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

Friday, July 21, 2017

New York Islanders Off-Season: Isles Promote Cronin, Extend Goaltender, Gibson

Our New York Islanders announced a re-alignment in their coaching staff today.

Defensive and PK specialist, Greg Cronin has been promoted to Associate Coach. Cronin has held the role of assistant coach since 2014 after being brought back to the organization from an Associate role with Toronto for 3 seasons. Cronin’s first stint with the team was as an Assistant (1998-99 through 2002-03) and BST coach (78-61-12) from 2003-05. Cronin took the Islanders from a dismal 3rd in goals allowed (3.09 goals/game) in 2013-14 to 8th (2.73 goals/game) in ‘14-15, then to 18th (2.57 goals/game) with a setback in ‘15-16 to 8th (2.90 goals/game). A flux in goaltending injury, inconsistency and key defensive injuries played a role in the Isles slip up last year, as did the distraction of firing Jack Capuano.  

But since Doug Weight’s take over, the Isles finished last year strong and missed the playoffs by only a point. Cronin was a part of that late success. Overall, his defensive personnel have been improving each year, and with it, so has the teams PK. Under Cronin, the Isles have gone from 26th (77.1%) to 4th (84.5%) to an 11th spot (81.9%) in a back and forth year for New York. The D will have a new look this year without Hamonic, and possible additions of Pulock with others in a regular role (Pelech, Mayfield, Toews, etc.), so the bar has been raised.

"Greg's hockey knowledge and experiences of over 30 years in the coaching profession are an asset to our coaching staff," Head Coach Doug Weight said. "He's run our penalty-kill the past several seasons and each year, it's been one of the best in the league. He has a tireless work ethic on the bench during games, at practice and in meetings. His desire to get the best out of every player, to help achieve our goal of winning is impressive and I'm thrilled to continue to work with him." Cronin served as Head Coach with Northeastern University from 2005-2011. He won the Bob Kullen Coach of the Year honors (Hockey East) in 2009, an NCAA Tournament berth and “compiled the greatest win total in a four-year span in NU history,” from the 2008-2011 season.

Per Release, “On the international stage, Cronin served as an Assistant Coach for Team USA at the World Hockey Championships in 1997, 2011 and 2012. In 2012, he helped guide the U.S. to a first-place finish in the preliminary round. He also was the founder, Director of Development for the United States National Development Program Under-18 Team and Head Coach of the Under 18 team. He also served as an Assistant Coach for Team USA's World Junior team in 1997 and 1998, winning silver in '97.”

On July 14th, the New York Islanders announced, goaltender Christopher Gibson has agreed to terms ($70,000 deal/ $80K guaranteed - $650,000 NHL cap hit) on a one-year, two-way (NHL/AHL) deal. Gibson, 24 came to the Isles in the Michael Grabner trade and has performed well in Bridgeport and made a little noise with the big club. He helped the Islanders clinch a playoff berth against the Washington Capitals in an exciting 4-3, O.T. win in April of 2016.

Last season, Gibson posted a 6-0-0 record with the BST with a 2.52 gaa and a .912 Sv% in an injury shortened, 7 game season. The deal will give Gibson an opportunity to show if he can continue to put up big numbers and stay healthy. As an AHL net minder, Gibson has a 54-34-9 record in 106 games with a 2.54 gaa, a .915 Sv% and four shutouts with the Marlies and Sound Tigers. He will compete for a spot against surging Eamon McAdam (Acquired through a pick via Niederreiter trade in 2013, 2nd year pro/ELC), who saw time in Bridgeport and Missouri of the ECHL last year, and newly acquired AHL vet, Kristers Gudlevskis.

Gibson was the 2nd round selection for the Los Angeles Kings (49th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft. Internationally, he helped his native Finland to a bronze medal in the 2009-10 Under-18 World Junior Championships.

Isles Notes:

Per Brian Compton, “Pierre Turgeon tells me he's excited to join #LAKings coaching staff; will apply a lot what he learned from Al Arbour. #Isles

Check out the Swedish Islander, Magnus Larsson’s article on Isles beat man, Arthur Staple.

Former Isles Coach, Ted Nolan to coach team Poland.

Sound Tigers notes:

BST’s release schedule.

Worcester Railers Notes:

Veteran Forward Rome Signs With Railers

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