The Sound Tigers have ten games remaining in their season and while they still have a chance to make the playoffs, the chance is remote. It is likely the team would have to run the table in order to extend the season.
Ten W’s in ten games is a lot to ask of a team whose record in ‘Tweetish’ (140 chars. or less) to date is: ‘#BST-W-W-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-W-W-L-W-W-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-W-W-W-L-L-L-L-L-W-W-L-L-L-L-W-W-W-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-W-L-L-W-W-L-L-W-L-L-W-L-L.’ It does not look good for the playoffs, but tables have been run and there are still some compelling reasons to visit the Webster Bank Arena for the remaining games.
With the NHL in a lockout that important part of the AHL experience was gone and it was missed. Hockey wasn’t the same. But the NHL is back and hockey is once again whole. Some five or six Sound Tigers will be called-up in the next few days to begin the abbreviated 2012 -2013 season, others will be called as needed over the next few months.
My friends are now asking me “How are the Sound Tigers going to be after they lose all those players to the Islanders?” My honest response is “They are a better team now than the club that started the season.”
In a normal year, Kichton’s NHL Entry Level Contract (ELC) would have already passed from negotiation to signing. This year negotiations have yet to begin.
Several weeks after multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts were being handed out like Hershey Bars on Halloween, seventy-thousand dollar a year ELC’s are being withheld while meetings in Toronto and New York drag on to the inevitable.
You couldn't have been more wrong if you predicted the Islanders to take a forward in this year's draft. The Isles only selected defenseman out of all seven rounds of this year's draft. They also acquired the top four defenseman that GM Garth Snow has continuously talked about addressing in this off-season.
The first move came when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the Islanders traded their 2013 second round pick to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Lubomir Visnovsky, a 35-year old defenseman (he turns 36 in August) in the final year of his contract. Visnovsky put up six goals and 21 assists for 27 points in 68 games last year with the Ducks. The year before was even better as the Ducks d-man scored 61 points in 81 games. 2012 was a tough year overall for the Ducks, so there's reason to believe that Visnovsky can be an offensive weapon, especially on the power play.
What is going on with the Islanders and their prospects? Rhett Rakhshani has signed a one-year deal with HV71 in Sweden, Justin DiBenedetto is on his way to Austria and Mark Katic is going to Germany. Granted Trevor Gillies also signed to play in Russia but he was never going to see the NHL again and I think we can all agree on that. What does this mean for the players and the Islanders as an organization?
Much could have been said about the state of the Islanders' defense during the 2011-2012 NHL season, but Islanders fans could see a team that has some other defensive dilemmas in the coming seasons. (Bridgetds/Flickr)
Most Isles fans might know that the New York Islanders have a farm system that is stocked with some very interesting talent. Ryan Strome, Casey Cizikas, and Calvin de Haan are some of the names that might come to mind when mentioning the rebuild on Long Island, but the Isles also have a number of defensive prospects that will be of interest once the 2012-2013 regular season gets closer. Since Garth Snow committed himself and the New York Islanders to a rebuild, the General Manager has selected some promising defensemen that have raised some eyebrows over the last couple of seasons.
While recent defensive draftees such as Scott Mayfield, Andrey Pedan, and Robbie Russo may need a little bit more time to develop, there are more than a few defensive prospects that the Islanders will be keeping their eyes on. Defensemen might take a longer amount of time to develop, but the growth of players such as Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald are just a couple of examples that are proving why patience can pay off when it comes to rebuilding a franchise. MacDonald and Hamonic performed very admirably during the 2011-2012 season for the Islanders and the team has high hopes for some of its prospects that have been maturing within their system.
With this edition of the prospect report I will continue my count down of the top 15 prospects in the Islanders system from this past season. If haven’t read the first part of the countdown then click here and catch yourself up.
#10 Mikko Koskinen – Goalie, KalPa (Swedish Elite) 6’-6” 202lbs
Mikko is the first and only goaltender to make this list as Kevin Poulin and Andres Nilsson played their season in the AHL. Koskinen spent his season in the Swedish Elite league in order to avoid a three headed goalie monster at Bridgeport. Playing for KalPa this season, Mikko appeared in 25 games posting a GAA of 2.30 and a save percentage of .916. Koskinen also played in 6 games during the opening round of the playoffs in which KalPa was eliminated.
On this edition of the prospect report, I will update you Islanders fans on the seasons of two Islanders defensive prospects. Robbie Russo and Brenden Kichton have both finished their seasons so let’s take a look at how they finished up. To read my original report on these two click here.
Robbie Russo finished his freshman season at the University Of Norte Dame recently when his team was eliminated from the CCHA conference playoffs. Russo finished the season playing in all of Norte Dame’s 40 games and scoring 4 goals to go with 11 assist. He also finished with a +/- of -6 and only 7 penalty minutes.
On this edition of the prospect report, I will look at two lesser known Islanders defensive prospects drafted in the 2011 entry draft. American Robbie Russo and Canadian Brenden Kichton are both still fairly young and undeveloped prospects that under the right instruction could turn into regular NHL players.
Brenden Kichton was drafted in 5th round (127th overall) in 2011 and is currently playing in the WHL for the Spokane Chiefs. The 6’-0” defenseman is mostly known for his offensive abilities rather than his in zone abilities. So far this season he is putting up impressive numbers with 9 goals and 39 assists in 45 games. This is nothing new for Kichton who had a similar season last year where he scored 81 points (23 goals and 58 assist) in 64 games. His play in his own zone isn’t a downfall as he is considered solid; he doesn’t have imposing size but is still reliable in his own end.