Dom Lunardo | April 17th, 2020
Mathew Barzal, Josh Bailey, Devon Toews, Ryan Pulock, Anthony Beauvillier, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. These are just some of the names that make up a pretty good hockey team in the New York Islanders. on the New York Islanders hockey club. When the face of the franchise, John Tavares left for Toronto last summer (yes, Islander fans are probably still ruing over it to this day), not many expected the team to play as well as they did. The days of the“run and gun” Islanders have been replaced by a solid four-line team, that can break a game open with their skill. In just a few short seasons, the islanders have morphed into one of the most exciting teams in the National Hockey League.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
If you’ve watched (or listened to) a game at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island or Barclay’s Center, in Brooklyn, chances are you’ve hard that famous chant after an Islanders goal. Since the arrival of Barry Trotz as head coach, there’s been a real “watchability” and excitement surrounding the Isles. Often playing second-fiddle to their cross-town Rival, Rangers, the Islanders mean business these days on the ice. What the Islanders also have is a deep pool of talented youngsters at their disposal. Let’s take a closer look at their top-3 prospects and just how good these three can be.
Number 3: Oliver Wahlstrom, Right-Wing, New York Islanders (NHL)/Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL)
Oliver Wahlstrom out of Yarmouth, Maine, starts us off at number three, and that’s only because he’s on a team with such a deep and talented pool of prospects. Man, oh man do the Islanders have themselves a player with Wahlstrom. Drafted in the first round, 11th overall during the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Wahlstrom is an immense talent who’s a force in all three zones. At just 19 years of age, Wahlstrom is a proactive 2-way winger who possesses a legitimate scoring threat on each and every shift. During both the 2019 and 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, Wahlstrom was one of Team USA’s top forwards scoring 3 goals, 6 assists and 9 points in 12 games played. An intelligent and powerful skater, who loves to compete for 50-50 pucks along the wall, Wahlstrom is able to drive play with his elite skill-set and skating ability. The Isles have a real gem in-the-making in Oliver Wahlstrom.
Number 2: Noah Dobson, Defenseman, New York Islanders (NHL)
Noah Dobson is the Islanders’ runner-up as the club’s second most promising prospect, and what a player this kid is! At 6’4, 185 pounds, Dobson is a physical specimen and a smooth-skater at that. He reminds me a lot like Noah Hanifan when he first came up with his knack for moving the puck and eluding oncoming attackers with his wit and edge-work. Dobson is a future-stud in the making on the Islanders blue-line and comes from a rich and storied hockey background. His 4-year junior career with both Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) was nothing short of spectacular, including a 69-point season in 2017-18. His strong play even earned him a spot on Team Canada’s blue-line during the 2019 IIHF World Junior Tournament hosted in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.
Number 1: Ilya Sorokin: Goaltender, CSKA Moskva (KHL)
Ilya Sorokin tops our list as number one as the “best goaltender today, not in the National Hockey League”. Heir to the throne in the Islanders crease, Sorokin has already committed to the Islanders next season, much to the joy and delight of Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello and Islanders fans across the metropolitan area. In 40 games this season for CSKA Moskva in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the Russian netminder has posted a ridiculous 1.50 goals-against-average (GAA) to go along with a .940 save percentage. Not only are these stats phenomenal, but Sorokin carries a certain swagger with him that’s quite atypical of Russian-born goaltenders especially at such a high level. Sorokin is confident, driven, and will have a major point to prove next season in North America. The Islanders have a very bright future with Sorokin leading the charge prospect-wise. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images