to return. Here’s what he had to say about this tough season.
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Here’s the rest of the prospect pool for the Islanders:
Robin Salo (Orebro): 33GP, 4G, 18A, 22pts, 22:02 ATOI
Christian Krygier (Michigan State): 16GP, 1G, 2A, 3pts
Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist): 43GP, 12G, 15A, 27pts
Jacob Pivonka (Notre Dame): 16GP, 1G, 3A, 4pts
Ben Mirageas (Providence): 14GP, 1G, 5A, 6pts
Collin Adams (UND): 16GP, 6G, 10A, 16pts
Ruslan Iskhakov (TPS): 22GP, 3G, 9A, 12pts