Before the first puck was dropped this year there were a few questions about the Bridgeport Sound Tigers chances of repeating as division champions. The biggest question being, who is going to do the scoring?
Of the top thirteen scoring forwards from last season only David Ullstrom and Casey Cizikas returned. Free agents Brandon DeFazio and Colin McDonald, acquired from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penquins, and Matt Watkins from the Portland Pirates will provide a solid veteran presence that can be counted on to put up some big numbers, but what about the kids?
The boys are back in town and sales will soon increase at Chipotles, Mr. Macs Canteen and dozens of restaurants in the area as the players prepare for the upcoming season.
It will not be long before locals can expect a Swedish flag flying outside a home rented by John Persson, Johan Sundstrom, David Ullstrom and Anders Nillson while larea chefs cringe as Ullstrom adds ketchup to the marinara sauce they spent hours preparing.
There is less than 12 hours until the third lockout begins under Commissioner Gary Bettman's watch. The last occurred back in 2004, canceling the 2004-2005 season and resulted in a new salary cap system. However, that system has been failing the smaller market teams, forcing them to keep up with the other clubs who earn more revenue and can afford higher salaries.
The owners and the NHLPA are fine with a salary cap system; they are not trying to reinvent the wheel all over again. But both sides are trying to structure an agreement on how the revenue is shared between the owners and players.
In recent discussions, several different proposals have been thrown on the table but none have come close to settling the disagreement. Bettman has been prepared to lockout his players if a new deal is not reached by the end of today. Although each side is likely to meet with each other before the day is over, it seems very unlikely that an 11th hour deal will be made.
The New York Islanders will finally have a better picture of what their defense will look like in 2013 as Lubomir Visnovsky's arbitration hearing is set to take place in just three days on September 4th. (Photo Credit: Bridget Samuels/Flickr)
As many of you know, Visnovsky filed a grievance with the NHLPA stating that the trade from the Anaheim Ducks to the Isles voided his No-Trade Clause and that the Ducks never approached him about the deal when they should have. However, the Ducks state that his NTC was used when the Edmonton Oilers dealt him to the Ducks in 2010.
If Visnovsky wins the decision, he remains part of the Ducks organization. If he loses, the trade stands and he is a member of the New York Islanders.
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.
Griffin Reinhart was selected by the Islanders with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The 6'4, 202-pound defenseman recently signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Isles that could kick into effect as soon as the 2013 season.
Many of you are already familiar with the way that this can play out. Reinhart will have nine games of eligibility before he could be sent back to his Junior team, the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. The 18-year old defenseman has already played three seasons for the Oil Kings and had his best last year, scoring 12 goals, 24 assists for 36 points in 58 games played. That totals a eleven point increase over the previous season.
Reinhart clearly has the size, but the question will be if he has the skill and mentality to compete at the NHL level.
This offseason has seen the Islanders organization bring in new faces to the club and has seen old faces leave the organization. Not every move the Islanders have made, Lubomir Visnovsky, or chose not to make, P.A Parenteau, have been as publicized as those two moves.
But the most, underrated move the Islanders made this off season was re-signing defenseman Jon Landry to a one-year, two-way contract. This is Landry’s first NHL contract, after playing with on a PTO contract last season, and he deserved it.