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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

New York Islanders Off-Season: 2017 Blue & White Scrimmage


Tonight, our New York Islanders had their Blue & White scrimmage at the Norwell Health Ice Center Isles practice facility in Eisenhower Park. It was a fitting culmination of the team’s mini-camp, where prospects and invitees (and Islanders’ Ice Girls) take the ice for an inter-squad game to showcase the possible future of the organization. Everyone obviously anxious to see names like Ho-Sang, Beauvillier, Barzal, Dal Colle, D. Toews, Bellows, McAdam & Soderstrom take the ice. Arthur Staple said Isles goaltending prospect, Ilya Sorokin was not attending prospect camp and is still slated to play his last season in the KHL this year.


For this year’s Islanders training camp, I would expect the highly talented Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock have a shot to make this year’s team (along with Adam Pelech & Scott Mayfield) and help offensively, and on the blueline and special teams right from the start. Anthony Beauvillier, Kieffer Bellows and Michael Dal Colle are forwards that will work hard to make an impression. Brian Compton was quoted “… he (Bellows) plans on playing one season in Portland. Wants to play in NHL in 2018-19.” BST Goaltender, Eamon McAdam was also involved in the tournament. He went 15-8 in Bridgeport last season with a 2.90 gaa and an .897 Sv%.


AHL, All-Rookie Defensemen, Devon Toews and SHL, title winning goaltender for HV71, Sweden, Linus Soderstrom were the reported standouts from this week’s camp. Toews showed blistering speed, a complete defensive game and league leading 41 assists last season with the Sound Tigers. He may be closer than some people think for a call up to the NHL if he keeps playing at the level he did last season. “He’s played himself into a great conversation,” Weight said of Toews. “We have some great depth on D and it allows you to do some things like we saw last week. Confident kid, great skater, puck mover. When you play like that you’re going to get a look for sure.”


6’4, Linus Soderstrom gets a chance to take center stage with Sorokin not at camp and Isles fans should be excited about the talent he may bring to the Isles net for the future. Soderstrom had the best goals-against average in the Champions HL, with a 1.34 over 22 games. “He started as a backup goalie with his club team and by Christmas he was the starting goalie, which I actually thought would happen,” Isles head scout Vellu Kautonen said of Soderstrom. “He’s getting better every week, every month, every time I see him. His focus has always been there, he competes. They won the club championship and he was a big part of it. His numbers were great. One more year in Sweden and I think we have an NHL goalie." Soderstrom was excited to be a part of camp. "The Islanders are a great organization. Everything is first class and I'm just loving every second of it here."


Last year’s late-season difference maker, Josh Ho-Sang also made news early this year, for all the right reasons. Ho-Sang embraced a leadership role early on, sharing his BST and Isles on-ice experience with the other guys at camp. He also looked ahead to making the Islanders for the upcoming season, promising that he will do all he can to impress the coaches and earn a spot. “I want to be one of the best players at camp. For me it's about coming in and being an exceptional player on both sides of the puck.” Ho-Sang also showed his excitement for the acquisition of Jordan Eberle, calling him “a top right-wing in the league.”


Most of this seasons' draft picks are in attendance, most notably D, Robin Salo, the Isles 46th pick overall. It should also be noted that Alex Vukota, son of former Islanders enforcer and soul player Mick Vukota, was invited to camp to showcase his defensive abilities. 


Tonight’s event would feature 3 different games. In game 1, its Blue Team vs White Team, in game 2, its Team Blue vs Team, Blue-White and the White Team vs the Blue & White Team in game 3. Rosters could be found here thanks to Cory Wright.


Recap:


Game 1: Josh Ho-Sang, Dalton Hunter, Ryan Hitchcock and Micah Miller (ENG) scored for Team Blue in game 1. Eamon McAdam looked solid in net for the Blue squad. Brett Macrones made it 4-1 and Kieffer Bellows scored in the final seconds for Team White. Team Blue took the win by a 4-2 score.

Ho-Sang, Barzal, Miller and McAdam played well for Team Blue. Bellows had some nice moves for Team White.


Game 2: Ho-Sang, Kubiak, Jordan, Hitchcock scored for Team Blue in game 2. Wotherspoon scored for Team Blue-White. Team Blue won by a 4-1 final.

Ho-Sang, Hitchcock played well for Team Blue again. Wotherspoon was impressive for Team Blue-White.


Game 3:
Eansor scores 2 in the game for Team White. Marnell scored for Team Blue-White with the goalie pulled. Team Blue won by a 2-1 score.

Soderstrom played a good game in net, especially late in the game and Eansor was very good for Team White. Meyers and Wotherspoon were impressive for Blue-White.


Skills Competition:

Shootout

Ho-Sang denied by Mitens, Barzal denied by Soderstrom, Bellows stopped by Mitens, Dal Colle stopped by Soderstrom, Vande Sompel denied by Mitens, Beauvillier flubs against Soderstrom.


Hardest Shot

Bellows – 63mph, 61mph & 91mph, 96mph (off net), Quennville – 71mph, 91mph, Jordan – 91mph, 87mph, Toews – 96mph, 96mph (off net), Hanson -91mph, 99mph, Salo – 86mph, 85mph. Apparently, gun was off net and Bellows was permitted to reshoot.


Breakaway (Mundinger and Jaillet-Goalies)

Contest was way too fast to track. Apparently, White made a comeback and outscored Blue, 5-1 to win the night.


Standouts on the night:


OK, it wasn’t an easy scrimmage to follow with a raw broadcast, bad audio and video drops, but I did my best. There were several players who did a lot of things well, but a few really made me notice them. Josh Ho-Sang had 4 points on the night and contributed in the skills competition, dominating as expected. Mathew Barzal played exactly as advertised. He was good in both zones and made things happen on the ice. Ryan Hitchcock looked at ease and played a big role for team Blue’s successes.

Kieffer Bellows looked much stronger this time around. Scott Eansor looked solid in game 3, scoring both goals for his team. Anthony Beauvillier, Michael Dal Colle and Devon Toews made some noise as well.

Parker Wortherspoon was everywhere and really got noticed on defense and in the offensive zone. Remember his name.


Eamon McAdam and Linus Soderstrom stood out among the goaltenders, making big saves and looking positionally sound. As expected.


Prospects looked good, especially when you have a mix of juniors, college, elite, premiere and high school players all holding their own. And they played an entertaining game that was fun to watch.


Free agency opens on Saturday and Arthur Staple just mentioned Garth Snow is not expected to be major player in free agency. It needs to be all about winning and keeping JT happy in a Post-McDavid, extension era. We could hear of JT's contract extension and an Arena deal announced soon, as previously discussed. Opportunity may come for something bigger than expected in the market or on the trade front. Barzal and Pulock may indeed fit the immediate plan while Nelson and Pelech are relied upon to step up, but there needs to be another move or two coming for the Islanders.


Per Arthur Staple, “#Isles have reached out to pending UFA Justin Williams, according to his agent. Long list of suitors, would be an interesting fit.”

Per Andy Graziano, “Told #isles had a 'conversation' with Radulov reps, more focused on trade front right now.”



Onto Saturday and into the rest of the summer. Let’s see where this goes. It’s been fun so far. Let’s hope it stays that way.




Isles Notes:


The Islanders extended qualifying offers to Connor Jones, Adam Pelech, Calvin de Haan and Christopher Gibson.


Per Staple, “Just catching up, believe #Isles did not make qualifying offers to D Loic Leduc, D Jesse Graham, D Matt Finn and G Stephon Williams.”


Per Arthur Staple, “Kelly Buchberger is at #Isles prospect camp, announcement of his hiring to come later this week.”

“Greg Cronin is also there is his new role as associate head coach. Still an important staffer for Doug Weight.”

“And former NHL goaltender Fred Brathwaite is at camp observing and consulting. No word yet on whether he'll have a more permanent role.”


Per B.D. Gallof, "I just flat-out asked on Friday whether or not (JVR) was offered ... message that I got back from #isles was no."


BST Coach, Brett Thompson’s son, Tyce invited to NYR mini-camp in Greenberg, N.Y.



NHL Notes:


Per NHL Rumors, “Sources tell me Ilya Kovalchuk has put in a trade request to NYR and CBJ only. Those are 2 teams he would accept deal to... more to follow.”




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