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Top prospects for New York Islanders

Dobson should push for spot in NHL; Wahlstrom, Bellows on cusp

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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]

 

1. Noah Dobson, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 12 pick of 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: Acadie-Bathurst/Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL): 56 GP, 15-37-52

Dobson (6-foot-4, 184 pounds) is coming off his second straight Memorial Cup championship, this time with Rouyn-Noranda. The 19-year-old had 36 points (six goals, 30 assists) in 28 games following a trade from Acadie-Bathurst and was named most valuable player of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs with 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 20 games.

Because of his age, Dobson is not eligible to play for Bridgeport of the American Hockey League this season; he'll either be with New York or return to junior hockey.

"Once I get into training and add some strength, add a few pounds to the frame, I think I'm going to be confident," Dobson said. "Obviously, you've got to go in with the mindset that you can make it and you've got to believe in yourself. But I definitely feel ready come September."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: Islanders draft D Noah Dobson No. 12

 

2. Ilya Sorokin, G

How acquired: Selected with No. 78 pick of 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: CSKA Moscow (KHL): 40 GP, 28-6-4, 1.16 GAA, .940 save percentage 

Sorokin (6-2, 167) has one season remaining on his Kontinental Hockey League contract, but it's unclear if the 24-year-old will come to New York when it expires. Sorokin, who has 95 wins and 34 shutouts during the past four seasons with CSKA Moscow, has the same agent as goalie Semyon Varlamov, who signed a four-year contract with the Islanders on July 1. 

"I don't want to fill my head with extra information now," Sorokin told Sport-Express on July 6. "Let's start with the fact that I have another year of contract with CSKA. Then we'll see. Problems should be solved as they come. I always follow this principle: If you overload yourself with information, you can't bear such a burden. It's better to treat some issues lightly."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

 

3. Oliver Wahlstrom, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 11 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: Boston College (NCAA): 36 GP, 8-11-19; Bridgeport (AHL): 5 GP, 2-1-3 

Wahlstrom (6-1, 205) turned pro after one season with Boston College and quickly adjusted to the AHL. The 19-year-old had four points (two goals, two assists) for Bridgeport in a five-game playoff series against Hershey. 

"The first half was a little tough but it was a good learning experience for me," Wahlstrom said. "As a hockey player you go through adversity and I learned a lot from it. But obviously I was fortunate to play in Bridgeport, and it was fun. I learned a lot."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

 

4. Kieffer Bellows, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 19 pick in 2016 NHL Draft

Last season: Bridgeport (AHL): 73 GP, 12-7-19

Bellows (6-1, 195) may not have produced offensively as expected in his first pro season, but the 21-year-old had three points (two goals, one assist) in five AHL playoff games.

"I think my all-around game improved," Bellows said. "My stats may not show it, the points may not show it, but my game did improve a lot. Near the end of the year I felt like I really hit my groove. I stepped up in the playoffs and tried to help the team as much as possible."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: NJD@NYI: Bellows buries a PPG from the high slot

 

5. Simon Holmstrom, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 23 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

Last season: HV71 (SWE-JR): 21 GP, 7-13-20; HV71 (SWE): 1 GP, 0-0-0

Injuries limited the 18-year-old to 21 games in Sweden's junior league last season, but Holmstrom (6-1, 183) had 20 points and said he was fully healthy at Islanders development camp in June. Holmstrom, who said he tries to model his game after former NHL forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Peter Forsberg, had six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games at the 2019 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, helping Sweden win the tournament.

"The game here is a little bit different from Sweden," Holmstrom said. "I think I have to play more north-south and drive the net harder and play a bit tougher. I like when it's a hard game. I think I play better when it's a harder game."

Projected NHL arrival: 2021-22

Video: Islanders draft F Simon Holmstrom No. 23

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