NY Islanders were one of two teams without even an honorable mention on prospect list

New York Islanders Preseason Camp
New York Islanders Preseason Camp / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

If you haven't heard, the New York Islanders prospect pool isn't held in high regard.

The latest example of this was Scott Wheeler of The Athletic, ranking the top 75 prospects. The story features 45,000 words of analysis, 75 players, 40 honorable mentions, and zero representation from the Islanders. The team is one of four, along with the Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers, and Vegas Golden Knights, without a prospect in the Top 75, but only the Isles and the Sens have the distinction of failing to receive even an honorable mention.

This is hardly a shock considering Wheeler ranked the Islanders prospect pool dead last in the NHL earlier this season. The overall consesus was that there's some NHL-level talent (Simon Holmstrom still qualified as a prospect by the way), but few players that have the skillset to become difference makers anytime soon. A top his rankings was 19-year-old pukc-moving defenseman Calle Odelius who has been far from prolific in the Swedish professional league and 18-year-old Danny Nelson, the 2023 second-round pick who is playing his freshman season at Notre Dame.

The third-ranked player on his list was Matthew Maggio, the 2022 5th-round pick who led the OHL in goals (54) and points (111) last season. After his Windsor Spitfires were ousted unexpectedly early from the playoffs, Maggio had a three-game cameo with Bridgeport and then impressed at September's training camp as a hard worker who had intangibles and work ethic to make him a viable NHL prospect moving forward.

Maggio scored goals on Saturday and Sunday and is now up to 12 goals this season. During this most recent nine-game stretch, the 21-year-old has six goals and three assists as the professional game has slowed down a bit. He's showing off the skills that made him the top offensive player in the OHL season, including a goal on Sunday that displayed a lightning-quick release as he took a pass from Ruslan Iskhakov and turned into the type of goal that makes you take notice.

Fans are generally too high on their team's own prospects, wrongly assuming that more than most will make an impact at the NHL level. With the Islanders' prospect pool, expectations are remakrably low, given all the negative forecasts. That's understandable since the team has gone without a first-round pick since 2019, so the projected high-end talent isn't believed to be in the pipeline.

Still, you get the feeling that players like Maggio will be NHL contributors and are still hoping that Iskhakov eventually gets a shot and that William Dufour will take more strides in Bridgeport as well. We've watched first-rounders from Michael Dal Colle to Josh Ho-sang and even Oliver Wahlstrom struggle to earn their spot as NHL regulars while Kyle MacLean, an undrafted free agent is looking like he can carve a role moving forward. Just because the Islanders may not have the next Mathew Barzal coming, doesn't mean their propsects won't be able to plug some holes in years to come.