It's early. The season is only four games old for the New York Islanders, who have come out of the gate with a 2-2-0 record. And although he has four assists on the year, it hasn't been John Tavares who has been scoring the majority of the goals (Photo Credit: MR_53/Flickr).
Keith Aucoin, who is tied for first on the team in goals with Michael Grabner, is slowly emerging as this year's key pick up by GM Garth Snow.
Grabner is expected to be on the score sheet after scoring 20-plus goals over his first two years with the Islanders. But Aucoin has only played 106 NHL games and only had the first two-goal game of his career last night against the Boston Bruins.
According to Katie Strang of ESPN, New York Islanders prospect Nino Niederreiter is seeking a trade from the organization.
Niederreiter has currently been playing for the Isles farm team affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after dressing for 55 games with the Islanders during the 2011-2012 season. While in the NHL, Niederreiter scored one goal and was a -29. He primarily played on the fourth line with Jay Pandolfo and Tim Wallace (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr).
He has arguably been the best player for the Sound Tigers this year. In 39 games played he has scored 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points. He also leads the team with 122 shots on goal and eight power play points.
Day one of training camp for The New York Islanders has been completed as plenty of familiar faces took to the ice today to either look to impress the coaching staff, or get back into game shape.
However, one player who was not at camp was defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.
Visnovsky has made it clear that he wants to remain with his team in the KHL, which is unsettling for Isles fans as well as his teammates. Arthur Staple of Newsday's recent report from camp today had quotes from some of the Islanders, including general manager Garth Snow, that indicated their displeasure with his actions (Photo Credit: bridgetds/Flick).
There might not be any NHL hockey to watch this season, but the Islanders have some young and talented skaters that are developing nicely with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.; Brock Nelson is one of them.
Nelson was selected by the Islanders 30th overall in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and spent two years playing with the University of North Dakota. In his sophomore season, Nelson scored 47 points in 42 games, earning him a brief stint with the Sound Tigers at the end of the 2012 season.
He did not put up any points in the four games he dressed in for the Sound Tigers. This year, however, has been an entirely different story.
It is rare when a player stays for more than three seasons with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team exists for one purpose and one purpose only … develop talent for their NHL affiliate, the New York Islanders.
Each September, a half-dozen or so twenty-year olds arrive in Bridgeport to begin their careers as professional hockey players against bigger, faster, stronger competition.
This years arrivals could include forwards Brock Nelson, Kirill Kabanov, Johan Sundstrom, John Persson, Mike Halmo and perhaps Nino Niederreiter, each, an investment by the Islanders in the future of the franchise.
Another summer of uncertainty will end in one hundred days when the doors to the Webster Bank Arena open for the start of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2012-13 season. A new season, a new head coach (yet to be announced) and a roster of players that will not be known until after the Islanders training camp has concluded in late September.
The Islanders have roster spots open at every position on the team and this years camp promises heated competition for each. While many questions remain, it is clear that the last few years of development are coming to a close.