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Islanders: A deep look at left wing depth

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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 30: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders skates during warm ups before the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 30, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 30: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders skates during warm ups before the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 30, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders
Blade Jenkins poses after being selected 134th overall by the New York Islanders during the 2018 NHL Draft. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Blade Jenkins and Arnaud Durandeau

Now, we come to the territory of true prospects – players who haven’t played a single NHL game. Blade Jenkins was the Isles’ 5th round pick in 2018. He scored 59 points in 67 games for the Saginaw Sprint of the OHL in 2018-19, then 40 points in 47 games in 2019-20.

If those numbers seem really high, they are – but point totals are notoriously high in the OHL (and in the other Canadian junior leagues, the QMJHL and WHL). Typically, top draft picks from those leagues have well over a point per game, with some approaching or surpassing two points per game. So Jenkins’ numbers are by no means elite, or even particularly noteworthy.

Still, scoring nearly a point per game isn’t nothing. He added 4 points in 13 games in the AHL, but that’s such a small sample size it’s almost useless. Next year, when he should play at Bridgeport full-time, we’ll get a much better idea of how high his ceiling actually is.

I don’t expect Jenkins to ever be a regular NHLer, but he’s only 21 years old and has plenty of time to prove me wrong.

Arnaud Durandeau was a 6th-round pick in 2017. From 2015-16 to 2018-19, he steadily improved in the QMJHL, moving from just over 0.5 points per game to just over 1 point per game.

In 2019-20, he split time between the ECHL and AHL, scoring 8 points in each league (in 15 ECHL games and 21 AHL games). But in 2020-21, he had 8 points in just 14 AHL games.

Over 0.5 points per game in the AHL is actually fairly good. Dobber Prospects claims that according to their model, Durandeau might be a serviceable NHLer eventually, and I have to agree. Of course, he’ll be in Bridgeport again this year, but let’s see if he can keep up his 0.5 PPG over a full season. And as a 22-year-old, there’s still room to grow.

Durandeau won’t be a superstar, but it’s possible that he might be an NHL player someday. For a 6th round pick, that’s about all you can ask.

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