THE RISE OF THE ISLES' YOUNG GUNS

BY, JOE BELLO

· Joe Bello

As many of you may know, the young guns on the Islanders have been great this season. Leading the depth scoring of the Isles has been Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom. As well as the solid defensive play of Noah Dobson and Ilya Sorokin. They have all been playing very solid for the Islanders.

Oliver Wahlstrom was drafted in the first round back in 2018, he is a very talented winger who has one of the best shots on the team. After playing 9 games without a point last season, he was sent back down to Bridgeport. He has really put a lot of work in since then as he played in Sweden before the season started this year. This has improved his game a lot as he is 10x the better player than he was last year. Wally has 10 points in 22 games with 5 of them being goals.

Kieffer Bellows was off to a very slow start this season. After cracking the opening night lineup, he played the first 7 games of the season without registering a point. Some time out of the lineup went by before he was given one more shot to try and earn his spot in the lineup, he only played 7:47min that night and was a -2. Barry Trotz had some criticism of his play, saying how he blew his shot to get into the lineup. Now with Anders Lee injured, Bellows was given another shot. This time with Barzal and Eberle on the top line. In 2 games since coming back in the lineup he has 3 goals and has a plus 2 rating.

Noah Dobson was on the Islanders for the entirety of last season, including the bubble playoff roster. He only played 34 games in the shortened season, and one game in the playoffs. This season he has become one of the Isles top offensive defensemen, having 12 points in 28 games so far. As well as earning himself some time on the first power play unit. Dobson still has much to learn and lots of room for improvement but he has locked himself in as one of the Isles top 6 D-men this season.

Ilya Sorokin was drafted by the Islanders in 2014, after spending all his time since then in Russia playing in the KHL. Ilya has finally come to the Island and is showing signs of the elite goaltender that was seen in Russia. In 244 games played in the KHL, Sorokin has a .930 save percentage and a 1.70 goals against average. His numbers overseas are crazy good. But there was some doubt from Isles fans after his first couple games. Starting off the season 0-2-1, with a .871 SV% and a 3.65 GAA. Ilya followed this up by winning his next 6 starts, 2 of them being shutouts. Currently he is on a 6 game winning streak, and has not lost a game since January. His play has been fantastic lately, living up to all of the hype.

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