New York Islanders – Offseason Prospect System Review

michaelfarkas

2018-08-19

New York Islanders courtesy of icethetics.co

 

Offseason Moves

 

Nothing much happened this summer on Long Island. The organization let go of long-time General Manager Garth Snow and Head Coach Doug Weight, replacing them with Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz, respectively. They “quietly” let franchise player and captain John Tavares escape. Top four oft-injured defenseman Calvin de Haan also walked in free agency.

 

The Isles did bring in famed goalie whisperer Mitch Korn and a new clump of clay to mold in Robin Lehner. They brought in playmaking center/left wing Valtteri Filppula on a one-year deal, as well as KHL star Jan Kovar to try to fill the scoring and positional voids left in Tavares’ wake. To hit opponents Lamoriello in Leo Komarov, traded back for Matt Martin, and for some reason re-signed Ross Johnston to a four-year deal.  

 

In other words, opponents are going to pay a heavy pain tax for watching Mathew Barzal try to shoulder the load of a team that lacks scoring depth and speed.

 

 

Graduating Players

 

At long last, 2013 first round pick Ryan Pulock has gained solid footing in the NHL and had a breakout performance with 10 goals and 32 points in 68 games. The former Brandon Wheat King has one of the leagues hardest shots and can score from distance.

 

Goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis ages off the list and out of the organization to sign with Dinamo Riga in the KHL, where he will join forces Vladislav Tretiak’s grandson Maxim. 

 

 

Risers

 

Otto Koivula – The big Finn had his point totals deflated slightly from the impression he made as a rookie, but his overall game has improved. Koivula played on Finland’s third line at the World Junior Championships in January, netting two points in five games. His skill level is improving, as is his shot. His first step is not at all quick and it takes him several strides to get up to speed. Koivula signed his entry-level deal in March and will play in the AHL in 2018-19.

 

Yannick Rathgeb – Tough to reason that a recent undrafted signing is a riser, but Rathgeb’s potential to play in the NHL this season calls for some exception. The Swiss standout offers a lot of tools and versatility that make him a useful utility man for a roster. Armed with a quality shot and some ruggedness to his game, Rathgeb can adapt his style to whatever role is needed, and has experience playing forward as well.

 

Christopher Gibson – A late season call-up may have earned Gibson another NHL contract. The short stint behind a porous Islanders defense may have done just enough to open the door for Gibson to earn some more NHL playing time. He will have the benefit of being able to work with Mitch Korn, which could help the 25-year-old’s game get to the next level. Ahead of him on the depth is the talented, but injury-prone, Robin Lehner and the predictable Thomas Greiss.

 

Ilya Sorokin – The Russian goaltender probably can’t have his stock rise too much more at this point without running out of atmosphere. The athletic netminder has strung together three straight seasons of fantastic stats in the KHL. For his career (regular season and playoffs combined), he is 110-61-15 with a 1.80 GAA, .928 save pct. and 33 shutouts in 209 contests. He obviously has the upside to be a whale of a player in the NHL too, but there are going to be some necessary adjustments when he comes to North America, likely after his KHL contract expires in April 2020. Depending on what one values, it’s reasonable to have Sorokin in the conversation of world’s best goalie prospects outside the NHL currently.

 

 

Fallers

 

Josh Ho-Sang – This is a bit un