Although the New York Islanders have been surrounded with lots of negative attention these days, there is a positive and hopeful story that has been emerging and has almost gone unnoticed (Photo credit: mandelux12/Flickr).
Ryan Strome and Anders Lee have been nothing short of excellent since their recent call-up back to the New York Islanders.
Last Thursday, I spoke on the phone with former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Boucher.
Boucher retired from hockey back in October when he was released from EV Zug, a team from the National League A in Switzerland after playing five games.
I called Boucher for a different story I was doing for the Press of Atlantic City. Along with a handful of Flyers and New Jersey Devils alumni, Boucher was playing in the Red Line Classic: Battle of the Boards at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Sunday. Team Orange, the team Boucher played on, beat Team White 8-7.
The NHL trade deadline is scheduled for March 5th, just a few days shy from officially being one month away. Typically, that would leave for plenty of hockey to be played between now and then, but that isn't the case this year with the Winter Olympics coming up in just a little over a week.
In fact, there are only seven NHL games to be played between now and then.
They currently hold a 21-28-8 record that is good for 50 points and 14th in the Eastern Conference. They are also 10 points away from the eighth placed Philadelphia Flyers.
With the Islanders having lost their last five games in a row, all signs point to this team becoming sellers at the deadline.
There is all but little hope for the New York Islanders to resurrect this season from the dead as they continue to plummet to the bottom of the NHL standings, having now lost 12 of their last 13 games after a 1-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens last night at the Coliseum (Photo credit: jennkuhn4/Flickr).
But there is Ryan Strome; a young scorer who should provide the Isles faithful with a glimmer of hope for the future.
Ryan Strome has been developing with the New York Islanders organization for the past two years, playing with their AHL farm-team affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Photo Credit: mandelux12/Flickr).
In 10 games with the Sound Tigers in 2013, Strome scored seven points in 10 games (two goals and five assists). He has continued the high scoring pace this season as well, notching 14 points in nine games played (three goals and 11 assists) as the team's top scorer.
He also was cited as the best player in the Islander rookie camp before the puck dropped for this season as well.
...But this trade signifies that GM Garth Snow is ready to strike a deal that can be made in order to benefit his team. He's no longer building for the future. He's looking to win right now (Photo credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
And he should be. The rebuild has been over for at least a year now. The Islanders made the playoffs last year and played a series against a much better Pittsburgh Penguins team that could have gone either way had there been better goaltending.
The expectations deserve to be raised, and Snow has to make moves for the present. But at what cost?
Yesterday, center Scott Laughton returned to the Oshawa Generals of the OHL for the second consecutive year. However, last year's stay lasted a full five games, and this time around, zero.
19-year-old Laughton failed to crack the lineup in favor of forwards Adam Hall and Jay Rosehill against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. If he could not beat Rosehill or Hall in the lineup, why keep him around?