What do the NY Islanders have in prospect Matthew Maggio?

Saginaw Spirit v Windsor Spitfires
Saginaw Spirit v Windsor Spitfires / Dennis Pajot/GettyImages

If you haven't checked in the NY Islanders pipeline because it's rather underwhelming, you might not know what prospect Matthew Maggio is up to these days. Maggio is enjoying a career year in the OHL as the captain of the Windsor Spitfires where he's leading the league in points and second in the league in goals scored. And you might be thinking, "well, he plays with Shane Wright." However, the Seattle Kraken prospect has only been there for six games. Maggio's stellar performance this season is mainly on his own merit.

The Islanders drafted Maggio in the fifth round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, 142nd overall. In his draft year, he scored 38 goals and 85 points in 66 games. Through 43 games this season, he's already closing in on his goal scoring total from last year with 35 and is on pace for 105 points this season.

So what do the Islanders have in one of their newest prospects? Is he just a successful CHL player? Or might they have a little more than initially thought?

Heard of the statistic PNHLe? It's an offensive stat that is used to project a player's point potential at the NHL level and is meant to standardize a variety of leagues so that prospects can be compared from one league with another.

For instance, Anders Lee was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Draft. His 35 goals and 66 points in his draft year playing for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL projected Lee closer to the second-line potential threshold for his career. That was pretty accurate from when he was drafted as he grew into a top-six forward where he's spent most of his career between the Islanders' first and second line.

Last year, William Dufour's historic season propelled his PNHLe projection to somewhere between a first and second liner after scoring 56 goals and 116 points in the QMJHL for the Saint John Sea Dogs. He's still in development, but has been coming along nicely for the Bridgeport Islanders with 14 goals in 42 games in his rookie season. So as another fifth-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft, the development seems to be on track.

So where does that leave Maggio? His PNHLe last season projected the then 19-year-old as somewhere between a first and second line forward, closer to a second-liner. He's on track for that same trajectory this season, with 25 more games to go. The Spitfires will indeed be headed to the OHL postseason and have a chance to compete in the Memorial Cup, therefore Maggio's trajectory could continue if he keeps this pace up.

It's important to note that PNHLe isn't perfect. There have been plenty of players that haven't met their projections, but an equal amount that has or surpassed it. A reasonable expectation for Maggio to this point is a bottom-6 forward that can provide a scoring punch. It might take him a few years to get there, but expect his development to continue next season in the AHL with Bridgeport after his junior career ends this summer.