NHL.com is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the New York Islanders, according to NHL.com.
[Islanders 31 IN 31: Season Preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the Numbers]
How acquired: Selected with No. 11 pick in 2018 NHL Draft
Last season: U.S. Under-18 National Team: 54 GP, 40-43-83
The Islanders were surprised and ecstatic when Wahlstrom fell to them at the 2018 NHL Draft.
The 18-year-old forward already has NHL size (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) but will play for Boston College this season. It's also likely he will represent the United States at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
"I love scoring goals," Wahlstrom said. "My shot's my biggest asset. I can make plays too; I'm not just a goal-scorer. I love making plays as well. But my play without the puck has to be a little bit better; be more dialed in with that. Consistency without the puck, I think needs a little bit of work. I've been working on it the last two years, and it's coming along."
Projected NHL arrival: Next season
Video: Islanders draft F Oliver Wahlstrom No. 11
How acquired: Selected with No. 78 pick in 2014 NHL Draft
Last season: CSKA Moscow (KHL): 37 GP, 25-8-4, 1.59 GAA, .931 SV%
Sorokin (6-2, 167) has two years remaining on his contract to play in the Kontinental Hockey League, but the Islanders remain confident they can get the 23-year-old to New York at some point. Sorokin has 67 wins and 23 shutouts over the past three seasons with CSKA Moscow.
"I've talked to him myself, and he's excited about coming to the National Hockey League," Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "I know that he was free to come (in 2017) and then re-signed. There's always different reasons why people do it, but I'm comfortable at the conversation I've had with him, and also his representative. We look forward to getting him sometime along the way here."
Projected NHL arrival: 2020-21 season
How acquired: Selected with No. 12 pick in 2018 NHL Draft
Last season: Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL): 67 GP, 17-52-69
Much like Wahlstrom, the Islanders did not expect Dobson (6-3, 180) to be available when it was their turn to select. A right-handed shot who models his game after St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the 18-year-old helped Acadie-Bathurst of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League win the Memorial Cup last season with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 20 playoff games.
Dobson agreed to a three-year contract with the Islanders on Aug. 13. He will return to Acadie-Bathurst for a third season if he does not make the Islanders out of training camp.
"I haven't really set like a timeline," Dobson said. "Obviously as a player, you want to play the best route that's possible for you. But I think my goal right now is to get stronger this summer and come into camp in September and be able to compete against the men and not be out of place and make it a tough decision on management to send me back to junior."
Projected NHL arrival: 2020-21
Video: Islanders draft D Noah Dobson No. 12
How acquired: Selected with No. 19 pick in 2016 NHL Draft
Last season: Portland (WHL): 56 GP, 41-33-74
Bellows (6-0, 199) thrived in his first season in the Western Hockey League after deciding to leave Boston University. The 20-year-old led the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship with nine goals and helped the United States win the bronze medal.
Bellows likely will play for Bridgeport in the American Hockey League this season, but has other plans.
"I want to make the Islanders. That's my goal," Bellows said. "I don't have anything else in mind. I really want to just work hard all summer, go into training camp ready and prove to them that I'm able to make this team."
Projected NHL arrival: Next season
Video: 19th overall pick Kieffer Bellows on style of play
How acquired: Selected with No. 108 pick in 2014 NHL Draft
Last season: Bridgeport (AHL): 30 GP, 8-14-22
Toews (6-1, 191) likely would have made his NHL debut last season, but those plans derailed after he needed surgery on his left shoulder in January.
The 24-year-old signed a two-year, one-way contract July 16. It wouldn't be surprising to see him start the season in the AHL considering he hasn't played since Dec. 27, 2017, but don't expect the smooth skater to be there for long.
Projected NHL arrival: This season