The New York Islanders have been one of the better teams in the National Hockey League over the past five seasons, advancing to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals in 2020 and 2021 before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. But reinforcements are not on the way for the Long Island franchise ahead of the 2023-24 campaign — the Isles have arguably the worst prospect pool in the entire NHL.

New York hasn't had a first-round pick in four years, and has had only four since 2016. Mat Barzal, who was drafted in 2015, has panned out, as has 2018 first-rounder Noah Dobson. But Oliver Wahlstrom (2018), Simon Holmstrom (2019) and Kieffer Bellows (2016) have all struggled, and that puts the Isles in a predicament.

The team is not far away from needing a full-scale rebuild, but it's hard to believe that 80-year-old GM Lou Lamoriello is planning to sell for the future. That's especially true after he traded away one of the team's top prospects in Aatu Raty to the Vancouver Canucks in the trade that brought Bo Horvat to Long Island.

Still, New York is lacking a solid prospect pipeline, and that doesn't figure to change with the Islanders projected to be a middle-of-the-pack team over the next few years. There are no difference-making players, at least right now, and the lack of high-end picks in recent years is sure to hurt this team in the long run. However, there are a few prospects that are still worth keeping an eye on.

4) Calle Odelius, D

Calle Odelius spent the 2022-23 season in Djurgardens of the second-tier Swedish league. The 19-year-old also suited up for Sweden at the World Junior Hockey Championship, scoring a goal in the process as his country finished fourth. Odelius was drafted with the No. 65 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, and will likely need a few more years to develop in his home country before he is able to make the transition to North America.

The young left-shot defender needs to get more ice time to prove himself, but the two-way, 6-foot blueliner has the tools to become a depth option. Still, it's going to take a big jump for Odelius to make an impact at the NHL level.

3) Samuel Bolduc, D

The hulking Samuel Bolduc stands at 6-foot-4 and has already had a cup of coffee in the National Hockey League, recording three points in 17 games for the Islanders in 2022-23. The former No. 57 overall selection in the 2019 NHL Draft is a big defenseman who skates well, and has a chance to play full-time for the Long Island franchise next season.

Bolduc has also been acclimated to postseason play, suiting up for two playoff games against the Carolina Hurricanes in 2023. Although he saw limited minutes, it's excellent for his development. Bolduc doesn't have much more to prove after a 35-point showing with the AHL's Bridgeport Islanders as a D-man, and there's a great chance the Quebec native is on the third-pairing of the Isles on opening night.

2) Danny Nelson, C/LW

Danny Nelson is maybe the most intriguing prospect in the New York Islanders pipeline. At only 17 years of age, Nelson was the team's first selection in the 2023 NHL Draft, at No. 49 overall. He made it clear after being drafted that he models his game around another Nelson, that being the highest scorer on the team last season in Brock Nelson.

Danny Nelson had a great showing with the United States National Team Development Program last season, scoring 47 points in 62 outings as a 17-year-old, while registering at least a point in his final 16 games. The 6-foot-3 forward is a big body who is tough on pucks, and his development with Notre Dame in the NCAA next season will be worth watching for Islanders fans. He has a good chance to crack an NHL roster after a few more years of development.

1) William Dufour, RW

William Dufour is coming off an absolutely outstanding rookie professional season, scoring 21 goals and 48 points over 69 games with the Bridgeport Islanders. That's a year after Dufour put up an incredible 116 points in 66 games with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL in 2021-22, which culminated in a Memorial Cup as Canada's best junior team.

Dufour was also a point-per-game player at the World Juniors in 2022, and seems poised to challenge for a roster spot at Islanders training camp in September. He absolutely lit up the QMJHL and followed it up with an impressive AHL campaign, and the heavy power forward could absolutely challenge for an everyday spot in 2023-24. If not, he'll have another season of development before he inevitably makes the jump to the NHL.