Kyle Burroughs Is The New York Islanders' Great Unknown
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Kyle Burroughs #40 of the New York Islanders skates with the puck against New Jersey Devils during their preseason game at Barclays Center on October 3, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders seem to be very high on Kyle Burroughs, but a majority of the fan base hasn’t heard of him…yet.

The Islanders’ roster is bursting with defensemen, so it’s unsurprising that there’s a legitimate prospect who has flown under the radar. That prospect is Kyle Burroughs, a 22-year-old from Langley, British Columbia.

Burroughs was drafted in the seventh round of the 2013 NHL Draft, so it’s not exactly hard to see why he isn’t in the conversation for one of the Isles’ coveted roster spots. But everything he’s done since then has led people to believe that he has a future in the NHL. All of the scouts that I spoke to, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed this sentiment.

The word that is most used to describe Burroughs is “reliable.” Said Sound Tigers radio voice Alan Fuehring, “the organization is very high on Kyle… It may take a few injuries with the big club,” but he’s “always reliable.”

Michael Fornabaio of the CT Post confirmed this feeling. “There’s obviously a crowd on defense, but they seem to find him reliable back there.”

That confidence translated into increased playing time for the 22-year-old defenseman, who earned first-pair minutes and contributed to the power play. He finished the season with 3 goals, 21 assists and 116 penalty minutes.

Said one scout, “Burroughs has never backed down from a challenge. It can be a fight or an assignment to shadow a much taller defenseman, but he’s not one to back down.

“That being said, and I mean this in the nicest way, Kyle still isn’t there yet. He has a lot to prove. Most importantly, will he be able to hold his own even though his size isn’t ideal for the NHL?”

That’s the great unknown. At 5’11” and 200 pounds, Burroughs is similar to many other Isles prospects in that his size is an issue. And while he’s surely made strides in the AHL, it’s a completely different game at the next level.

For one thing, the game is faster, and speed doesn’t headline Burroughs’s repertoire. But at the end of the day, hockey at any level will come down to one very important thing: smarts. Burroughs sure has those, so he could be a force at the next level.

It’s extremely doubtful that Burroughs will start the 2017-18 season in the NHL. He’s just a couple of years removed from his draft night, and the Isles blueline is crowded.

Still, the future is bright.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.