New York Islanders prospect Mitchell Vande Sompel has been ignored, prompting the following question: why?New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow has unearthed a handful of diamonds in the rough over the past couple of years at the NHL Draft.
Mitchell Vande Sompel, the team’s third round selection from a season ago, has gone unnoticed, while fellow classmates Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier and Parker Wotherspoon have been featured under the spotlight.
This is a peculiar manifestation.
Vande Sompel, who played with Michael Dal Colle on the Oshawa Generals for two-and-a-half seasons, is a solid prospect who has disputably been one of the OHL’s top blueliners over the past couple of campaigns.
He’s a good puck distributor with all-zone hockey intelligence and loads of versatility. As an 18-year-old, he was utilized as both a forward and a defenseman, and tallied roughly a point per-game and a 31 +/- rating.
He has the ability to man the point on the power play, and has shown an uncanny ability to join in the rush from the blueline courtesy of his outstanding, agile skating.
So one has to ponder why Vande Sompel isn’t being evaluated as another diamond in the rough. The answer is rooted in the premise that Vande Sompel, listed at 5-10/180 pounds, will never be able to add the “man strength” neccesary to compete in the National Hockey League.
After all, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an NHL blueliner listed under six feet.
But Les (HockeyGoalieEh) of Lighthouse Hockey raised an interesting point: Vande Sompel has a similar body type to that of Jeff Spurgeon, the former Isles late-round draft pick who inked a four-year extension with the Minnesota Wild last winter (and has subsequently thrived alongside Ryan Suter).
Additionally, as the comments section adequately addressed, there have been a couple of guys at Vande Sompel’s height or shorter who have excelled in the big leagues. The list includes Ryan Ellis, Lubomir Visnovsky, Dan Boyle and Tyson Barrie.
The journey to the NHL would be an arduous one for Vande Sompel. Aside from battling the height police, he’d have to deal with the critics skeptical of his 2015-16 campaign.
In 46 games, his point total decreased by twenty five, and his +/- rating dropped to -15. But all need not worry; Isles prospects, with the most recent being Eamon McAdam, have displayed a tendency for being able to bounce back from lackluster seasons.
It should go without saying that the Generals were also horrid, prompting Dal Colle, who was a -13, to get traded to the Kingston Frontenacs, where he posted a +30. It’s unlikely that Dal Colle made a superhuman comeback.
If Vande Sompel were to become another productive mid- to late-round draft pick, the Isles would be gaining another defenseman at a bargain price.
His journey to the National Hockey League will be easier said than done, though.