New York Islanders GM Garth Snow continued his tendency to take NCAA-bound players with mid to late-round picks at the 2014 draft, selecting a pair of overagers in Devon Toews and Kyle Schempp. The Islanders have had success drafting NCAA players, with recent picks Kyle Okposo, Brock Nelson, and Anders Lee all becoming impact players for the Islanders. Although the Islanders tend to favour North American players, they selected a pair of European netminders in Linus Soderstrom and Ilya Sorokin. They represent the future in goal for the Islanders, along with collegiate netminders Eamon McAdam and Stephon Williams.
Eamon McAdam, G, Penn State (Big Ten)
Drafted 3rd round, 70th overall, 2013
McAdam has appeared in nine games for the Nittany Lions this season. Penn State has rotated three goaltenders; McAdam has appeared in the least games but has the best winning percentage with a 4-2-1 record. Penn State is in a tough conference featuring long time powerhouses Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Now in its third year as a division one school, Penn State has become more competitive. The Nittany Lions have a winning record in conference play at 8-7-1. McAdam’s numbers reflect the team’s improvement—his save percentage is .031 points higher at .913 and his goals against average is an entire goal lower at 2.91.
Stephon Williams, G, Minnesota State (WCHA)
Drafted 4th round, 106th overall, 2013
Williams has rebounded from a disappointing sophomore season that saw him only appear in 12 games. The former member of the WCHA First Team has backstopped the Mavericks to the best record in the NCAA. Williams has the second lowest goals-against average in the country, allowing just 1.63 goals per game. He is also amongst the leaders in save percentage, at .926. He has three shutouts this season. Minnesota State is currently ranked number two in the country and is looking for the program’s first ever national championship.
Taylor Cammarata, RW, Minnesota (Big Ten)
Drafted 3rd round, 76th overall, 2013
Cammarata is scoring at the same pace he did last year, at .69 points-per-game. He has had trouble finding the back of the net, but he has racked up 21 assists and 23 points. He has the potential to put up big numbers with his vision and hockey sense but needs to find more consistency in his game. Minnesota hasn’t been the powerhouse they were last season, which has affected Cammarata’s production. Minnesota’s lineup hasn’t changed much since they lost in the national championship game last season, and they should be in the mix again this year.
Kyle Schempp, C, Ferris State (WCHA)
Drafted 6th round, 155th overall, 2014
Schempp has taken a step back offensively with 15 points in 32 games, compared to last year’s 25 points. The Bulldogs have struggled to score goals with only 74 this season, although Schempp does lead them in that department with nine. The Saginaw native struggled to produce early on in the season but found his groove in late January. Schempp went on a four game goal scoring streak from January 16th to the 31st scoring the only goal for Ferris State in every one of those games.
Devon Toews, D, Quinnipiac (ECAC)
Drafted 4th round, 108th overall, 2014
The Bobcats sit first in the ECAC and Toews is a major reason why. The British Columbia native has become a leader from the backend and leads the team in scoring from the backend, surpassing last year’s totals with 18 points in 26 games. Toews has appeared in all situations for the Bobcats, playing on both the powerplay and the penalty kill. Quinnipiac is currently ranked 10th in the nation and have a great shot to make the NCAA tournament again after losing in the first round to Providence last season.
Robbie Russo, D, Notre Dame (HE)
Drafted 4th round, 95th overall, 2011
Russo has rebounded in a big way since last season’s academic suspension. He is having his best season to date with 30 points in 34 games, fifth amongst defenseman. Russo is second on the Fighting Irish in scoring behind Chicago draft pick Vince Hinostroza. The former 4th round pick became the first defenseman to register a hat trick this season in a game on January 18th against Connecticut. Russo will turn pro next season and his skills will complement Bridgeport’s defense nicely on the right side.
Doyle Somerby, D, Boston University (HE)
Drafted 5th round, 125th overall, 2012
Somerby has continued to develop on a strong Boston University team lead by top 2015 draft prospect Jack Eichel. Somerby has five assists this season in 31 games. Although he will never be known for his offense, Somerby is a reliable defender with good size and a long reach. The Terriers currently sit sixth in the nation and will be a legitimate national title contender with the most potent offence in the nation. Somerby will spend four years developing at Boston University.
Jake Bischoff, D, Minnesota (Big Ten)
Drafted 7th round, 185th overall, 2012
Bischoff has improved his play for the Golden Gophers this year. The Grand Rapids native has three goals and seven assists, improving his totals from last season. He has often been paired with his partner from last season, senior Ben Marshall. Bischoff is still prone to the odd mistake, but his positioning and play away from the puck has been good. The former seventh rounder could see an increased role next season if Mike Reilly and Brady Skjei decide to turn pro.
Ilya Sorokin, G, CSKA Moskva (KHL)
Drafted 3rd round, 78th overall, 2014
Sorokin started the season playing for a weak Metallurg Novokuznetsk team. Because of this, his numbers were down from the prior season and he even spent some time in the MHL. On Christmas Eve, he was traded to CSKA Moskva, where he has played a backup role for the team. In six games with the team, he has an impressive 1.31 goals against average and a .937 save percentage. Sorokin is a very athletic netminder who is still learning the finer points of the position, and will likely spend the next couple of seasons in the KHL before he is ready to compete for a backup role with the Islanders.
Linus Soderstrom, G, Djurgården J20 (SuperElit)
Drafted 4th round, 95th overall, 2014
Soderstrom has split time with Robin Jensen for Djurgården J20 of the SuperElit. The fourth-rounder has appeared in 13 games with a 2.81 goals against average and a .909 save percentage. He has also appeared in four games for Södertälje and one game for Almtuna of the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second best professional league. Soderstrom will likely be ready to see some time in the SHL next season, but don’t expect to see him in North America for a few years.
Kirill Petrov, RW, AK Bars Kazan (KHL)
Drafted 3rd round, 73rd overall, 2008
At 24 years of age, Petrov is the oldest prospect in the Islanders’ system. He has had his lowest scoring KHL season to date, finishing with only 15 points for AK Bars Kazan after career highs last season. Petrov’s contract expires at the end of next season, so if he were to ever cross the pond, that would be the time. However, it is possible he would find himself in a 4th line role for the Islanders due to the depth of the Islanders offense.
New York Islanders Prospect of the Month
Michael Dal Colle takes the Islanders Prospect of the Month award for the second time this season. The fifth overall pick in last year’s draft has been practically unstoppable for the Generals. Dal Colle finished January with 20 points in 15 games, accumulating points in 12 of those games. He then went on to have an even better February with 15 points in nine games. Equally impressive was his plus-10 rating in those nine games. Dal Colle continued his clutch ways, posting five game-winning goals in those two months. He is the best offensive prospect the Islanders have had since Ryan Strome.