NY Islanders prospect pool ranked dead last in the NHL

New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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It’s no surprise the NY Islanders lack in their prospect pool, as they’ve traded their first-round pick each of the last four years. But now, according to Scott Wheeler of The Athletic, the Islanders have the worst prospect pool in the NHL. 

Ranked 27th by Wheeler last season, the Isles have fallen five places to the bottom, mainly due to Samuel Bolduc and Ruslan Iskhakov no longer being eligible, as they’ve passed the 23-year-old age limit. 

As things currently stand, it doesn’t appear that Isles will see themselves moving up the rankings anytime soon. Sitting in that middle area similar to last season, Lou Lamoriello has proven that he’s willing to make a push as long as his team is still in playoff contention. Last season, he moved a first-round pick and the team's top prospect, Aatu Raty, for Bo Horvat, which appears to have been a win for both organizations. 

With this year's first-round pick still in his holster, it’s not inconceivable that Lamoriello moves another pick for an asset that helps the team now. 

In the meantime, the Isles are limited in what they can work with in terms of prospects. Let’s take a look at how some of these prospects are ranked.


1. Calle Odelius
2. Danny Nelson
3. William Dufour
4. Matthew Maggio
5. Simon Holmstrom

Simon Holmstrom’s name immediately stands out, as he’s already solidified a role within the Islanders lineup and has been a major contributor this season with 12 goals. He has been one of the Islanders' best penalty killers, using offense as his best defense, scoring five short-handed goals and seven total points, both tops in the league. 

Other than Holmstrom, there’s little debate that Odelius, Nelson, Dufour, and Maggio are the Isles' top prospects.

Odelius has been out since November with a lower-body injury that required surgery but has been rehabbing in the US, according to Stefan Rosner of The Hockey News. He's played in just ten games this season, registering four points. A left-handed shot, Odelius could push for a roster spot as early as next season.

Nelson may have the most upside of any Islanders prospect. His 19 points through 22 games at Notre Dame are second-best for the Fighting Irish - playing a role in his selection to the USA squad for the 2024 WJC. A potential top-6 center in the NHL, Nelson is likely a year away before making an NHL impact. 

Dufour and Maggio, both drafted in the fifth round of their respective drafts after not being selected the year before, were crowned MVP of their junior leagues before being taken by the Islanders. Dufour missed part of this season for personal reasons - but still sits second on the Bridgeport Islanders with ten goals, scoring four in his last eight games. Maggio has just five goals and ten points this season but has recorded a point in his previous two after going nine pointless. Dufour made one NHL appearance last season and could be first in line for another if a current Islander winger were to hit the IR. 


6. Alex Jefferies
7. Jesse Nurmi
8. Quinn Finley
9. Justin Gill
10. Zachary Schulz

Jefferies has been one of the NCAA’s leading scorers the last two seasons, averaging more than a point per game. He missed the early part of this season due to injury but has recorded 19 points in 16 games since returning. In his fourth season at Merrimack College, the 22-year-old is still unsigned. If the Islanders can get him under contract, there’s hope he can become a solid third-line winger. 

Nurmi underwent surgery in October and is scheduled to return in mid-February. A fourth-round pick of the Islanders this past summer, Nurmi had just one point in Liiga before going down to injury. He’d likely have been part of the Finnish WJC team if healthy. Speed is Nurmi's greatest asset, as he recorded the fourth-highest top speed in Liiga this season at 37.62 mph (23.38 mph). 

A name not many considered for the USA WJC squad this season, Finley’s great start at the University of Wisconsin played a significant role in making the American's final cut. His nine goals as a freshman are fifth for the Badgers this season as he begins to round out his game and work his way up the Islanders' prospect rankings.

Another overager taken in the fifth round, Justin Gill, is currently third in QMJHL scoring, with 67 points in 44 games. However, there is one caveat. He's 21 years old. The Isles have taken low-risk, high-reward chances with Dufour and Maggio in the past, and Gill is a similar player in that aspect. He'll likely join the team in Bridgeport next season.

Captaining the USA U18 team to gold last year, Schulz is playing alongside Finley at Wisconsin this season. He's not one known to light up the score sheet with only four points in 20 games, but he could potentially become a bottom-pairing defenseman with leadership attributes.


11. Daylan Kuefler
12. Isaiah George
13. Eetu Liukas
14. Tristan Lennox
15. Matias Rajaniemi

Here's where the rankings will lose a lot of people. Isaiah George was one of the final cuts at the Islanders' training camp this season, as he left a lasting impression on the players and staff.

"He looks solid. I think he's got good poise, offensively and defensively," Ryan Pulock told The Hockey News. "Watching him for a couple of days here, off rushes and defensive zone ending plays, he looks like he's got a lot of confidence in all areas of his game."

George has 22 points through 45 games for the London Knights of the OHL, a team currently tied atop the OHL standings. He's third in points from defensemen on the team, trailing Oliver Bonk (drafted 22nd overall by the Philadelphia Flyers last year) and Sam Dickinson (one of the top defensive prospects in this year's draft).

While Eetu Liukas won't become a household name in the NHL, he has future NHLer written all over him. At 6'3", 205 lbs., Liukas is a bowling ball of energy and will fit into the Isles' fourth line possibly as early as next year, depending on the future of Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck.

Daylan Kuefler is another overaged draft project who has spent his time in the ECHL after missing the start of the season with an injury. He has eight points through 17 games with the Worcester Railers as he hopes to work his way back to the AHL.

Tristan Lennox is the Islanders' top goaltending prospect who's also been honing his craft in the ECHL. He's a big-bodied netminder at 6'4" with a sub-3 GAA and .909 SV% in his first season of professional hockey. He's still a ways away from being NHL-ready, especially with Sorokin and Varlamov locked up for at least four more years, so there'll be no rush in his development.

Rajaniemi, who still hasn't signed with the Islanders, is 6'4" with loads of professional hockey under his belt, playing in his fifth pro season in Finland. It's unclear whether he'll sign with the Islanders at any point or remain in Europe.