(Q)When did you start following the prospects of the Isles and is there any reasoning behind it?
(A)Why is easier to answer because one should be aware of what your rivals
are doing to see if you will have an answer for it. How will the Rangers
be able to fend off the Islanders as the 2 teams improve over the next
As a fan, the NHL needs the Ranger/Islander/Devil rivalry to have
meaning for the NHL to grow. You are talking the number 1 TV market in
the country and everyone wins if instead of pride the teams are meeting
in the playoffs.
(Q)Be honest, who has the stronger minors the Rangers or Isles and why?
(A)That is a dangerous question because in all honesty neither team right
now is all that strong with their AHL teams. For both teams their best
prospects are playing in the NCAA or Canadian juniors right now. For the
Islanders, Lee, Russo, Mayfield, and Strome offer the best potential
for the Islanders with some project players like Andrey Pedan who plays
for Guelph (OHL) and John Persson who plays for Red Deer (WHL)
(Q)In the early hockey season, which Islander prospect has impressed and stood out the most?
(A)No question Anders Lee (2009 6th) as he leads the NCAA in goals scored
with 10 and is 4th overall in points (13). Lee has points in every game
he has played in but more importantly is showing a more consistent game
(Q)Islander first round selection Ryan Strome has been
going nuts in juniors, what do you seem him being as he grows older and
(A)I would like to withhold any kind of judgment on Strome until he gets
into the OHL playoffs or plays for Canada in the World Under-20. There
is no question he can score at the OHL level but what was a concern for
me last year was how he could not address having a full-time shadow on
him as Mississauga did during the playoffs. We know Strome has a great
package of offensive skills so the biggest question has to be can he
beat the defensive game plans drawn up to stop him in the big games.
If Strome can then at worst he will be a 2nd liner with a legit chance to be a 1st liner.
(Q)Do you believe Kabonov can be a legit top 6 forward?
(A)Yes no question about it as Kabanov because of all the other stuff has
distracted people's attention from his skill set. Kabanov has everything
you want out of a star player, he has the size, the skill, the skating
and the IQ. Kabanov is just learning that he can dominate games and it
is starting to show in the results. The other strength Kabanov has that
most do not realize is an uncanny ability to develop chemistry who ever
they send out their to play with him. Kabanov brings out the best in those he plays with and that is something you can not take for granted.
What Kabanov also has that most teams lack is a personality as when
people get to see Kabanov off ice then it is so hard not to like him.
Kabanov will become the Islander's most popular player for what he does
on and off the ice.
(Q)Also to add, do you believe that Kevin Poulin can be a legit number one in the NHL
(A)Yes he can as he has been improving with every year. The Islanders need
to get him the lion's share of playing time as the sooner he gets
regular PT then the sooner he will claim his spot as the Islander goalie
of the future.
Thank You Jess for giving some great insight and personal opinion. Her blog TheProspectPark is top of the line for Islander prospect coverage. Follow TheProspectPark on Twitter here.