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The Official Site of the New York Islanders

Meet the Prospects, Vol. 12

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Newyorkislanders.com will take a look at the top 30 prospects for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, as ranked by NHL Central Scouting. We will look at the top 15 North American players and the top 15 European players, in alphabetical order.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Some of the "What They're Saying" quotes are from Hockey's Future.

RICHARD PANIK

Richard Panik

Pos: Right Wing        Shoots: Left
Height: 6’2’’               Weight: 203
Born: February 7, 1991 in Martin, Slovakia
Current Team: Trinec Steelers (Czech)
Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking: #13 European Skater

THE SKINNY
Panik has played in 21 career Czech Extraliga games, recording two points (1-1-2) and four penalty minutes in parts of two seasons with Trinec. He has also skated in 55 games with Trinec’s junior team, scoring 45 goals and adding 36 assists for 81 points in those contests.

Panik has competed for Slovakia twice during international play. He represented his country at the Under-20 World Junior Championships this past season, netting two goals and five points in seven games. Panik also played for Slovakia at the Under-18 World Junior Championships, where he recorded four goals, including a hat trick, and six assists for 10 points in six games.

TONI RAJALA

Pos: Right Wing           Shoots: Left
Height: 5’10’’                Weight: 163
Born: March 29, 1991 in Parkano, Finland
Current Team: Ilves Tampere (SM-Liiga)
Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking: #11 European Skater

Toni Rajala

THE SKINNY
Rajala has played in 21 career SM-Liiga games, scoring two goals and three assists for five points in one season with Ilves. He has also skated in 65 games with Ilves’ junior team, compiling 27 goals and 39 assists for 66 points.

Rajala has appeared in international competition as a member of Team Finland on three occasions. Most notably, he recorded 19 points (10-9-19) in six games at the Under-18 World Junior Championships in North Dakota to help Finland win a bronze medal. His 19 points broke the previous Under-18 scoring record, which was held by Alexander Ovechkin. For his efforts, Rajala was selected as the best forward in the tournament and was named to the tournament All-Star Team.

Rajala tallied five points (3-2-5) in six games at the 2008 Under-18 World Junior Championships. He also scored three points (2-1-3) in six contests with Finland at the 2009 World Junior Championships.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“The player who perhaps had the most eyes looking his way at the Under-18 World Championships didn’t shy away, but rather further pushed the spotlight his way. Rajala needed to have a big tournament to cement his top-round NHL draft pick potential. And do that he did, Rajala finished the tournament with 19 points in six games, eclipsing the previous U18 scoring record set by some kid named Ovechkin, and Rajala did it in one fewer game…A tremendously skilled player, Rajala is explosive and opportunistic. He doesn't waste time getting shots off, has very good hand-eye coordination. One of the better skaters in the tournament, Rajala is often said to be too small, but he is feisty and didn't back down when bigger players confronted him.”
-International Scouting Services

“Toni is a good player. He was called up a few times during the year and played well. He is a smart player and is very skilled. He also has a good attitude. Toni plays well and works hard in the defensive zone, which is a big plus to get that from an offensively skilled player. I thought he could have been used more by our coach on the power play at the end. He is, however, very small. Hopefully he will work hard to put some weight on before he tries to make the transition to North American hockey.”
-Ilves teammate and AHL veteran Troy Milam, as quoted in Hockey's Future

Coming Monday, June 8th: David Rundblad and Brayden Schenn


Click here to read Volume 1 — Carter Ashton and Jared Cowen

Click here to read Volume 2 — Simon Despres and Matt Duchene

 
Click here
to watch a video profile of Matt Duchene


Click here to read Volume 3 — Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Tim Erixon

Click here to read Volume 4 — Scott Glennie and Matt Hackett

Click here to read Volume 5 — Victor Hedman and Marcus Johansson

 
Click here
to watch a video profile of Victor Hedman


Click here to read Volume 6 — Jacob Josefsson and Evander Kane

 
Click here
to watch a video profile of Evander Kane


Click here to read Volume 7 — Zack Kassian and Carl Klingberg

Click here to read Volume 8 — Chris Kreider and Dmitry Kulikov

Click here to read Volume 9 — Louis Leblanc and Robin Lehner

Click here to read Volume 10 — John Moore and Joonas Nattinen

Click here to read Volume 11 — Dmitri Orlov and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson


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