New York Islanders: Likeliness Each of Their Top 5 Prospects Will Play in 2012
Hockey Prospectus ranks the organizational depth of the New York Islanders second best in the NHL, while Hockey's Future has the Islanders' depth as the seventh best of all the NHL. The two sites are in consensus, ranking the Florida Panthers first overall.
With the Islanders' strong organizational depth, they hope that their future is as bright as their social media marketing campaign was that saw John Tavares get to the semifinals of the NHL 13 cover vote.
Today we'll take a look at the top five prospects in the Islanders system, according to Hockey's Future, and predict the likelihood that we'll see them in Long Island this season.
Nino Niederreiter: 99 Percent
I'm still going to consider the man they call El Nino a prospect.
Nino Niederreiter's rookie campaign was brutal. There is no other way to put it. It was more the Islanders' fault than Nino's, pairing him on a line with afterthoughts Marty Reasoner and Jay Pandolfo for the majority of the season.
There is also no proof of how much of an affect the hit by Mark Fistric of the Dallas Stars had.
Niederreither told Newsday that he wants to “make a statement” in the upcoming season. He certainly has a chip on his shoulder, and that can be scary for a player of his caliber.
With 50-plus games now under Niederreiter's belt, it is pretty much a given that we'll see him with the Islanders, at the very least, for part of the season.
You can certainly look for him to improve on his rookie campaign, which saw him score just one point.
Ryan Strome: 45 Percent
Nobody denies the skill of Ryan Strome. If you choose to deny it, check out the video above, and I dare you to deny it still.
What had Strome stuck in the OHL last season was not his skill.
It was his size and experience.
With another year of experience under his belt, and 68 more points in just 46 games, it's only a matter of time.
The center is über talented and will be a force once he's with the Islanders. He's likely to start in the OHL again, but he could have an impact similar to what Sean Couturier had with the Flyers last season if and when he is called up to the team.
Calvin De Haan: 70 Percent
The question isn't "when" for Calvin De Haan; it's "if."
As in, if De Haan is healthy.
Numerous shoulder injuries have continued to sideline the talented Islanders defenseman. If he can stay healthy for an extended period of time, he can finally play consistently with John Tavares for the first time since they were teammates in 2009.
As long as he can remain on the ice, expect to see De Haan with the Isles for the 2012-13 season.
Brock Nelson: 10 Percent
Those who either attended or tuned in to the Islanders' annual prospect game had to have been shocked by the transformation of Brock Nelson.
He looks like a completely different player.
He looked very strong and has grown into the frame into which the Islanders hoped he would when they drafted him in 2010.
Head coach Jack Capuano was impressed as well saying, “His power has really improved from a year ago” (h/t The Hockey News).
Is it likely that we will see Nelson for an extended time with the Islanders this season?
However, his future for the Islanders looks very bright.
Matt Donovan: 90 Percent
The fourth-round pick of the Islanders in the 2008 draft, Matt Donovan has blossomed into one of the team's better prospects.
He saw three games with the Isles toward the end of last season. The Islanders are hoping that at least one of Donovan, Aaron Ness and Calvin De Haan can step up and make the team right out of the gate for the 2012-13 season.
If I had to put my money on one, it would be Donovan.
I fully expect Donovan to perform, open up with the 2012-13 Islanders and be a key member of their defense for years to come.
Bonus: Griffin Reinhart: 2 Percent
Well, I suppose we needed to fit in Griffin Reinhart, the Islanders first-round selection in the 2012 NHL draft.
It's believed that Reinhart is approximately two years away from joining the Islanders. While he still has some time, he is expected to be a force once he is finally ready.
The Islanders will have the defensive size they've lacked in recent years whenever Reinhart is finally ready.
Christopher Benini is a New York Islanders Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and can be followed here.