Islanders junior prospects update

By Jeffrey Bausch

The New York Islanders have six prospects in the CHL, with three in the OHL, two in the WHL and one in the QMJHL. They also have two in the USHL. In total, there are four forwards and four defensemen.

OHL

Ryan O’Marra, C
Saginaw Spirit (19-7-0-1) First-place in the Western Division
Islanders 2005 first round draft pick (15th overall)

Top prospect Ryan O’Marra was recently part of a blockbuster trade between the Erie Otters and powerhouse Saginaw Spirit. The former Otters captain was traded for Zach Torquato and a couple of high draft picks in a transaction that many consider a courtesy trade, giving O’Marra the chance to win a championship before he moves on to the pros. His minutes will go down while playing for the deeply talented Spirit, but he is now part of a team that thrives on working as a four-line unit and will no longer be called upon to carry the weight of a team on his 19-year-old shoulders.

O’Marra has shown no ill effects of his early season off-ice ankle injury. In the first 13 games he played with the Otters this season, O’Marra had eight goals, six assists and 26 penalty minutes. In the three games he’s played with the Spirit, he has totaled two goals, no assists and nine penalty minutes. He missed several games earlier this month due to an unspecified injury.

Tomas Marcinko, C
Barrie Colts (18-6-0-1) First-place in the Eastern Division
Islanders 2006 fourth round draft pick (114th overall)

In 24 games with the Barrie Colts this season, rookie Tomas Marcinko has eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points, playing on the second line and seeing time on the power play. At 6’4, this powerful Slovakian has seemingly answered his critics’ questions of whether or not he could consistently finish. At nearly a point per game so far, Marcinko appears to be comfortable in the new league and well on his way to a stellar first season.

Nick Tuzzolino, D
Sudbury Wolves (13-10-2-2) Second-place in the Central Division
Islanders 2005 seventh round draft pick (196th overall)

Nick Tuzzolino, an intimidating 6’6 mobile defenseman, has skated in only four games with the Sudbury Wolves this season. He has no points, a plus/minus of +2 and 14 penalty minutes. He attempted to turn pro with the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL but was cut mid-October.

Tuzzolino will play for the Wolves as an overage player this season. As per league policy, a CHL team can carry up to four overage players until the January trading deadline (three can dress). Sudbury is pleased to have Tuzzolino back again, as he played well with them last season and provides the team with more experience on the blue line.

Tuzzolino needs to improve his speed and decision-making to move into the pros.

WHL

Robin Figren, LW
Calgary Hitmen (17-10-0-2) Third-place in the Central Division
Islanders 2006 third round draft pick (70th overall)

In his first season in the WHL, Robin Figren has six goals and seven assists, seeing time on the power play. Having just recently completed four games in one week, Figren tallied two assists and four penalty minutes during this course of time.

Known as a relatively flashy forward, Figren will have to continue to work at adjusting his play in order to be successful in the more physical WHL.

Dustin Kohn, D
Brandon Wheat Kings (16-10-0-2) First-place in the Eastern Division
Islanders 2005 second round draft pick (46th overall)

After an eye-opening Islanders training camp, Dustin Kohn has not lost a step in the WHL. Already in his fifth season in the league, Kohn has stepped up as a leader on the Wheat Kings, both in the locker room and on the ice. He is on the team’s top defensive unit and anchors the power play. In 24 games played this season, Kohn has two goals, 24 assists and 37 penalty minutes and stands fifth on the scoring list amongst league defensemen.

Dwayne Gylywoychuk, assistant coach of the Wheat Kings said that Kohn has fit in well after coming over in a trade last season from the Calgary Hitmen.
“He’s done really well and he kind of anchors our defense. He
partners up with Darren Boyle on the back end. They’re elite puckmovers and they play against top lines. He quarterbacks our power play and is really a guy we’re glad to have back there. He starts everything for us with his skating ability, his offensive skills and the way he reads and reacts out there.”

QMJHL

Andrew MacDonald, D
Moncton Wildcats (19-10-0-1) Third-place in the league
Islanders 2006 sixth round draft pick (160th overall)

In his second season with the Wildcats, reliable defensive prospect Andrew MacDonald has totaled six goals, 22 assists and 33 penalty minutes in 25 games this season.

He has consistently maintained a position within the top-20 defenseman for points this season and is proving to be a bargain for a sixth-round draft choice.

USHL

Shane Sims, D
Des Moines Buccaneers (11-5-1) First-place in the Western Division
Islanders 2006 fifth round draft pick (126th overall)

Shane Sims has five goals, three assists and 39 penalty minutes in 16 games played this season. This offensive-minded defenseman is a returning member of the defending USHL-champion Buccaneers, and he’s on pace to pass last year’s stats that saw him total 10 goals, 12 assists and 80 penalty minutes in 59 games.

Sims is beginning to take form as a leading offensive defenseman he was envisioned as being when drafted by the Islanders. He is committed to Ohio State University.

Troy Mattila, LW
Chicago Steel (3-11-1) Fifth place in the Eastern Division
Islanders 2006 seventh round draft pick (190th overall)

Talented forward Troy Mattila has finally made the jump to the USHL
this season, passing on partial scholarship offers from the likes of Colorado College and other schools for the opportunity to play with the Chicago Steel and earn a full scholarship next year. While the team has shown inconsistencies in its
play on the ice that are reflected in the standings, Mattila has
steadily matured with each game, netting three goals, four assists and
recording only two penalty minutes in the first 15 games this season.

Mattila is reportedly being courted by several NCAA schools. Among the colleges he plans to visit: Mercyhurst, Miami of Ohio, the University of New Hampshire and St. Cloud State.

Glen Erickson and Leslie Treff contributed to this article. Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.