On Monday, the New York Islanders parted ways with top prospect Aatu Räty, as he, along with Anthony Beauvillier and 2023 1st round pick (conditional) for Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat.
With Räty out of the picture, here’s a handful of prospects within the New York Islanders organization that fans should be excited for.
On the Brink
LW, Simon Holmstrom: At 21 years old, the Islanders 23rd pick in 2019 made his NHL debut on Nov. 23 and has shown off an impressive defensive game with a touch of offense. Simon Holmstrom has two goals and one assist in 24 games with New York, missing six games with a lower-body injury. If everyone gets healthy, he could find his way back to Bridgeport, but right now, he will continue to get his chances at the NHL level. Holmstrom has played minutes on the top and third lines, and if he can become more of an offensive force, he will be a top-six player. But until then, his outlook is a bottom-six, shutdown player fir the New York Islanders
RW, William Dufour: After winning everything imaginable in his junior career, William Dufour surprisingly made his NHL debut against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 18. The 21-year-old played just 6:48 minutes before watching the final 29 as his NHL stint lasted all of 24 hours. The first-year AHLer and 5th-round pick in 2020 continues to develop in Bridgeport, where he has 14 goals and 12 assists in 43 games. He has a cannon of a shot, and if he can get stronger on his skates, he has the potential to be a strong top-nine forward for New York.
RD, Samuel Bolduc: The finale of the NHL debut-ers, 23-year-old Samuel Bolduc has shown well in his first four NHL games. He has four shots on 11 attempts, with two blocks and eight hits in an average of 14:32 minutes per game. At six-foot-four and 220 pounds, Bolduc backs down to nobody. What stood out the most is that his head is always on a swivel, and his passing is accurate, especially in transition. The 2019 second-rounder was in the midst of a breakout season in the AHL, with eight goals and 18 assists in 41 games before he was recalled, earning him All-Star accolades. But he will not be participating in the 2023 AHL All-Star Game as he has a job to do with the New York Islanders.
C, LW, Ruslan Iskhakov: The 22-year-old Ruslan Iskhakov got off to a rapid start in his first season in Bridgeport, with four goals and 10 assists in 10 games, earning AHL Player of the Month accolades for October. In 41 games, the Russian left-hander has nine goals and 22 assists and is headed to the 2023 AHL All-Star Game. The concern with Iskahkov is his size, at just five-foot-nine, weighing 165 pounds. He had not been recalled when the Islanders needed center help. The Islanders want to see him develop a bit more before giving him a chance, but he’s got the tools that fit today’s NHL, in terms of speed and puck skills.
RW, Matthew Maggio: Over-ager or not, the 20-year-old Matthew Maggio has been lethal in his final season with the Windsor Spitfires. The Islanders 5th-round selection at the 2022 NHL Draft has 37 goals and 44 assists in just 44 games and has not only shown off his shot but understands how to take advantage of time and space. Despite not making the NHL roster out of training camp, Maggio showed well, sniping Ilya Sorokin from the top of the slot during one of the scrimmages. The expectation is that Maggio would start this season in Bridgeport or the ECHL with the Worcester Railers, but he decided to return to juniors, and the move seems to be doing wonders for his confidence.
Read more: Islanders Prospect Has Historic Night In OHL
LD, Isaiah George: Out of all the prospects in the Islanders pipeline, this fourth-round selection from the 2023 NHL Draft should be at the top of your list. Albeit just 18 years old, standing at six-foot, weighing 195 pounds, Isaiah George is a five-tool player who can do it all. He scores goals and can lay the body, but he is also one of the best shutdown defensemen in the OHL. He showcased his defense during training camp before a lower-body injury kept him sidelined just a few days into camp. He has four goals and 12 assists this season for the London Knights and is still a few years away from impacting the New York Islanders. But once he gets to Long Island, if he does, he should be a vital player for years.
Across the Atlantic
LD, Calle Odelius: At 18 years of age, Calle Odelius is already playing in the highest professional league in Sweden, the SHL. Albeit only two games with the big club, Odelius has shined with Djurgardens IF/Jr, the top developmental team in all of Europe. He is not a major point producer, with just seven assists in 36 games this season between three different tiers. The six-foot, 183-pound defender is a fantastic skater and a strong transitioner who has shown off an ability to hit teammates accurately from all areas of the ice. He needs to work on his physicality, given his size, but he could end up being a strong addition to the backend and a future power-play quarterback. Odelius represented Team Sweden at the 2023 U-18 tournament, potting a goal in seven games. He stated that he was planning on coming to North America following this season.
Read more: Get To Know Islanders Calle Odelius
LW, Eetu Liukas: A fifth-round selection by the New York Islanders in 2021, Eetu Liukas showcased his talents at the 2022 World Junior U-20 Championships, helping Finland to a silver medal. He is a player that understood his role as a bottom-six forward, as he was on the forecheck each shift, laying the body when he could, and seemed to play an Islanders style of hockey. In 48 games with HBK in the Finnish Elite League this season, the 20-year-old has 10 goals and eight assists, both career highs. He is eligible to come to North America in 2023.