Sunday, July 30, 2017

31 Teams in 31 Days - New York Islanders

The Islanders only had one prospect play in the OHL this year.

1. Mitchell Vande Sompel - London Knights
Have to admit, the trade to London this year definitely didn't do much for Vande Sompel's development. He was having quite the year for Oshawa, averaging a point per game and really looked like a top flight, first pairing OHL defender. But in London, his ice time and role really fluctuated. As a defender, he saw powerplay time, but his 5 on 5 time was limited at times. He was also used as a forward a fair amount, especially on the penalty kill, where his skating ability can be an asset. Was great for London to have him as depth for their playoff run, but I don't think it was great for Vande Sompel's on ice progression as a player. Size is always going to be the issue for Vande Sompel, although I think it's obvious that he's filled out and as such, he's having more success winning one on one battles in the defensive end. And his skating ability and point shot make him a lethal weapon from the back end offensively. But just how well that translates to the next level remains to be seen. Quite frankly, he and former Isles prospect Jesse Graham, are probably comparables and Graham certainly struggled to adapt to the AHL level defensively. Of course, the Islanders could always convert Vande Sompel to a forward if he struggles, but that's likely a last resort. Of all the players graduating to the pros next year, Vande Sompel is one of the guys I'm most curious about seeing how he fares. If he excels offensively and is among the league's leading scorers among rookie blueliners, I wouldn't be surprised. But if he struggled and had to see time in the ECHL, I also wouldn't be surprised. Needless to say...I don't know what to expect!

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