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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Prospects Camp Update: Okposo Impresses, Marcou Hits his Stride

The New York Islanders Prospect camp has been underway for 2 days now at Iceworks in Syosset and there are still 4 more days to look forward to. Aside from being a great place to hang out with fellow Islanders fans, the camp is a great chance to see the progress that the Islanders' young guns have made and to see the future of the franchise. So far, we've only seen drills as scrimmages don't start until Saturday, but there is still plenty to report.

Kyle Okposo, the Islanders' 2006 1st round pick, has looked great through the first two days. Kyle's skating ability was surprisingly impressive for such a big guy. He is clearly a strong guy and has a great wrist shot. While Okposo has decided to play at the University of Minnesota for his upcoming season, he could be lighting it up for the Isles in the near future.

As expected, Jeff Tambellini also impressed me. Tambs looked more polished than any of the other prospects, most likely due to the advantage of having a lot more pro experience. He showed his sniping ability by hitting the top corners on just about every shot. His skating was superb. After seeing him perform at this camp, I'd be shocked if he didn't make the big club in the upcoming NHL season.

Max Gratchev, the Islanders' 2007 4th round pick, was very impressive at the camp, particularly on Day 2. He shot the puck very well and hustled through every drill. His skating ability was very good as well, especially his ability to quickly turn and change direction.

As a group, the 4 goaltenders that attended looked extremely unimpressive. On Day 1, it was a rarity to see anybody stop anything. Day 2 was a bit better, but still nobody stood out as a reliable option if DP or Dubie should go down to injury.

Finally, HNLI favorite James Marcou attended as an undrafted and unsigned prospect. While he looked very jittery on Day 1, Marcou found his groove on Day 2. Despite his size, Marcou is very skilled and pulled off plenty of nice moves. And I wasn't the only one who noticed. Isles' prospect Jeff Tambellini agreed that Marcou stood out.

When asked which of the younger players stood out in his mind, Jeff Tambellini responded by saying James Marcou, the 5-7 camp invite from Kings Park. "He's more like 5-5, but he has incredible hands," said Tambellini. "He was making some impressive moves around guys out there."

Remember that the Islanders' prospects camp is still going on. Just come down to Islanders' IceWorks in Syosset to see the future of the New York Islanders.

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