With the NHL Entry Draft about a month away, Islanders Nation is breaking down some of the top prospects the New York Islanders have acquired in past years to see what positions and players the team should pick up this year.
This past season, the Islanders transformed from the worst defensive team in the NHL into one of the best. From 293 goals allowed (the worst in the NHL for more than a decade) to 191 goals allowed (the best this season).
The sudden defensive prowess combined with Devon Toews’ outstanding rookie season put a spotlight on the Isles’ defensive prospects throughout the year. So, that’s where this prospect watch is starting.
Drafted 12th overall just last summer, Noah Dobson has every Islanders fan excited for the future. He won both the CHL Memorial Cup Championship and the QMJHL Championship in both of the previous two seasons and was named the MVP of the QMJHL Playoffs this year. During those playoffs, he scored 29 points (8 goals, 21 assists) in 20 games. Throughout the rest of the season, he had 52 points (15 goals, 37 assists) in 56 games. A fast defenseman with incredible skating abilities, Dobson knows exactly where to be on the ice at all times and how to carry the puck. He also has both soft hands and a hard shot, making him an ideal two-way defenseman and exactly what the Islanders need.
Another amazing product of the Canadian junior leagues, Bode Wilde was drafted 41st overall in the second round of last year’s Draft. This year with the Saginaw Spirit, he played 62 games and scored 70 points (19 goals, 51 assists). He had 9 points (7 goals, 2 assists) in the OHL playoffs. Though Saginaw did not make the championship round, Wilde won silver in the U18 World Junior Championships with the USA team. Wilde is a constantly-moving player with great footwork and skating speed. He constantly chases down the puck and closes open shooting lanes. He also has a hard shot and good size for strong hits. He should fit in well with Trotz’s stingy style of play.
Not to be confused with the Carolina Hurricanes forward, the Sebastian Aho on the Bridgeport Soundtigers also knows how to score. This year, he accumulated 46 points (9 goals, 37 assists) in 67 regular season games. He also had two assists during the Soundtigers’ short run in the AHL playoffs. Throughout the regular season, Aho also only served 36 penalty minutes, which, assuming none were majors, is only 18 penalties all year. Another fast, smooth skater with crisp passes, Aho is a level-headed defenseman who knows how to carry the puck start a play. Although he had little success his first time called up to the NHL in the 2017-18 season, Aho should find a better fit under Trotz.
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