An independent blog on the New York Islanders, the NHL and AHL by a guy from New York.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Islanders Camp, Preseason & Adding Seidenberg

There has been a lot happening since the signing of Ryan Strome, so let’s take a look at some of the recent goings on in & around Islanders’ Country.  We’ve heard about the improved ice surface at the Barclays Center, select Isles games airing on one of WFAN’s 50,000 watt radio stations next season and a renewed enthusiasm between Brett Yormark, the Brooklyn brass and the new Islanders ownership group led by Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin.

Our New York Islanders training camp is in full swing and the team has already played 3 preseason games. They had a 3-0 win (Prince, Ho-Sang, Dal Colle with Berube & Gibson in net) and made things happen against the Flyers on Monday.  But since, have dropped a pair of lackluster split squad games on Tuesday to the same Flyers (4-0 L) with a prospect laydened roster and then to the rival Rangers (5-2 L, Chimera & Leddy) on Tuesday due to a lackluster PP (0/6) and PK (1/3).  Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd made their Isles debut and some of the young guys have made a little noise on the ice.  Mathew Barzal, Josh Ho-Sang, Michael Dal Colle, Anthony Beauvillier & Ryan Pulock got some looks in big moments for the Islanders so far and have done some good things.  I am particularly impressed with how well Barzal has looked and find it encouraging that Ho-Sang has taken ownership of his mistakes in camp last year and seems to be refocused and making an impression.  Seeing Ryan Strome and Shane Prince move the puck well and drop the gloves this early in preseason is encouraging. Especially since they are two of the guys the team needs to step up in place of the missing Okposo, Nielsen and Martin.  I am anxious to see what D, Scott Mayfield can do with his time in camp and although todays signing of Dennis Seidenberg adds veteran depth to the blue line and it will certainly make winning a job very difficult for the spirited Mayfield.

Earlier today, Darren Dreger mentioned on twitter that Seidenberg (1 and 11 for 12 pts in 61 games last season with Boston) was likely to choose the Islanders ahead of 7 other teams that were vying for his services.  A little later, the Islanders added the veteran D man on a one-way, 1 yr, $1M contract and a little more experience and grit to their back end.  While Seidenberg, 35, has had some difficulties staying healthy over the last few seasons, it a could be a great deal for New York, who may benefit from the Stanley Cup winning familiarity between he and Boychuk from their time with the Bruins.  Seidenberg is currently playing for Team Europe with the Isles goal-tending tandem in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey finals against John Tavares and Team Canada.  He has 224 points in 758 NHL games and has a vast amount of International Olympic, World Championship and World Cup experience on his hockey resume.

Arthur Staple mentioned, “With Seidenberg signing, Isles have 24 one-way contracts (including Grabo). Presuming Pulock sticks, someone has to go before season starts.”  

What's up next for Snow and Company?

Isles Notes:

Mikhail Grabovski (upper body, 3/16/16) has been placed on IR while Steve Bernier, Connor Jones and Patrick Cullity all signed professional tryouts (PTO's) on Monday.

Islanders John Tavares is pitted against Jaroslav Halak (and Thomas Greiss) in the World Cup Finals.  Canada has a 1-0 lead in the best of 3 game series final. Tavares has a goal and 4 assists in 5 games for Canada so far while Halak has a looked very good, stopping 173 out of 190 shots faced with a .947 Sv% in 7 games.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Done Deal: Ryan Strome Re-Signs With The Islanders

Arthur Staple announced that the New York Islanders and Ryan Strome had finally agreed to terms on a two-year deal, $5M deal this afternoon.  The 2011, 5th overall 1st round selection was coming off his entry level deal, turned down the team’s qualifying offer and only had until Thursday morning to sign with the Isles or sit out the season, a long-time team rule instituted by former majority owner, Charles Wang.  Brock Nelson waited around last season until the final countdown to finally sign a 3 year, $7.5M deal.  I’m glad to see that Strome, Nelson and Ander’s Lee are locked in and are still part of the future plans for New York. I hope to see them develop even more and contribute in big ways for the team.

Strome, 23, was 8 & 20 for 28 points in 71 games last season with New York and had a 4-point tally in the 2015-16 Stanley Cup Playoffs (8 pts in 15 career playoff games overall). Last season was considered an off-year based on the expectations of the team and those Strome had for himself. It came just after a dynamic 50-point season the year before, where he posted career highs in goals (17), assists (33) and points (50).  He certainly should be motivated to make some more noise once again next season and answer his critics.  Strome has an excellent opportunity to make an offensive statement along with the rest of the 2016-17 team after the departure of Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen and what they brought to the score sheet.

Stromer is an AHL All-Star (49 pts in 37 games with the BST in 13-14) and has represented Canada at the 2012 and 2013 WJC internationally.

Isles Notes:

Former Sound Tigers, Colin Markison and Tanner Fritz agreed to a Professional Tryout (PTO) with the Islanders.

Former Islander, Clause Loiselle has been named Hockey Operations Consultant for the team. Loiselle has served in a management capacity for the Coyotes, Maple Leafs and Lightning organizations in addition to a role with the NHL as Associate Director of Hockey Operations.

World Cup Notes:

Islanders' Jaroslav Halak is 2-0 so far with 1 shut out in the first round of the World Cup for Team Europe.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Islanders Talk To Gionta, Represent In 2016 World Cup.

Earlier today, Arthur Staple reported that the Islanders are in talks with C, Stephen Gionta on a PTO.  The soon to be 33 year old Gionta had 1 and 10 for 11 points in 82 games with the New Jersey Devils last season (avg. 12 min/game) and has been a part of their system since 2005.  While the news is sure to raise a few eye brows of a few fans, most feel it’s strictly a move to add depth.  If a season long agreement is in the cards, it would most likely be a one year, two-way deal, but I could also see a reasonably priced one-way NHL contract as well.  The 5’7 Gionta is a smaller, but experienced player who skates well, brings energy and shouldn’t hurt a team who still has question marks on a few of its young prospects and where they will fit into the scheme going into this season.  

UPDATE: Gionta agrees to a PTO with Islanders on 9/12.

As my buddy Ian pointed out, Ryan Strome still isn’t signed and we all know what happens if a player on the Isles roster isn’t signed by the start of camp on the 22nd. He sits out for the year, ala Sean Bergenheim.  Staple reports the two sides are still working on a deal and there doesn’t seem to be any real concern by either side on getting Strome signed in time.  Garth Snow has done this kind of thing a few times before and would continue to try and add serviceable players in lieu of giving up assets for a reserve player like he did with ex Devil, Stephen Bernier last season.

In other news, John Tavares (Canada), Nikolay Kulemin (Russia), Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss (Team Europe) have been named to their national teams in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.  The preliminary games are being played now to fine-tune line ups and try to build chemistry for this year’s tournament that runs from 9/17 through 10/1.  Jaro Halak was pretty much left alone in net for Team Europe in last night’s 4-0 exhibition loss to a younger and faster, Team North America.

I remember going to both USA wins (Rus. and Slov.) at MSG in September of ‘96 when the Americans eventually beat Canada to win the Cup in Montreal a short time later.  It was awesome to experience live and watching the games on television got me and all my Rangers fan friends to get along and cheer together for a few days.

Check out this year’s tournament, currently in exhibition play if you haven’t already.


I miss you Buddy.

R.I.P Hades.