Due to the NHL lockout, anyone with a two-way contract was able to hone their skills at the AHL level in Bridgeport while they waited for the NHL to resume. This increased the overall level of play in the AHL, which has been good for the overall development of the New York Islanders' prospects.
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft proved to be very defensive for the New York Islanders as they shocked the hockey world by selecting a defensemen with each of their seven picks. The move gave them great depth on the blue line, where a team can never have enough bodies. In the previous two drafts they selected two high scoring forwards.
The New York Islanders prospect pool is loaded with talent from top to bottom. General Manager Garth Snow has done an excellent job of stockpiling a deep pool of very promising prospects. At almost every position there is a player with the upside to emerge to the top of the depth chart, which is tremendous for the future of a struggling franchise such as the Islanders. Only time will tell however whether these prospects can put everything together and reach their potential.
Years of stockpiling high draft picks has started to pay off for the Islanders, something that is demonstrated in the inaugural edition of their prospect awards.
There are plenty of reasons why the Saint John Sea Dogs are the favorite to repeat not just as QMJHL champions this year, but also to successfully defend their Memorial Cup win from last season.
First and foremost, the Sea Dogs were the top team in the regular season for a record-setting third consecutive year. They've followed that momentum into the playoffs, where they are currently in the third round and so far have out-scored their opponents by a combined total of 79-28.
All this offensive firepower is thanks to the depth of the Sea Dogs roster and no where is that depth more noticeable than when you consider the forwards on Saint John's roster in the context of the top forwards in the QMJHL.