NY Islanders Prospect Report: Week of 10/31-11/6

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As the NY Islanders continued their hot streak of play, winning seven of the last eight games, the Bridgeport Islanders also remained red-hot in the AHL. What's been deemed a weak prospect pool seems to be becoming more and more attractive as the weeks roll on.

Aside from Bridgeport, Isles' prospects in juniors and overseas have been showing signs of improvement, along with one of the most recently drafted Islanders making his season debut (sort of).

Before heading to Bridgeport, we will take a look at a couple of Islanders' prospects currently playing in Canadian Juniors.

Matthew Maggio, Windsor Spitfires, OHL (2022, 5th Round)

Drafted as an overage player in 2022, Matthew Maggio has been leaving his mark on the OHL, trying to prove to 31 other organizations that he deserved to be drafted in 2021. In three games last week for the Windsor Spitfires, Maggio added four more points (one goal, three assists) to his season total.

On Sunday, as the Spitfires hosted the Kingston Frontenacs, Maggio compiled three more points (one goal, two assists) as his Windsor team claimed a 6-3 victory. After adding two assists, one being on the powerplay earlier in the contest, Maggio added some insurance for his club with a nifty backhanded goal on a breakaway to beat the goalie.

Through 13 games in 2022, Maggio leads his Spitfires team with 21 points and currently sits sixth in the OHL for most points.

Next week, Maggio and the Western Conference-leading Spitfires (10-2-3-0) will look to continue their hot start with games on Friday and Sunday.

Isaiah George, London Knights, OHL (2022, 5th Round)

After suffering a lower-body injury in training camp with the Islanders, Isaiah George finally made his anticipated season debut with the London Knights. Even though he officially appeared in one game this season, George re-aggravated his injury on his first shift and has not seen playing time since.

In his first full game of the season, the fleet-footed George seemed to be his old self collecting an assist on a short-handed Knights goal for his first point of the season. George deflected a cross-ice pass leading to a two-on-one for the Knights, finishing with a Max McCue goal.

George will look to bring stability to the blue line for a struggling London team, currently sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference.

Ruslan Iskhakov, Bridgeport Islanders, AHL (2018, 2nd round)

Perhaps the most surprising prospect this year for the Islanders has been Moscow native Ruslan Iskhakov. After a stint at UCONN, Iskhakov bounced around Europe before making his professional debut in North America this season.

With not much being discussed about the 22-year-old within the media over the past few seasons, Iskhakov nearly became an afterthought as far as future NHL players go. Since making his debut with the Bridgeport Islanders less than one month ago, Iskhakov has arguably become the team's hottest prospect.

In his first month, Iskhakov was named AHL Rookie of the Month for the month of October. Since then, the smooth skating center has shown no signs of slowing down.

As the calendar changed to November, Iskhakov continued his torrid pace. Adding three more points (three assists), Iskhakov has continued as the leading point scorer amongst rookies in the AHL and is now sitting tied atop the AHL leaderboard, scoring 14 points (four goals, ten assists).

In Bridgeport's three contests last week, Iskhakov tallied all of his points in Saturday's matchup against the Hartford Wolf Pack, with two coming on the power play. His most impressive came from some aggressive forechecking where he swept in on the defenseman carrying the puck, undercutting him, forcing a turnover for a two on zero, and ultimately dishing the puck to Andy Andreoff, who tucked the puck into the gaping net.

In Cory Pronman of The Athletic's NHL Pipeline Rankings, Pronman had Iskhakov in his "has a chance to play category" regarding players' chances of making the NHL. Well, it seems as if Iskhakov is on a mission to prove Pronman wrong and that he has a much better shot at becoming an NHL regular.

"There’s no denying Iskhakov has NHL skill and playmaking ability, and he had a decent year, being a point-per-game player in the DEL. His game lacks pace and compete, though, which is concerning at his size — so he has a long way to go to be an NHL player."
Cory Pronman

Iskhakov has been one of the main reasons for Bridgeport's red-hot start to the season. The team seemed to be on cruise control until being shut out against the Princeton Bruins, bringing an end to their winning streak.

The team will look to get back to their winning ways Friday and Saturday when they head to Pennsylvania for a back-to-back at the Hershey Bears.

Samuel Bolduc, Bridgeport Islanders, AHL (2019, 2nd Round)

Aside from Iskhakov, Samuel Bolduc has been one of the team's most pleasant surprises. In his third year in Bridgeport, Bolduc has been a sturdy defensive force on the blue line. This season, he has proven that he is ready to take his offensive game to the next level.

Seemingly back to 100% following off-season surgery before the start of last season, in only ten games, Bolduc has produced two goals and ten assists - just two points shy of his career high set in 2020-21.

This past week, Bolduc added three more points to his season total, extending his point streak to a career-high seven games following the B-Isles matchup with Hartford. As the Isles entered the zone on an odd-man rush, Bolduc trailed the play when a rebound came out through the slot directly to Bolduc. The 21-year-old one-timed a shot back toward the target to beat the goalie.

Through the first ten games of the season, Bolduc currently sits 2nd in points among all AHL defensemen and tied for first in assists by a defenseman. The Laval, QC native is getting much of his production on the powerplay, compiling eight points (one goal, seven assists) which is tops in the league.

With his recent form, Bolduc could see his first NHL call-up barring any sort of injury along the NHL Isles blue line.

Simon Holmström, Bridgeport Islanders, AHL (2019, 23rd Overall)

As a handful of Islanders prospects currently playing in Bridgeport seem to be trending up, fourth-year forward Simon Holmström looks to be struggling out of the gate in 2022 compared to 2020-21.

Last year, the 2019 first-round pick set career highs scoring 12 goals and adding 31 helpers. So far, during Bridgeport's first ten games of the season, Holmström has only managed three goals and a single assist.

During the B-Islanders 2-1 record last week, the Swedish winger failed to have an impact where the rest of his teammates have found ways to contribute. Without a single point and a -3 rating, it would be understandable if Holmström were creating opportunities and just not finding the back of the net. But, his contribution has been limited, totaling only one shot in each of the team's three games.

Holmström needs to keep his foot on the gas and improve his play from last week, as he has William Dufour, Aatu Räty, and Iskhakov ready to jump ahead and become the first forward called up to the NHL this season if need be.

Next. Samuel Bolduc turning heads with Bridgeport Islanders. dark

Aatu Räty, Bridgeport Islanders, AHL (2021, 2nd Round)

After a brief cameo with the B-Isles last season, Aatu Räty seems to be making himself comfortable in North America. With time on the power play and top-six minutes, the former top prospect is showing glimpses of why he was once so highly touted.

Räty's numbers are not eye-popping at first glance. His point totals are just barely better than Holmström. However, Holmström has played four seasons in North America, and Räty has played less than 20 games. The physicality of the AHL and the smaller ice surface makes Räty's play look more impressive than his numbers perceive.

Last Tuesday, against the Charlotte Checkers, Räty registered his second power play goal of the season on a deflected shot just outside of the crease for his only point of the week. He has now found the back of the net twice this season, both times on the man advantage.

Räty is currently sitting at five points on the season (two goals, three assists). As the Oulu, Finland native gets more comfortable playing in Bridgeport, his game should continue trending upwards.

Many people have high hopes for the 19-year-old, and it remains necessary to stay consistent in his development.

William Dufour, Bridgeport Islanders, AHL (2020, 5th Round)

In his first season as a professional, William Dufour seems to be doing what he does best; scoring goals.

The lethal shot Dufour demonstrated in his Memorial Cup winning season last year with the St. John Sea Dogs, and debuted with the Islanders briefly in the pre-season, seems to be translating well to the AHL.

Last week, Dufour added one goal to his total, scoring on the power play against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Although the goal was an empty-net goal, the adage says, "they don't ask how - they ask how many."

Dufour's goal total sits at four on the season while adding one assist, coming on Räty's powerplay goal. He also scored the first shootout goal of his career, sealing the game for the B-Isles against Charlotte. With no fancy moves, Dufour released a quick snap-shot beating the goalie five-hole.

At his current pace, Dufour is trending to finish around the 30-goal mark. His laser shot and the willingness to throw his body around will keep him in a position to achieve the milestone.

Quinn Finley, Madison Capitols, USHL (2022, 3rd round)

Quinn Finley has gotten off to a red hot start for the Madison Capitols, currently second on the team in scoring. In the team's two games last week, Finley found the back of the net in each of them, twice in Sunday's matinee against the Chicago Steel. He would show off his soft hands, receiving a long pass at the blue line and beating the goalie five-hole to add to his team's advantage.

Finley's point total for the season now sits at 15 in only 11 games. His production has the future Wisconsin Badger currently in seventh place in scoring in the USHL.

Selected higher than expected this past summer, scouts always knew the offensive game for Finley would always be present, but improvement in the defensive end would be where he needs to improve. So far this season, Finley's struggles have continued. He was a -4 last week in the Dubuque Fighting Saints' drubbing of the Capitols and is currently a -10 for the season.

Alex Jeffries, Merrimack College, NCAA, (2020, 4th Round)

Maybe the forgotten prospect with all the hype currently surrounding the great start by the B-Isles has been Merrimack College's, Alex Jeffries. Drafted as a fourth-rounder in 2020, Jeffries has put a nice career together, entering his fourth season in the NCAA, and is off to his best start with the Merrimack Warriors.

Last week, the Warriors beat perennial NCAA powerhouse and state rivals Boston College on back-to-back nights. In the second half of the back-to-back, Jeffries was the driving force behind the victory, scoring on the powerplay and adding a helper on the man advantage. His eight shots-on-goal lead the team.

Jeffries is scoring better than a point per game, with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in nine games. His totals are good enough for fourth place in the Hockey East Conference and 24th in the nation.

The Warriors will host the Maine Black Bears on back-to-back nights this week on Friday and Saturday.

Eetu Liukas, HPK, Liiga (2021 5th Round)

Currently playing in the top division in Finland and one of the best leagues in Europe, Eetu Liukas has quietly carved out a nice start to his professional career.

Islanders fans may remember Liukas as Räty's teammate with Finland during the World Junior Classic where the 20-year-old mostly played a checking role on the team's fourth line. However, Liukas is not just a guy who likes to throw his 6'2" 200 lbs. frame around. He is also skilled, playing top-line minutes with HPK this season.

During the team's one game last week, defeated by SaiPa, Liukas failed to register a point but managed four shots on goal. He currently has eight points (three goals, five assists) in the team's 20 games this season.

Liukas was named to Team Finland for the Karjala Cup, a tournament between Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Czechia, beginning on November 10. Liukas will be the youngest member of the team and will likely play a more checking-style role.

Calle Odelius, Djurgardens, HockeyAllvenskan, (2022, 2nd Round)

Now playing in the second division of Swedish hockey on a young Djurgardens team, Calle Odelius has struggled a bit out of the blocks. However, the young Swede is only 18-years-old and playing in a league with mostly grown men.

Odelius was at one point this season dropped down to the team's U20 team, likely for more ice time, where he managed to register an assist in his one appearance. In total, Odelius has totaled only two points in 16 games with the senior team.

Last week, he managed to find his name on the score sheet, registering an assist in the team's 5-4 victory at AIK. Though Odelius may not be putting up the numbers, he is contributing to the team which won each of its three games last week.

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