NY Islanders Prospect Report: Week of 11/14-11/20

New York Islanders Training Camp
New York Islanders Training Camp / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The Bridgeport Islanders have returned to their winning ways after dropping their previous four games. The NY Islanders AHL affiliate was victorious in two of their three matchups last week with wins over the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and the Providence Bruins.

The B-Isles have a new teammate as Lou Lamoriello waived forward Nikita Soshnikov, with the 29-year-old Russian reporting to Bridgeport. The addition of Soshnikov has thrown a bit of a wrench in the B-Isles lineup, as there was no subsequent call-up to the big club. Players who otherwise would be in the lineup night in and night out are now finding themselves in the team suite as a healthy scratch.

As international tournaments are set to begin play in the upcoming weeks, another Islanders prospect is selected to represent his country. Meanwhile, another is chosen to wear the ‘C’ for his club. 

Let’s take a look at the week that was for the Isles prospects.

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

In his final season in the OHL, Matthew Maggio was named captain of the Windsor Spitfires. Playing under former NHL great Marc Savard, Maggio will lead the Spitfires on their quest for the Memorial Cup.

As the Spitfires went 1-1 last week, they were slightly edged out by the Sarnia Sting and blew the doors off the Kitchener Rangers.

As Windsor hit the road for its matchup with Kitchener, Maggio found the back of the net for his first goal as captain while adding another assist. 

With just under 14 minutes to play in the third, Maggio received a stretch pass at the blue line, springing him in on a breakaway. Maggio kept ahead of two Rangers defensemen and beat the goaltender (a sight Islanders fans would love to see in the NHL) to extend the Spitfires' lead.

Maggio now has 24 points (12 goals 12 assists) through 17 games this season.

Daylan Kuefler, Kamloops Blazers, WHL (6th Round, 2022)

As he has shown all season, Daylan Kuefler is more than capable of producing points. On Friday night in Portland, Kuefler showed his teammates and fans that he is willing to do whatever the team needs him to do.

As a scuffle broke out behind the Portland Winterhawks net, Kuefler stepped in to pull one of the Winterhawks’ players out of the scrum. Words were exchanged, and the two dropped the gloves. Kuefler got his right arm loose and began unleashing haymakers before the two fell to the ice and the officials stepped in.

Aside from his lopsided victory with the fisticuffs, Kuefler also scored, falling only an assist shy of a Gordie Howe Hat-Trick.

The goal was Kuefler’s ninth of the campaign to go along with eight assists in 17 games.

Alex Jeffereis, Merrimack University, NCAA (4th Round, 2020)

The 9-3 Merrimack Warriors are ranked No. 13 in the country, with Isles prospect Alex Jefferies leading the way.

Jefferies is riding a four-game point streak for the 9-3 Warriors as they continue to climb the national rankings.

Just as he has so often this season, Jefferies assisted on a Matt Copponi goal, giving the Warriors the 1-0 advantage. The goal proved to be the game-winning goal in a 3-0 shutout for the Warriors.

Jefferies has racked up 14 points (four goals, four assist on the season)so far this season.

Isaiah George, London Knights, OHL (4th round, 2022)

In his seventh appearance of the season, Isaiah George recorded his first goal, albeit in a 6-4 loss to the Flint Firebirds.

George received the puck at the point where he found a lane toward the net and unleashed a wrist shot to beat the Firebirds goalie clean.

George, who recorded three points last week, now has four points on the season.

The Knights are surging up the OHL standings since George’s return from an injury suffered during islanders training camp.

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

As Quinn Finley continues to rack up points in the USHL, USA Hockey has recognized the future Wisconsin Badger as one of the top Junior A players and has named him to the USA World Junior A Challenge team.

Finley will travel with the stars and stripes to Cornwall, ON, beginning Dec. 11, as the USA begins its quest for gold. Their opening match will be against Canada West in the five-team tournament.

Finley continued adding to his point total this season with four more assists. The 18-year-old now has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 14 games for Madison this season.

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

As Eetu Liukas finished his time with the Finnish National Team, he made his return to HPK, where he continued to produce while playing top-line minutes. Liukas found the back of the net in his first game back in Liiga as HPK defeated his former team TPS Turku, 2-1. Liukas' five shots lead all HPK players.

Liukas wasn’t the only player with Islanders ties in this matchup, as former first-round pick Michael Dal Colle was in the lineup for TPS in his first year playing in Finland. 

In Liukas' second game of the week, he wasn't as prosperous as HPK was blanked 4-0 by JYP, registering a -3 rating. 

HPK sits towards the bottom of the standing in Liiga and will look to remain out of the relegation zone as the season rolls on.

Liukas has nine points (four goals, five assists) on the season while racking up 43 penalty minutes.

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

As Calle Odelius and his Djurgardens team try to gain promotion back to the SHL, Odelius has been a significant cog within the defensive unit.

Though his numbers haven’t been much to admire, the Isles' second-round pick in 2022 has shown his potential to compete at the professional level.

Odelius still only has three points on the season (all assists), but points don’t nearly tell the whole story about an 18-year-old playing with professionals.

Odelius failed to register a point last week as Djurgardens dropped their second game in a row. They currently sit in second place in HockeyAllsvenskan.

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

Still, one of the biggest surprises for the Bridgeport Islanders is the production they are getting from Samuel Bolduc.

Last week, Bolduc found his way back to the scorer's sheet after failing to register a point the week prior. Bolduc assisted on two goals, one each against Scranton-Wilkes Barre and Providence. In the game with Providence, Bolduc also contributed six shots, as his confidence has not faltered.

Bolduc remains one of the top-scoring defensemen in the AHL at nearly the quarter mark of the season. His 14 points (two goals, 14 assists) are tied for the team lead with Ruslan Iskhakov.

It’s hard to imagine that Bolduc wouldn’t be the first defenseman called up if there was an injury to the blue line, even with Grant Hutton being a late cut from the eIsles during training camp.

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

It was hard to imagine that Iskhakov could keep up the torrid pace he was on to start his rookie campaign in the AHL. The 22-year-old has seemed to come back to earth as the incredible start to his season has slowed down.

Failing to register a point in his previous five games, Iskhakov is even finding it difficult to locate his name on the game-day roster.

As Nikita Soshnikov went unclaimed on waivers and has reported to the B-Isles, the NHL Isles have yet to make a subsequent call-up. This has Bridgeport operating with an extra forward, causing someone to be scratched each night.

On Sunday, Iskhakov drew the short stick as he was a healthy scratch against Providence in the B-Isles 3-2 OT victory.

It’s hard to believe that the B-Isles would find it beneficial to sit the reigning AHL rookie of the month for a 29-year-old returning to North America for the first time in four seasons.

Iskhakov should be back in the lineup this week and will hopefully take the benching as a way to re-energize his game and find his form from the first month of the season.

Iskhakov still leads the B-Isles with 14 points (four goals, ten assists) this season.

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

Iskhakov was not the only player to find himself in a suit and not on the ice last week. Fellow rookie William Dufour was also scratched from the lineup in favor of Soshnikov.

Dufour did not participate in the B-Isles 4-1 defeat to the Charlotte Checkers in a surprise move.

Head Coach Brent Thompson said he was looking for more of a 200 ft. game from Dufour - a message to the 20-year-old rookie.

The message was received by Dufour, as the former Memorial Cup champion provided a goal and an assist both on the powerplay in his first game back in action. Dufour gathered the puck on the left wall and showed off the shot that produced 56 goals last season. Dufour beat the goaltender clean on the far side to nod the game up at one.

Sunday, Dufour added his second of the week, coming directly off a center ice face-off. As Providence won the draw, Dufour swooped in and poked the puck from the defender putting him in all alone with the goalie. Again, He showed off that quick release leaving the goaltender with no hope.

Dufour is tied for the team lead in goals this season with six.

Simon Hölmstrom, Bridgeport Islanders, AHL (1st Round, 2019)

As the NY Islanders have an open roster spot, Simon Hölmstrom is looked at as one of the front runners to occupy the hole. The most experienced forward of the four prospects, Hölmstrom seems to be the most likely candidate, but his play is looking otherwise.

Hölmstrom was held scoreless in each of Bridgeport's three games last week. Even though he isn't finding the back of the net, Hölmstrom's shot totals have been among the best for Bridgeport. He totaled three, six, and three shots, respectively, last week.

We will have to see if Hölmstrom gets a crack with the big club, but Lou Lamoriello has to be hesitant to give his former first-round kick an opportunity at this point. 

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

Aatu Räty is continuing his solid start to his AHL career, finding ways to contribute night in and night out. In Sunday's matinee against Providence, Räty scored the overtime winner for the B-Isles in their 3-2 victory.

Following a save by Jakub Skarek, Räty was sprung on a breakaway from mid-ice. In all alone, he put a smooth backhand to forehand move on the goalie, faking him out of his pads.

Räty could also be a candidate to make the jump to the NHL with the Isles' open roster spot. The move, however, would likely require moving either Mat Barzal or Brock Nelson to the wing, which is unlikely after both of their hot starts to the season.

Räty now has seven points (three goals, four assists) on the season.