How many goaltenders will we see in an Isles uniform by the end of the season? That was a question that a few of my readers asked me before the start of the year. Last year the Islanders featured Dwayne Roloson, Rick DiPietro, Kevin Poulin, Mikko Koskinen, Al Montoya and Nathan Lawson. And oh yeah, they also tried to claim Evgeni Nabokov off waivers to only say, "No thanks" before joining the roster this year.
That's a total of six goalies (with a 7th one that rang off the post) that dressed for the New York Islanders in 2011. The count now is at five for this year between DiPietro, Montoya, Nabokov, Poulin and Anders Nilsson, who earned his first NHL start against the Pittsburgh Penguins the day that Sidney Crosby returned to action.
Koskinen has been playing for KalPa in the Finnish Elite League as John Link explains to us in his latest prospect report since there has been a crowd in the crease for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Both Poulin and Nilsson had been playing so well that there was simply not enough room for Koskinen, choosing him to opt for overseas play.
On this edition of the prospect report I will take a look at two Islanders goaltending prospects in the Islanders system and see where they could fit in with the team in the future. I will look at Mikko Koskinen and Cody Rosen, two goaltender prospects that are fighting for a spot in an already crowded Islanders crease.
Mikko Koskinen is a goalie prospect most Islanders fan are familiar with because he has already made his Islanders debut last season. He was drafted in the 2nd round (31st Overall) in the 2009 entry draft. The big Finnish goalie (6’-7” tall) is currently playing in the Finnish Elite League for KalPa. He was assigned to the league after the start of the current season when it was decided that having three goaltenders in Bridgeport was not a good plan for their development. His stats so far this season aren’t bad as he has currently played in 15 games, winning 8 of them with a 1.92 goals against average. These are very good stat for playing in a very good European league.
For any team to be successful there must be contributions by everyone and The Bridgeport Sound Tigers recent winning streak of eight games proves just that. During their eifght game run (one short of the franchise record) thirteen different players have scored a goal (fourteen if you count Scott Howes shootout goal).
Thirteen different players in eight games - impressive. By comparison, the Islanders have seen 17 players score in 46 games and two Sound Tigers (Ullstrom and Reese) are among the seventeen. With everyone contributing it is probably a disservice to select three stars but as that is the tradition I humbly offer mine.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers and their fans had little to celebrate on New Years Eve, other than “Thank God that month is over”. Having gone one win in twelve December games, the only bright spot was that the win came against our in-state rival, the Hartford ‘Whale Pack’. 2012 had to be better, and it has been.
Invited by Rob McGowan, I was given the opportunity to join The Checking Line – Isles Edition as a writer covering The Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Bridgeport has not lost a game since.
Another frustrating loss for the New York Islanders. Falling 5-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes for their second straight loss. A 1-2 road trip leads them to their next game, at home on Tuesday, against the Detroit Red Wings.
But let's talk about last night's game. It was yet another Islander game of the whole team just not having it. The team looked sloppy and just could not make a play. As for the Coyotes, being a team currently out of a playoff...
The Ducks top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan had a coming out party Friday Night.
Unfortunately, it was at the New York Islanders expense.
Bobby Ryan had two goals and Ryan Getzlaf scored the go-ahead goal, his first in over a month, as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Islanders 4-2.
Ryan started the scoring at 14:18 of the second period only seconds after their first power play of the game ended. Matt Martin answered back under two minutes later tapping home a rebound to tie the game at one. It was his fifth goal of the season, tying his career high.
It was reported yesterday that Rick DiPietro was being sent home for medical evaluations before the road trip even began as he had sustained yet another injury to add to the many setbacks of his career. Mike Mottau was also returned to Long Island with an upper-body injury. However, the story surrounding DiPietro is that this guy hadn't been playing; he was already on the Injured Reserve.
You have to wonder how a guy like Rick finds a way to injure himself while he is already...well...injured. He wasn't playing in games, although he had been skating on the ice. And according to Art Staple of Newsday, DiPietro wasn't even close to dressing as a back-up for any of the games on this road trip that saw them play Carolina last night, Anaheim on Friday and Phoenix on Saturday.
The Islanders start on a 3 game road trip and look to continue their 2 game winning streak. The first stop on the trip is visiting the last place in the Eastern Conference Hurricanes. This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams. The two teams are currently tied at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and the Islanders will look to change that with a win.
The lines from the Islanders practice Sunday stayed the same from the game against the Oilers. They were:
One of the bigger stories for this road trip is that Rick DiPietro will be making the trip as a 3rd goalie. There hasn’t been a report yet on whether or not he will play or dress during the trip. DiPietro has been out with a groin injury since December 3rd. Andres Nilsson is still currently with the team on loan from Bridgeport and is expected to dress with the Islanders until DiPietro is ready to play. DiPietro has had his struggles this season before the injury so hopfully he has had enough time to heal from the injury and also work on his game. The other news coming out of Islanders practice Sunday was that Micheal Haley was returned to Bridgeport. With the team starting to get healthier he was no longer needed.
Ryan Strome displayed that he has the hands, the vision and the speed to compete at the highest level of hockey when he put on a show at the Islanders rookie scrimmage this past summer. He was making plays everywhere he was on the ice and then finished the game with an unbelievable shootout goal in the skills competition on Islanders goaltender, Anders Nilsson.
This move still makes my jaw drop when I watch it. Granted, will he ever be able to pull something off like this in a real game? Highly unlikely, especially if he doesn't want to be jumped by the opposing goalie and all of his teammates. But it just goes to show how much skill this kid really has.
Strome is currently participating in the World Juniors tournament for Team Canada to add on to his impressive season with the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL. In 24 games with the Ice Dogs, Strome has 16 goals, 17 assists and 33 points along with a +11 rating and 34 PIMs. He had 106 points in 65 games played last year with the Ice Dogs and appears to be on pace for another great season.