When the NY Islanders traded their top prospect in Aatu Raty and their 2023 first-round pick, it was almost assured the Isles would be ranked last in every pipeline ranking. Surprisingly, Corey Pronman of The Athletic has ranked the Islanders 30th, ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins.
All players 22 and younger, regardless of NHL experience, were eligible for Pronman's list, as he has 2023 second-round pick Danny Nelson as the Islanders' top prospect, followed by Samuel Bolduc, Simon Holmstrom, William Dufour, and Eetu Liukas rounding out the top five.
Nelson is one of the youngest and highest drafted players in the Isles system, so it's not surprising to see him earning the top spot. Perhaps the biggest surprise is Eetu Liukas being ranked ahead of Matthew Maggio (ranked sixth). The Finn, who recently signed his ELC and will be in Bridgeport to begin this season, is a projected fourth-liner. Maggio was one of the CHL's top players last season, but it appears as if Pronman sees something in Liukas that others don't.
Ranked outside the top six under the "has a chance to play" category is 2022 top pick Calle Odelius. Pronman finds Odelius' size and lack of physicality to be a bit of an issue despite his skating. Still young, Odelius can add more bulk making him more confident throwing his body around.
Another player Pronman seems low on is Isaiah George. George is one of the prospects Islanders fans seem excited about, but Pronman doesn't feel the same. George's athleticism is off the charts while playing responsibly on both ends of the ice. It appears Pronman is worried that he doesn't excel in any offensive or defensive traits, causing him to drop in his rankings.
With the season a month-and-a-half away, these prospects will be given the opportunity to prove they deserve to be higher up the list.