Noah Dobson
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The New York Islanders added to an already deep prospect pipeline at the 2019 NHL Draft. Today, ESNY ranks the top young guns. 

Justin Weiss

NASSAU — The New York Islanders and Bridgeport Sound Tigers both qualified for the playoffs last season, as the organization continues to trend in the right direction.

Entering the 2019-20 season, the Islanders will have a number of young players compete for roster spots, including Noah Dobson, Oliver Wahlstrom and Bode Wilde — all selected in the first two rounds of the 2018 draft. Currently, the Islanders own one of the top prospect pipelines in the league, and one of their deepest in recent memory.

Here’s a look at where things stand:

1 — Noah Dobson, D

Team: Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) Age: 19 ETA: 2019 DOB: Jan. 7, 2000 Shoots: R Height: 6’4” Weight: 183 lb. Drafted: 2018, 1st (12)

Prospect Talent Score: 8 | Probability of Success: B

Dobson continues to impress scouts with his soft hands and smooth skating. He is a consistent presence on both ends of the ice and has developed a reputation as a well-rounded defenseman. He will fight for a roster spot on the crowded Islanders blueline next season, where he will showcase his natural awareness and strong positioning for Barry Trotz, who prizes these attributes.

2018-19 Stats — Acadie/Rouyn (QMJHL): 56 GP, 15 G, 37 A, 52 PTS, 24 PIM

2 — Oliver Wahlstrom, RW

Team: Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) Age: 19 ETA: 2020 DOB: June 13, 2000 Shoots: R Height: 6’1” Weight: 205 lb. Drafted: 2018, 1st (11)

Prospect Talent Score: 7 | Probability of Success: C

Wahlstrom ranked anywhere from fifth to eighth in the pre-draft rankings, so when he dropped to no. 11, the Islanders pounced. He is an elite offensive talent, with terrific skill and confidence. Simply put, he is the complete package in the offensive zone: smart, skilled and fiercely competitive. While he sometimes struggled to put it all together on a consistent basis with Boston College, scouts are still very high on Wahlstrom’s future.

2018-19 Stats — Boston College (NCAA): 38 GP, 8 G, 11 A, 19 PTS, 28 PIM (Bridgeport/AHL: 5 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 PTS)

New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

3 — Ilya Sorokin, G

Team: CSKA Moskva (KHL) Age: 23 ETA: 2021 DOB: Aug. 4, 1995 Catches: L Height: 6’2” Weight: 176 lb. Drafted: 2014, 3rd (78)

Prospect Talent Score: 8 | Probability of Success: C

When the Islanders signed Semyon Varlamov on July 1, they did so in the hopes that he would help bring over Sorokin from Russia. That’s the biggest question currently facing Sorokin: Will he ever come over to the states? There’s no questioning Sorokin’s terrific athleticism and reflexes; he reminds many of a young Sergei Bobrovsky. However, his commitment to the Islanders has always been the question.

2018-19 Stats — CSKA Moskva (KHL): 40 GP, 1.16 GAA, .940 SV%

4 — Bode Wilde, D

Team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL) Age: 19 ETA: 2020 DOB: Jan. 24, 2000 Shoots: R Height: 6’2” Weight: 192 lb. Drafted: 2018, 2nd (41)

Prospect Talent Score: 7 | Probability of Success: B

On the heels of a 70-point OHL campaign, Wilde seeks to take his talents to Bridgeport. He was ranked as high as no. 13 in the 2018 pre-draft rankings, so when the Islanders pounced in the second round — 28 picks later — many analysts deemed it to be the pick of the draft. Wilde is a hard-nosed, 200-foot player who gives opponents fits in the defensive zone. He plays a high-risk, high-reward game, but has a future anchoring the power play.

2018-19 Stats — Saginaw Spirit (OHL): 62 GP, 19 G, 51 A, 70 PTS, 38 PIM

5 — Kieffer Bellows, LW

Team: Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) Age: 21 ETA: 2019 DOB: June 10, 1998 Shoots: L Height: 6’1” Weight: 194 lb. Drafted: 2016, 1st (19)

New York Islanders

Prospect Talent Score: 6.5 | Probability of Success: C

Bellows’ descent in the rankings (he was ranked no. 1 last year) can be attributed more to the 2018 class’ successes than to his own struggles. However, in 73 games, the tough, hard-nosed forward scored just 12 goals, which is a concerning sign for the 21-year-old, who also struggled in his one and only season with Boston University of the NCAA. With good puck handling skills and the requisite size and strength to fill a power forward role, Bellows should scratch the Islanders roster in 2019 or 2020.

2018-19 Stats — Bridgeport (AHL): 73 GP, 12 G, 7 A, 19 PTS, 101 PIM

6 — Simon Holmström, RW

Team: HV71 J20 (SuperElit) Age: 18 ETA: 2020 DOB: May 24, 2001 Shoots: L Height: 6’1” Weight: 183 lb. Drafted: 2019, 1st (23)

Prospect Talent Score: 7 | Probability of Success: C

Holmström was a surprise first-round pick by the Islanders in 2019, after analysts had him as low as 58 in the pre-draft rankings. However, Holmström is a high character kid with a good two-way game, and it’s his ability to change speeds and distribute in the offensive zone that likely made an impression on the Islanders. Cause for concern? He was hampered by a series of injuries, including pre-season hip surgery.

2018-19 Stats — HV71 J20 (SuperElit): 21 GP, 7 G, 13 A, 20 PTS, 10 PIM

Could New York Islanders' Linus Söderström Sign a Professional Contract this Offseason?
New York Islanders goaltender Linus Soderstrom. (Brandon Titus/Inside Hockey)

7 — Linus Sӧderstrӧm, G

Team: Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) Age: 22 ETA: 2019 DOB: Aug. 23, 1996 Catches: L Height: 6’4” Weight: 196 lb. Drafted: 2014, 4th (95)

Prospect Talent Score: 6.5 | Probability of Success: C

Sӧderstrӧm missed the entire 2018-19 season with lower-body injuries, so his North American debut is still on hold. But for the big-bodied 22-year-old, the upcoming campaign is an opportunity to prove that he has a future in the pros. Sӧderstrӧm has a well-documented struggle with Asperger Syndrome and ADHD, so his success is an inspiration to many people.

2018-19 Stats — Bridgeport (AHL): DNP

8 — Ruslan Iskahov, C

Team: Univ. of Connecticut (NCAA) Age: 20 ETA: 2020 DOB: July 22, 2000 Shoots: L Height: 5’8” Weight: 152 lb. Drafted: 2018, 2nd (43)

Prospect Talent Score: 6.5 | Probability of Success: C

Iskahov made a name for himself playing for UCONN this season, where he flashed his elite playmaking ability and high hockey IQ. When the Islanders drafted him 43rd overall in 2018, there was no doubt that he was a super talent — the problem was his diminutive stature. At just 5’8”, 152 lb., he faces an uphill, yet feasible battle to make an NHL roster. It will be interesting to see how he matches up with bigger and better talent.

2018-19 Stats — Univ. of Connecticut (NCAA): 32 GP, 6 G, 15 A, 21 PTS, 20 PIM

9 — Otto Koivula, LW

Team: Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) Age: 20 ETA: 2019 DOB: Sept. 1, 1998 Shoots: L Height: 6’4” Weight: 220 lb. Drafted: 2016, 4th (120)

Prospect Talent Score: 5.5 | Probability of Success: B

At 6’4”, 220 lb., Koivula is large — really large. That he also has soft hands and three years of professional experience can only be seen as positives for the 20-year-old. Last season, he was one of the top rookies in the AHL, where he showcased his size and skill. Normally, this would be enough to catapult him into the discussion of a top-5 prospect; with his low-end speed, however, his ranking is significantly lower.

2018-19 Stats — Bridgeport (AHL): 69 GP, 21 G, 25 A, 46 PTS, 28 PIM

10 — Robin Salo, D

Team: SaiPa (Liiga) Age: 20 ETA: 2021 DOB: Oct. 13, 1998 Shoots: L Height: 6’1” Weight: 187 lb. Drafted: 2017, 2nd (46)

Prospect Talent Score: 6 | Probability of Success: D

Salo is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons in the Finnish elite league, but he is playing with men, so analysts have yet to sound the alarm on his struggles. Like many young defensemen in the Islanders system, Salo is a mobile, smooth-skating blueliner, but unlike many of his peers, his offensive game is fairly limited.

2018-19 Stats — SaiPa (Liiga): 57 GP, 4 G, 12 A, 16 PTS, 20 PIM

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