This week, the New York Islanders rookies are reporting for camp. This rookie camp roster is made up of 14 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies ready to make their mark on Islanders management. Most noteworthy are the first-round picks from 2014-2016. Matthew Barzal (2015), Kieffer Bellows (2016), Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang (2014). Of those reporting, there are three Islanders rookies ready to make an NHL impact. However, it can be a tough to do so.
Three Islanders Rookies Ready to Make an NHL Impact
Every Islanders rookie uses this camp to make a name and impress the front office. Of those reporting to camp, several Islanders rookies are ready to make the jump to the NHL. The moves made by the Islanders this off-season and for years prior, there is a reliance youth to make the difference this season. Narrowly missing the playoffs in 2016, the Islanders want to make it back in 2017.
The Difference Makers:
Playing in 21 games for the Islanders towards the end of the 2016 season, Ho-Sang tallied 10 points. When on the ice, he electrifies the Islanders offense and fan base. His points aided in the push toward the playoffs. After tallying 36 points in 50 games while playing in the AHL for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, he was a welcome addition. If the Islanders are to make into the post-season in 2017, they will need his 45-50 point production on the ice every night. He gained maturity and valuable training in Bridgeport. Because of that, look for Ho-Sang to make an impact at camp and throughout the season.
Barzal had a successful year, besides his rough shifts with the Islanders. In 2016 center Barzal won a WHL Championship with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Barzal is the reigning WHL Western Conference Player of the year. His performance in the post season gained him the WHL trophy and the WHL Playoff MVP award, in addition, his 79 points in 41 games topped Seattle in 2016. He is a speedy, composed and crafty player with the puck on his stick. His rough few games for the Islanders in 2016 sent him back to junior, where he gained valuable experience. He is NHL ready and he can translate his experience gained with Seattle. Look for his minutes and points to add up to success with the Islanders in 2017.
People often confuse Aho with the successful rookie for the Carolina Hurricanes. The two share the exact same name. This Aho is a left shooting Swedish defenseman taking an alternative route to the NHL. He stayed in Sweden to play for Skelleftea AIK of the SHL from 2012-2017. Due to his exceptional play, Aho gained recognition. In addition to that, he came in second in the SHL for goals scored by a defenseman with 10.
Although a defenseman, his strengths lie in his ability to move and handle the puck, therefore he is great at setting up plays from the blue line. The Islanders expect this of their defensemen and consequently, they coach their defensemen in that manner, hence he seems like a great addition. Look for Aho to contribute in camp and throughout the season.
Player development is a constant focus of the Islanders, therefore this year these young players need to be NHL ready. It is necessary for the New York Islanders to achieve their goal of making the post season. Maybe the rookie camp does not make a season but look for each of these players to make a difference for the Islanders in 2017.
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