TSP: New York Islanders Prospects

VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 27: Noah Dobson #6 of Canada celebrates with teammate Barrett Hayton #27 after scoring a goal against Switzerland in Group A hockey action of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship action on December, 27, 2018 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Welcome to the 2019 Top Shelf Prospects series. As we go through the Summer of 2019 LWOH will be featuring a team-by-team look at the top prospects in the NHL. We will be following the order of the first round of the NHL draft (as if there were no traded draft picks) and you can find all the articles here.  Since we had an extensive NHL Draft preview, we will not be reviewing the players who were drafted in the 2019 draft, as there have been no games since then, and our reports on them will not have changed. Today, we look at the New York Islanders Prospects.

What we will be doing is linking you to those articles, as well as taking a look at prospects that were acquired before this year’s draft; their progress, and their chances of making the 2019-20 roster of the NHL team in question. We will also bring you one sleeper pick – a player who was either drafted in the 4th-round or later, or was an undrafted free agent signing who we pick as our dark horse to make the NHL. For those wondering, the cut-off for what is or isn’t a prospect is typically about 50 NHL games played (including playoff games) or is 25 years old. These are not hard or fast rules though, and we may make some exceptions depending on the circumstances.

New York Islanders Prospects

When John Tavares left the Islanders for the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1st, 2018, most analysts believed that the Islanders were destined to miss the 2019 playoffs and be one of the worst teams in the league. However, the Islanders had other ideas. With Barry Trotz as the team’s new head coach, and Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss becoming one of the top goalie tandems in the league, the Islanders took second in the Atlantic Division. Once the playoffs began, the team had another shocker up their sleeve, sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. The Islanders would end up losing in the next round though, falling in four games to the Carolina Hurricanes.

It was another off-season of change for the Islanders, with Lehner leaving as a free agent. He was replaced with free-agent signee Semyon Varlamov. Centre Valtteri Filppula also left, with the Islanders adding Derick Brassard. On defence, Dennis Seidenberg and Luca Sbisa also left the team but the Islanders believe that those holes can be filled internally.

2019 Draft Picks (Grade C-): Simon HolmstromSamuel BolducReece NewkirkFelix BibeauCole Coskey,
Graduations: Joshua Ho-Sang, Devon Toews, Ross Johnston (age),

 

Top Prospect: Noah Dobson

Defence — shoots Right
Born January 7th, 2000 — Summerside, Prince Edward Island
Height 6’4″ — Weight 183 [193 cm/83 kg]
Drafted by the New York Islanders in the 1st round, #12 overall at the 2018 NHL Draft

Dobson had another fantastic season in the QMJHL. With the Acadie-Bathurst Titan rebuilding after their Memorial Cup win, he was sent to Rouyn-Noranda at the Trade Deadline. Overall, Dobson scored 15 goals and 37 assists for 52 points in 58 regular-season games. He was named to the league’s first All-Star Team.

Dobson was even better in the playoffs, scoring eight goals and 29 points in 20 games and winning the league’s playoff MVP award. He added a goal and three points in five games, being named to the tournament All-Star team and winning his second straight Memorial Cup. He also played for Team Canada at the World Juniors, scoring one goal in five tournament games.

Skating

Dobson is a very good skater, with excellent top-end speed in both directions and good acceleration. He has a long and powerful stride, and this allows him to fight through checks when he has the puck. Dobson has good balance, and this helps him in battles in front of the net and in the corners. He is a big and powerful player. His pivots and edgework are also very good, allowing him to cover a ton of ice as well as transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa.

Offensive Game

Dobson also has the passing and skating skills to move the puck up the ice and provide some offence from the backend. He is a good playmaker, who can create off the rush, and play a quarterback role on the powerplay. He has the vision and smarts to find the open man, and the passing skill to thread the needle through tight openings. Dobson uses his agility to walk the line and open up passing and shooting lines.

Dobson has a bomb of a slapshot and one-timer and he lets both fly from the blue line. He really gets his whole body behind the shot and will be even more dangerous as he continues to grow. Sometimes he sneaks in from the point and can let go an effective wrist shot with a very good release.

Defensive Game

Dobson plays a strong defensive game, with good positioning and gap control. His strong skating allows him to keep attackers in front of him and force them to the outside. He keeps himself between the puck and the net and uses a long and active stick to cut down passing lanes. Dobson is not afraid to put his body on the line to block shots. He battles hard along the boards, and wins most of his battles at the junior level, but can still get stronger. He is also very good at clearing the front of the net. Dobson has also been known to throw a big hit from time-to-time, but these are rare as he works hard not to get caught out of position.

Outlook

Dobson is in a position where he must either play in the NHL or be sent back to the QMJHL. After being the top defenceman on the Memorial Cup winner two years in a row, there is not a lot for him to do in the QMJHL. However, the Islanders are also deep on the blueline and he is still just 19-years-old. Expect Dobson to start the season in the NHL, however if he struggles it might only be a nine-game tryout. If sent back to Junior, he should be a key piece of Canada’s World Junior Team and is a potential captain.

 

Prospect #2: Ilya Sorokin

Goalie – Shoots Left — Catches Left
Born August 4th, 1995 — Mezhdurechensk, Russia
Height 6’2″ Weight 176 lbs [188 cm / 80 kg]
Drafted by the New York Islanders in the 3rd round, 78th overall at the 2014 NHL Draft

Sorokin had another strong season with CSKA Moscow, putting up a 1.16 goals-against-average and .940 save percentage along with 11 shutouts in 40 games. He also put up a 1.19 goals-against-average, .947 save percentage and five shutouts in 20 playoff games, leading the team to the Gagarin Cup. Sorokin was part of the Russian team at the World Championships but did not play. He won a bronze medal.

Skating and Talent Assessment

Sorokin has good height at 6’2″ but is extremely slight as he weighed just 176 pounds last year. He is an extremely athletic, butterfly style goaltender. He gets side-to-side quickly and makes a number of saves that will leave make jaws drop. Sorokin never fully gives up on a play and can show very quick recoveries. He has outstanding reflexes and his quick legs take away the bottom of the net. Shooters can try to go high but his blocker and glove are very quick too.

He doesn’t fully take advantage of his height as Sorokin could come out further to cut down angles and give shooters less to look at. Sorokin likes to play deep in his crease. He has worked to improve his rebound control over the years and it is now very good. Sorokin also stays square to the puck and even when a rebound is given up, he is in position to make the next stop.

Mental Makeup

Playing behind one of the strongest teams in the KHL, Sorokin can go through long stretches without seeing a shot. Despite this, he stays sharp in his net and is ready to make the next save. He has matured from the team’s backup goalie to their starter over the last few years, and his maturity and self-confidence seem to have grown as well. He is quick to recover from a goal against and does not let things spiral out of control.

Outlook

Sorokin is one of the best goalie prospects in the world. The Islanders would love to bring him over and allow him to compete for the number one job. According to EliteProspects, his KHL contract runs through the 2019-20 season. The Islanders will look to sign him as soon as the season is done and get him over to North America as soon as possible.

 

Prospect #3: Bode Wilde

Defence — shoots Right
Born January 24th, 2000 — Montreal, Quebec
Height 6’2″ — Weight 192 lbs [188 cm/87 kg]
Drafted by New York Islanders in the 2nd round, #41 overall at the 2018 NHL Draft

Wilde chose to go to the OHL after being drafted. He put up 19 goals and 51 assists for 70 points in 62 games for the Saginaw Spirit. He was named to the OHL’s Second All-Star team. Wilde also added seven goals and nine points in 17 games.

Skating

Wilde pairs excellent size with smooth-skating and two-way ability. He is strong on his skates defensively, with the physicality to clear the front of the net as well as win battles in the corners. His speed and footwork allow him to keep attackers in front of him, maintain good gap control and force them to the outside. He also has very good acceleration in both directions. This also allows him to join the rush. Wilde also shows good edgework and pivots. He transitions quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. He also has the agility to walk the line, opening up shooting and passing lanes on the powerplay.

Offensive Game

Wilde has an absolute bomb of a point shot and understands how to keep it low and on the net to give teammates an opportunity for a deflection or rebound. Wilde can really fire the puck. This makes him a real threat from the point. He can also get it done in a variety of ways with an excellent wrist shot, and strong snapshot. His shots all feature a quick release as well. He loves to sneak down from the point and let his shot go from the top of the faceoff circles. Wilde is able to get his shot off, and on net despite traffic.

He is also a very good passer, starting breakouts and making plays at the point. Wilde can start the transition game with his passing skill. He also has the skating and stickhandling skill to rush the puck up the ice. At the blue line, he shows poise with the puck and the patience to set up teammates. He also has the vision and passing ability to run the powerplay. His agility and ability to walk the line allows Wilde to open up passing and shooting lanes. He sometimes takes too many chances though and can be victimized by some bad giveaways.

Defensive Game

Wilde’s defensive game is still work in progress. At times he is a big, physical defender, who controls the game in his own end. However, he is wildly inconsistent. There are other games where he is a liability in his own end. He will need to work on gap control and positioning going forward. He also needs to avoid going for the big hit at times and continue to stay in his defensive position instead.

Outlook

Since he was drafted out of the USHL, and not the OHL, the NHL-CHL transfer agreement does not apply to Wilde. He has some developing to do, especially at the defensive end, before he is NHL ready. Exactly how much is something the Islanders will have to determine at training camp. They have the option to send him to Bridgeport of the AHL or back to Saginaw. He’s at least two or three years away, but the ceiling is very high here.

 

Prospect #4: Oliver Wahlstrom

Right Wing — shoots Right
Born June 13th, 2000 — Quincy, Massachusetts
Height 6’2″ — Weight 209 lbs [188 cm/95 kg]
Drafted by the New York Islanders in the 1st round, #11 overall at the 2018 NHL Draft

Wahlstrom struggled as a freshman with Boston College. However, things seemed to get better in the second half of the year. Overall he put eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points 36 games. Following the season, he signed his entry-level deal with the Islanders. In five regular-season games with Bridgeport, he put up two goals and an assist. He also added two goals and four points in five playoff games. Wahlstrom also played for Team USA at the World Juniors, scoring two goals and four points in seven games and winning a silver medal.

Skating

Wahlstrom is a very good skater. He has a great first step and his acceleration is quick. Sometimes he is coasting in the offensive zone, and quickly changes speeds, catching his defender off guard and finding open ice. His agility and edgework are also very good, allowing him to elude defenders both with and without the puck. His balance and lower body strength allow him to win battles on the boards and fight through checks at the junior level, but can improve as he continues to get stronger.

Offensive Game

One of the best stick handlers in the draft, Wahlstrom has an impressive array of moves. He isn’t afraid to use them in traffic either. While he won’t initiate contact, he does take hits to make offensive plays. He is a very good playmaker. Wahlstrom can extend plays and wait for a teammate to get open. Once they do, he can make a pass through the tightest of openings. He also has a very good wrist shot and outstanding release. However, it is the improvements in his shot that have taken Wahlstrom’s game up a notch.

His shot is also a high level and Wahlstrom loves to use it. He is a pure sniper, and with this aspect of his game improving he is a better and more dangerous player. At his best, Wahlstrom takes a ton of shots, from high danger areas, and putting the puck in the back of the net. He has an outstanding snapshot, wrist shot and slap shot. His release is very quick and can fool goaltenders. He also scores goals in front of the net with good tip-in skills and the quickness to bang in rebounds.

Issues this season seemed to be with reading the play, especially at the higher speeds of the NCAA game. This seemed to improve as the season went on. He also needs to work on being consistent game to game.

Defensive Game

Wahlstrom’s defensive game is a bit of a work in progress. He sometimes seems to puck watch, waiting for a turnover and a chance to go on the attack again. He needs to be more engaged in his own zone, especially if he wants to play in the middle again. Getting involved in more physical battles, and backchecking with more intensity are areas to work on.

Outlook

Wahlstrom’s upside is very high. He has a skill, goal-scoring ability, which is nearly impossible to teach. He needs a bit of work on his defensive game though. The good news is that this is something that can be developed. He can also become more consistent as he matures. Wahlstrom is likely to start the season in the AHL. He could be a callup if he plays well or if there are injuries with the Islanders. Expect him to make a real roster push in 2020.

 

Prospect #5: Sebastian Aho

Defence — shoots Left
Born February 17th, 1996 — Umea, Sweden
Height 5’10” — Weight 170 lbs [178 cm / 77 kg]
Drafted by the New York Islanders in the 5th round, #139 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft

Aho had a big season for Bridgeport. He scored nien goals and 46 points in 67 AHL games. He also added two assists in five playoff games.

Skating

Aho is a bit undersized but makes up for it with his fantastic skating ability. He has very good speed in both directions. Aho can rush the puck up the ice, or make a pinch at the blueline knowing that he can often recover defensively. He also has very good edgework and agility, allowing him to escape forecheckers and move the puck out of danger. Smooth pivots allow Aho to transition quickly from defence to offence and vice-versa. He could stand to be stronger, both in fighting for pucks in the corners and in clearing the front of the net.

Offensive Game

Aho has strong offensive skills. He is a good stick-handler and is calm and composed with the puck. He sees the ice well and can make good passes both to start the transition game and to create plays in the offensive zone. This is especially true on the power play, as he uses his skating ability to create passing lanes and offensive chances. Aho can also skate the puck out of danger in his own end of the ice, starting the transition game that way.

Aho has a very good shot. He gets his wrist shot off quickly, and his slap shot is powerful and accurate. He understands to keep the puck low and allow his forwards to go for rebounds and tip-ins. Aho uses his lateral agility to create shooting lanes and make sure his shots get through to the net. He also likes to sneak down from the point to fire a wrist shot from the circles.

Defensive Game

Aho’s skating makes him tough to beat on the rush. He is also quick with his stick and poke-checks the puck away from opponents. His best asset is retrieving pucks quickly and transitioning them out of the zone. However, lack of size can be an issue. He can be overpowered by bigger forwards in the cycle, leading to long periods of possession and zone time. This limits his ultimate upside.

Outlook

Aho’s puck-moving ability is NHL ready. While there are things to clean up in his defensive game, he is very close to earning a full-time NHL roster spot. Expect him to show his worth at Islanders training camp. However, it will be hard to break through due to the deep Isles team. If he returns to Bridgeport, it will be due to the fact he doesn’t need waivers to go up and down. He could come back to New York if Dobson is sent back to junior.

 

Prospect #6: Simon Holmstrom

The Islanders drafted Holmstrom with the 23rd overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Prior to the draft, we did an in-depth scouting report on Holmstrom. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

Prospect #7: Otto Koivula

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born September 1st, 1998 — Nokia, Finland
Height 6’5″ — Weight 190 lbs [196 cm/86 kg]
Drafted by the New York Islanders in the 4th round, #120 overall at the 2016 NHL Draft

Koivula played his first season in North America and it was a solid rookie campaign for a 20-year-old AHL player. He put up 21 goals and 46 points in 69 games. However, he wasn’t quite as good in the playoffs, picking up just two assists in five games.

Skating

Koivula, like many big players, has some struggles with his skating. His stride is a bit jerky and awkward and this robs him in terms of generating quick acceleration and decent top-end speed. Despite this, good positioning and high-end hockey IQ help him to keep up with the play. He does enough to be involved but does not have the type of speed through the neutral zone to be particularly dangerous on an odd-man rush. His agility and edgework are also average at best. Koivula is strong on his skates and good at battling for position in front of the net or winning battles on the boards.

Offensive Game

Koivula plays a power game. He gets to the front of the net and has the soft hands to finish plays in close. He scores on tip-ins and deflections; by banging in rebounds; and by one-timing passes into the back of the net. Koivula also has a decent wrist shot and good release but does not use it enough from further out. Most of his goals come from the front of the net.

Koivula also does the dirty work for his line. He battles for loose pucks in the corners and controls the puck in the cycle game. With his big body and strong puck-protection skills and quick hands, he is able to keep possession down low. Koivula is able to slow plays down and allow his linemates time to get open. When they do, he can make a strong pass through a tight area to set up a scoring chance. While he is not a huge hitter, he is very effective at using his size and power to help his team create offence.

Defensive Game

Koivula is willing to use his body in the defensive end of the ice as well. He backchecks effectively, supporting the defence down low and helping to contain opposing forwards. He does a good job of keeping opponents to the outside and away from prime scoring areas. Koivula uses his big body and long stick to cut down passing lanes and create turnovers.

Outlook

The big winger likely needs another year in the AHL, though he could be called up if the Islanders have injury concerns at some point. He needs time to continue to work on his skating. Koivula will work to continue to grow into an NHL player, though there are some questions as to his upside. His future may be as a second or third-line winger, complimenting others who will drive the offence on his line.

Prospect #8: Kieffer Bellows

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born June 10th, 1998 — Edina, Minnesota
Height 6’1″ — Weight 200 lbs [185 cm/91 kg]
Drafted by the New York Islanders in the 1st round, #19 overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft

Bellows struggled in his first pro season, scoring just 12 goals and 19 points in 73 games with Bridgeport. He showed flashes of his offensive potential but could not do so on a consistent basis. Bellows continued to play his physical game though, racking up 101 penalty minutes. He also scored two goals and three points in five playoff games.

Skating

Bellows is a good skater, with the speed to get in quickly on the forecheck. He has a quick first step and good acceleration, allowing him to win races to loose pucks. Bellows changes speeds effectively and can use this to fool defenders on the rush. He can beat them to the outside and accelerate to the front of the net or can slow up to open up a shooting lane and use the defender as a screen. Bellows showed power and balance at the junior level but must improve his lower body strength now that he is playing professional hockey.

Offensive Game

Bellows seemed to struggle to adjust to the speed and strength of his opponents during his first year in a men’s league. Things improved as the season went on but there are still big steps to take before he is NHL ready.

Like his father, Kieffer Bellows is a pure sniper. He has a tremendous wrist shot and release, as well as an excellent one-timer. His arsenal also features a heavy snapshot and good backhand. However, he struggled to find open ice and get away from defenders this past season, limiting his scoring opportunities. Bellows also has the soft hands and quick reflexes to get deflections and to pounce on rebounds and score in tight. He is not afraid to get his nose dirty, battling for space in front of the net. He needs to be stronger on his skates to win those battles at this level.

Bellows is more of a physically punishing forward than his father was, as he is more than willing to throw big hits when he gets in on the forecheck. He also shows excellent stickhandling ability, and the agility to beat defenders one-on-one, either off the rush or in the cycle game. Bellows uses his body to protect the puck in the cycle game and extend plays. Bellows sometimes gets a bit of tunnel vision, trying to shoot everything, but when he’s scoring as much as he is, it is hard to blame him too much for that. He can be a good passer, and shows good vision, but must be more consistent in using these skills. Bellows plays the game on the edge and this can sometimes lead to him crossing the line and taking bad penalties. He must dial that back going forward.

Defensive Game

Bellows defensive game also proved to be a work in progress. He was a good defensive player in junior hockey but again had issues dealing with the strength of his opponents. Despite his quick skating, he seemed a step behind the play at times. He will need to learn how to read the play quicker and to keep his feet moving going forward.

Outlook

Bellows needs more time in Bridgeport to round out his game. There are still some big adjustments he will need to make. The ceiling here is very high, but there is work to do. Expect him to spend the full season in the AHL. If he can take steps forward, he could be a roster candidate in 2020.

 

Prospect #9: Michael Dal Colle

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born June 20th, 1996 — Woodbridge, Ontario
Height 6’2″ — Weight 198 lbs [188 cm / 90 kg]
Drafted by the New York Islanders in the 1st round, #5 overall at the 2014 NHL Draft

Much was expected when Dal Colle was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. While it’s true that progress has been slow, it is still progress. He seemed to finally breakthrough last season, scoring 18 goals and 34 points in 34 AHL games. It earned him a callup to the NHL, where he put up three goals and seven points in 28 games played.

Skating

Dal Colle is a very good skater. He has a good stride which provides him with very good top-end speed and excellent acceleration. Dal Colle has good core strength which gives him excellent balance and makes him hard to knock off the puck. He also has excellent agility which combined with this soft hands can give defenders issues when he gets them in one-on-one situations.

Offensive Game

Dal Colle has very good stickhandling ability and soft hands. He can make a number of plays with the puck that others simply can’t do. However, he needs to be able to make these creative plays at top speed in order to take his game to the next level. Dal Colle has shown the ability to play the cycle game protecting the puck down low, and making quick, smart passes. When given openings he drives the net and can show off those soft hands in close. He is also a power winger who is strong on his skates and is not afraid to bulldoze through a defender if necessary. Willing to take a hit to make a play, he’s also unafraid to dish them out. Dal Colle also has a strong and accurate wrist shot with a very good release.

Dal Colle’s biggest issue right now is that he does not make decisions quickly enough. He needs to be more decisive with the puck. He does not have the time and space that he had in junior hockey, and he must adjust. Dal Colle improved his decision making in the AHL this past season and this led to the breakout campaign. If he can adjust at the NHL level, he could still fulfill the promise that saw him drafted so high. If not, he will likely become an effective third or fourth line forward but fail to really make a huge offensive impact.

Defensive Game

Defensively, Dal Colle has really improved in the past couple of years. He fixed his bad habit of puck watching and is much more reliable than he was in his draft year. He backchecks hard and gets into good positions cutting down passing and shooting lanes. Additional positional improvement is still needed. He also helps with good back-pressure.

Outlook

Dal Colle looks to have a leg up on earning a spot in the Islanders lineup this season. He will face competition from players like Tom Kuhnhackl and Ross Johnston though. Dal Colle may never be the top-line player the Islanders hoped for, but he still has the skill to add some secondary scoring in the team’s bottom-six this year.

 

Prospect #10: Mitchell Vande Sompel

Defence — shoots Left
Born February 11th, 1997 — London, Ontario
Height 5’11” — Weight 198 lbs [180 cm / 90 kg]
Drafted by the New York Islanders in the 3rd round, #82 overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft

Vande Sompel had a strong second pro season, putting up 10 goals and 31 points in 70 games with Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He appeared in five playoff games but was held off the scoresheet.

Skating

A classic puck-moving defenceman, Vande Sompel is an excellent skater. He has outstanding speed in both directions and excellent acceleration. He adds strong edgework and agility which allows him to slip by defenders when he rushes the puck up the ice, get back quickly when he is deep in the offensive zone, as well as keep forwards in front of him and force them to the outside when defending. Vande Sompel also has good balance and is strong on his skates and tough to knock off the puck. While he is undersized, his balance helps him in board battles and in front of the net. He could add even more muscle and get better at this. Though his size is always going to be a problem against bigger forwards, his balance helps him to still do a decent job in this area.

Offensive Zone

Vande Sompel is a good passer, with excellent vision. He has good hockey IQ and makes smart plays with his breakout pass, and on the powerplay. He is also a very good stick-handler who can lead the rush, skate the puck out of danger in the defensive zone, or can play with poise on the blue line and be a real quarterback on the power play. His agility allows him to walk the line and open up passing and shooting lanes. Vande Sompel also has a good slapshot and wrist shot with an excellent release. He understands the importance of keeping his shot low, making sure he gets it through to the net, and generating tip-in and rebound opportunities.

Defensive Zone

At 5-foot-11, Mitchell Vande Sompel is a little undersized and has issues with bigger forwards in his own zone. He can be overpowered when defending against the cycle game and trying to defend bigger players down low. While his base is strong and powerful, he needs to add upper body strength. However, his hockey sense and anticipation are very good which allows him to cut down passing lanes. A quick stick allows Vande Sompel to steal the puck from opponents and to cut down on passing lanes. He also has very good positioning.

Outlook

Vande Sompel just completed second year of pro hockey. He has a bit more development to do and is unlikely to break into the deep Islanders defence. Expect to see him in Bridgeport again. Vande Sompel is likely a year or two away from fighting for an NHL job.

 

Sleeper Prospect: Linus Soderstrom

Goalie — shoots Left — Catches Left
Born August 23rd, 1996 — Stockholm, Sweden
Height 6’4″ — Weight 198 lbs [193 cm / 90 kg]
Drafted by the New York Islanders in the 4th round, #95 overall, at the 2014 NHL Draft

Soderstrom was brilliant in 2016-17, leading HV71 to the SHL title. However, injuries have really slowed him down since then. He missed a large chunk of the 2017-18 season due to a shoulder injury and a sports hernia. As such, he was not able to repeat his championship performance. Soderstrom played in just 16 games that year. That lower-body injury became an even bigger issue in 2018-19. It kept Soderstrom from playing at all.

Talent Analysis

At 6-foot-4, Soderstrom fits the mould of taller goaltenders that have become favoured by NHL Scouts in recent years. He takes full advantage of his size, getting out far from his net, and cutting down angles. He is an excellent skater, and his quick backwards push makes him hard to deke. Soderstrom gives shooters very little net to look at. A butterfly goalie, Soderstrom takes away the bottom of the net with his quick legs. He also has a good blocker and glove. He can sometimes get beat up high when he goes down to early.

Soderstrom tracks the puck well. He moves side-to-side quickly. Sometimes he even moves a bit too quickly, and over-sliding can get him out of position. This is an area he will need to clean up. Soderstrom is particularly good with his rebound control, especially for his age.

Outlook

Now healthy, Soderstrom is looking to get back into the Islanders goaltending picture. Just 23-years-old, he still has time, even given missing almost two full years due to injury. Soderstrom may need to start in the ECHL as he works off the rust and gets back to playing hockey. He could quickly rise through the ranks if he finds his past form.

 

System Outlook

Years of drafting high have given the Islanders a very deep system. Forward prospects to watch include Ruslan Iskhakov, Blade Jenkins, Anatoly Golyshev, Jacob Pivonka, Arnaud Durandeau, Bobo Carpenter, and Mason Jobst. On the back end, Samuel Bolduc, Grant Hutton, Parker Wotherspoon, David Quenneville, Ben Mirageas, Robin Salo, and Kyle Burroughs are worth keeping an eye on. The team also has goalie Jakub Skarek in addition to Sorokin and Soderstrom.

 

New York Islanders Prospects Main Photo:

VANCOUVER, BC – DECEMBER 27: Noah Dobson #6 of Canada celebrates with teammate Barrett Hayton #27 after scoring a goal against Switzerland in Group A hockey action of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship action on December 27, 2018, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.