Stephon Williams and Eamon McAdam have known each other for a long while, having been teammates as teenagers in the U.S. Hockey League back in 2012.
Since then, they were drafted by the Islanders in consecutive rounds of the 2013 draft, McAdam in the third and Williams in the fourth. They represent the next wave of homegrown Isles goaltending prospects, though that hasn't exactly been a well-worn path to NHL success in a long, long while.
Williams is 22, 17 months older than his friend. And Williams has the brighter short-term future, having turned in a terrific junior season at Minnesota State-Mankato a season ago and continuing on to kick off his pro career the right way in a short stint with Bridgeport to end last season.
"He had an amazing year for sure and he set the bar high," said McAdam, who is entering his junior year at Penn State. "I know how well I have to play now to get to where he is."
McAdam can take heart in knowing Williams didn't need three straight All-American seasons to make the leap to the pros a smooth one. Williams had a sophomore season to forget: He needed hip surgery after a strong freshman season and didn't recover well, losing the No. 1 goaltending job that year.
"I faced some adversity and that was a difficult season," Williams said. "The way I was able to overcome it helped me so much in getting to the pros. When you have that confidence mentally, it goes a long way."
McAdam has shared goaltending duties his first two seasons at Penn State and likely will again with senior Matthew Skoff. But the 6-foot-3 McAdam still has his sights set on becoming a pro sooner rather than later.
And there is certainly a need in goal for the Islanders. Kevin Poulin is still a restricted free agent and likely to play behind Williams in Bridgeport this season, but Poulin's bright promise as a 20-year-old who looked good in 10 appearances for the Islanders in the 2010-11 season has dimmed with injuries and inconsistency the past four years.
The two European goaltenders drafted by the Isles in 2009, Anders Nilsson and Mikko Koskinen, left the organization for the KHL -- Nilsson's rights were traded to the Hawks in the Nick Leddy deal and he was recently traded to the Oilers, with whom he's going to training camp.
So the system must be replenished. Two 2014 picks, Russia's Ilya Sorokin and Sweden's Linus Soderstrom, are still teenagers. So the opportunity is there for Williams and McAdam, beginning with this week's prospect camp that wraps on Saturday.
"It's great to come to these camps because the Islanders are really good about teaching you things you can take with you," Williams said.