Season Opener, no major prospect surprises
This week the Islanders finalized their roster for Saturday's opener against the revamped Florida Panthers (follow me on Twitter for my thoughts on them). of the moves made there were no major surprises with Jay Pandolfo earning a contract in replacement of the injured Nino Neiderreiter and Trevor Gillies. Also, Ryan Strome will make the team for nine games following in fellow fifth overall pick Niederreiter's foot steps. It's been speculated that Strome will largely watch from the press boxes as an extended lecture on the pace and flow of the NHL level. With 12 healthy forwards under contract, I have no problem with Strome doing his homework, if last season's any indication, he'll take the OHL to detention for starting without him. The only paranoia with Strome was getting his Entry Level Contract completed and submitted to the NHL by Tuesday's 5pm deadline (Our GM submit's paperwork on time, for this, I am thankful).
Enough school puns, they end now.
Kirill Kabanov let it be known on his Facebook that he was informed he hadn't made the team and the Isles re-assigned him to his Junior Squad in the QMJHL (Armada Blainville-Boisbriand). Kirill was excellent after his move to Lewiston last year and this is essentially a tune-up year for him as he just needs to add bulk and continue to mature to make the NHL as early as next season (where he'll be joined, hopefully by fellow Russian Kirill Petrov...which is going to be fun).
Strome and Kabanov were the last touted prospects left in camp who needed their status determined within the first few games. Last week D Calvin de Haan and 18 other prospects were demoted to AHL Bridgeport. These demotions would have occured earlier in Camp had the Isles scheduled any pre-season for their top affiliate, but I guess they had other things to do. included in the group were Cs Casey Cizikas (who's the Isles 2nd best defensive C behind Frans Nielsen) and David Ullstrom as well as AHL breakout candidate Justin DiBenedetto. "DiBo" notched 19 goals last year for the Tigers and will have Ullstrom or Cizikas centering him all season. I expect good things.
Micheal Haley was also sent down to Bridgeport, but he'll be amongst the first call-ups for the Isles. Haley added grit to the Isles lineup and backs down from exactly no one (ask Brent Johnson). Haley was also quite productive notching 12 goals and 22 points in 50 contests last year at the AHL, so scoring improvements should come for him.
I'll have a full Bridgeport write-up later this weekend.