Wednesday, October 3, 2012

School days Islander style

Anders Lee (CCHA)
The New York Islanders have some very promising talent of their own in the college ranks. The key here has to be the Islanders letting these prospects develop to their fullest ability.

Anders Lee (2009 6th) is at a crossroads after a not so solid sophomore season at Notre Dame last year. Lee started off like a manic with 12 goals in his first 11 games but scored only 5 more the rest of the season (29 games).

Normally a 17-17-34 season would not be a bad one for a sophomore but Lee had a 24-20-44 freshman season. Lee has all the talent to be the poster child for what a power forward should be.

He has the body of a defensive tackle but the skills of a small man. The picture I used for Lee is my favorite because it shows off his ability to maintain his focus under extreme conditions.

Lee is going to be a co-captain for the Fighting Irish as he enters his junior season. Notre Dame has high expectations in their final year as a member of the CCHA so Lee will be under the microscope.

I say bounce back year for him with a 25-30 goal season then off to Long Island.

Scott Mayfield (2011 2nd) is a shutdown defender who is entering his sophomore season with the Denver Pioneers of the WCHA. I have to admit I wasn't much of a fan of his when last season started mainly because I felt the Islanders should have run their draft differently.

Mayfield also did not earn points when he struggled to start last season eventually leading to his being a health scratch on November 6th. But Mayfield earned points by responding to being scratched in a positive manner.

Instead of sulking, the 6'4 205 Mayfield got the message and went to work on improving his overall game. You could see a difference in every area as Mayfield improved as the season went on.

By the end of the season, Mayfield was a Top 4 defender used in all situations so now he has to build on last season by becoming a 2 way defender. He has the skill to be more than a shutdown defender so want to see more offense this year.

Denver is coached by George Gwozdecky a well respected developer of players so Mayfield will become an NHLer it is just a matter of when.

Robbie Russo (2011 4th) was a pleasant surprise last season for Notre Dame as while he doesn't have size that Mayfield does, Russo is still a promising defender. His best strength has to be his puck handling skills which in today's NHL seems to be an almost lost art.

Russo is one of those players who doesn't stand out with his play but when the game is over and you look over things then Russo has quietly put together a strong game. Never going to be a highlight maker but if you want a guy who will eat up minutes and give you dependable play then you will like Russo.

If anything I think because Russo isn't flashy that he gets overlooked and in some cases disrespected (hello USA Hockey). But I would not have a problem sending Russo out under any situation at any time.

Cody Rosen (2010 7th) is a goalie for Clarkson in the ECAC. In 3 seasons with Clarkson, Rosen has played a total of 139 minutes in 5 games and now you know as much about Rosen as I do.

Jake Bischoff (2012 7th) is another that I don't have a lot of looks at but he has several things going for him starting with being a Minnesota native attending Minnesota on a scholarship. The skinny on Bischoff is he is good at carrying the puck, not afraid to go into traffic and take a hit to make a play.

Average size 6' 185 but he has 4 years to grow and develop as a player so he is worth take a "wait and see" attitude with.

Wednesday Game Action

Just 2 games on the schedule starting with Loic Leduc (NYI 4th) and his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles who 5 games into the season were looking for their first win of the 2012-2013 QMJHL season. Make it 6 games and still winless as the Screaming Eagles were spanked 5-2 by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

The Screaming Eagles are their own worse enemy as their lack of discipline dug them a deep hole that they could not escape. The game was over in the first period as the Huskies jumped out to a 3-1 lead and never looked back.

Leduc was scoreless, taking a double minor for roughing that gave the Huskies a power play but to his credit; Leduc also had 3 hits. At 0-3-1-2, the Screaming Eagles have come close but not close enough to earn a win.

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) and his Saskatoon Blades hosted the Red Deer Rebels and were too good a host as undisciplined play gave the Rebels a 5-3 win. The Blades gave the Rebels 8 power plays while only converting 1 of their 7 opportunities.

A 1-0 Blade lead after 1 period went for nothing as Red Deer scored 4 unanswered goals over the 2nd and 3rd periods. McColgan had a couple of chances to set up people for goals but they didn't finish the plays.

The Blades fall to 2-3, no reason to panic but this team needs to play smarter than they have.

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