Islanders Puck Talk – Prospects to watch in training camp
Rookie camp is underway for the New York Islanders, and soon enough regular training camp will start. Training camp is all about getting back into shape and having young guys come in and prove themselves against the veterans. The Islanders drafted masterfully this year, picking up a couple of top 10 prospects in Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson. They also drafted perhaps the most underrated player in the draft, Bode Wilde.
Regardless of what happens this season, the Islanders now have a legitimate pipeline of future stars for years to come. They are rated unanimously in the top five prospect wise, and with guys like Mat Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier thriving in the NHL, Garth Snow must have done something right.
There are a few prospects Islander fans should have their eyes on during training camp. While it’s a crowded roster right now, don’t be surprised if one of these guys gets a crack at the opening day roster. Guys like Tom Kuhnhackl and Ross Johnston can be replaced, and unlike the days of old Barry Trotz seems to be open to having some competition in camp. Let’s take a look at the top three candidates for making the opening night roster.
The most obvious choice is Josh Ho-Sang. He is a dynamic player who happens to play right wing, the Islanders biggest weak spot. Head coach Barry Trotz has already stated how much he enjoys Ho-Sang’s game and is looking forward to hopefully having him on the team.
The biggest reason why Ho-Sang might not make the team? He always seems to get in his own way. Whether it be sleeping in during rookie camp and being sent home immediately, or taking true but unnecessary shots at his old coaching staff, Ho-Sang is a lightning rod for controversy. Pair that with his general lack of discipline on defense and you have why he will start the season in the AHL.
The youngest on this list, rookie Noah Dobson is looking forward to making an impact at training camp. While he had some jitters to start rookie camp, he has settled down and from all accounts has been excellent in the past week. Dobson was selected 12th overall by New York, one pick after fellow teammate Oliver Wahlstrom. Wahlstrom decided to forego camp and will report to Boston College this season.
While Dobson doesn’t do anything flashy, he is steady as they come. He is a defensive defenseman with some offensive touch. From most accounts, he and Wahlstrom were both steals that deep in the draft. If Dobson can bulk up in the next few months, he can become a mainstay for years to come. The Islanders need another reliable stay at home defenseman, and with Dobson’s offensive touch he would be a welcome addition to the D crew.
A name that’s popped up over and over since June, Yannick Rathgeb is the dark horse to make this year’s Islanders squad. Rathgeb was signed last January by former General Manager Garth Snow and has impressed since. He is a relatively unknown prospect but keeps showing up in all prospect articles now.
Rathgeb has a bit of a mean streak to him as well. In the NLA he had 115 penalty minutes in 45 games, the most in the league. He also had two 25 minute game suspensions, which obviously inflated his total just a bit. Nonetheless, as long as he doesn’t take any stupid penalties, the Islanders could always use a little extra grit in their lineup.
Training camp should be interesting this year. Other than the familiar faces, pretty much everyone else on the team is unproven. Can Andrew Ladd return to prior form in Winnipeg? Will Brock Nelson ever reach his potential? Which young player is going to step up in the absence of John Tavares? All of these questions will be answered in the upcoming weeks and months, but for now all we can do is speculate who may step up. You never know, there might be another young kid who grabs that brass ring and never lets go.
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