As prospects arrived on Long Island today for their physicals before NY Islanders rookie camp begins tomorrow, the organization announced that 2022 fourth-round pick Isaiah George has signed his entry-level contract.
Selected with the pick the Islanders acquired along with Alexander Romanov from the Montreal Canadiens, George was touted by many to be a second-round pick but dropped to the Islanders at 98 at last year's NHL Draft. Without many high draft picks in the last four years, George has become one of the Islanders' more exciting prospects, but it remains to be seen if that says more about George or the state of the Islanders prospect pool.
During his time in the OHL with the London Knights, George has been more of a stay-at-home defenseman, concentrating on keeping the puck out of his net rather than finding the opponents. Since being drafted, he's put more emphasis on his offensive game, knowing it will take both to be an effective blue liner at the next level.
"I just want to be more of a dominant player when I'm on the ice," said George in Montreal at the 2022 NHL Draft following his selection. "I think just being more active in the o-zone and create more shooting lanes for myself."
George's offensive took a step in the right direction last year, finishing the season with 22 points (7 goals, 15 assists) in 54 games - just one off his 2021-22 mark but in 13 fewer games.
With Canada coming off back-to-back World Junior Championship gold medals, George has his sights set on becoming a member of the 2024 squad as the Great White North looks for the three-peat. Taking the first step toward that goal, George participated in Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence Summer Meetings for prospective members of the 2024 team.
Last year, George attended Islanders camp but missed the majority of on-ice activities after suffering an injury. The lingering issue caused him to miss the first two weeks of the Knights' schedule, but he provided quite the spark once he returned to the lineup. The Knights won 26 of 31 after his return, as he helped his team to the OHL Finals before being knocked off by the Peterborough Petes.
This being his final year of junior hockey, George will be eligible to join the Bridgeport Islanders at the end of the season if the Knights fail to make the postseason or make an early playoff exit.