Every year, there seems to be one player who sticks out from the group at rookie camp. It appears many of the NY Islanders prospects have improved their games from last season, but one player who has people talking is defenseman Isaiah George.
George, who missed most of camp last season due to an injury, has made up for missed time, showing off his skating and impressive stick work over the past week. Clips of George have appeared across social media, breaking up passes and showing off his magnificent edge work.
"His mobility, his stick, he's strong, he's composed with the puck, he makes a good first pass," said Bridgeport Islanders Head Coach Rich Kowalsky following the final day of rookie camp. "All very positive things to have as a young defenseman."
Entering his third season in the OHL with the London Knights, George is not eligible to play in Bridgeport this season, as players not yet 20 or without four seasons in the CHL must return to juniors if they aren't on an NHL roster (though the league has made an exception for Shane Wright). George's impressive stint at camp so far has some wondering if he could hack it in the AHL as a 19-year-old.
"I think sometimes it's better for them to go back and play with their peers as opposed to rushing it and having them play in a man's league," said Kowalsky. "His mobility, like I said, all the assets he has, they certainly fit into what we think would be an effective player at the American league level."
George and the other rookies will integrate with the NHL players on Tuesday as the big guns get set to enter their first day of camp. George will gain valuable experience playing against more experienced and talented players for the remainder of his time in camp. He'll find himself learning a thing or two from Adam Pelech, one of the Islanders George models his game after.
"I like Pelech a lot," said George after the first day of rookie camp. "He's a guy I like to watch and I think he's one of the best defensemen in the NHL."
It would take a lot for the Isles to take a nine-game look at George before returning him to juniors with their logjam at defense, but with a lights-out camp, who knows?