The Sound Tigers have moved rapidly to reload their roster in anticipation of the much too long delayed start of the NHL’s 2012-2013 season. Jack Combs and Chad Costello have shredded their try-out offer sheets and replaced them with AHL deals locking them in place for the season.
Prior to the NHL lockout, the New York Islanders announced that the team will be moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn once the lease with Nassau County expires in 2015. Although this was good news for the local fans, this situation also provided a lot of work for team owner Charles Wang and General Manager Garth Snow (Photo Credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
The Islanders need to be a team ready to compete by the time they enter their new home. A new arena means a new identity, and it cannot be the one that this team has maintained for the last few years.
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.”
Many NHL fans were clamoring for both Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman to be locked in a room without the option of leaving until a new CBA deal was agreed upon. That is basically what took place last night.
Several months later, a 16-hour negotiating process that ended around 5 AM Sunday morning resulted in a new CBA that is in the process of being ironed out on paper. The deal is a 10-year agreement with an opt-out clause that is available at eight years (Photo credit: shot7photos/Flickr).
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.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are off to their best start since the 2008-09 season and while some of this early season success can be attributed to the ‘influx of NHL talent’ that every team is enjoying, there are other subtle benefits that this current NHL forced lockout has provided and the Sound Tigers are taking full advantage.
Similarly to Nino Niederreiter, many were wondering where Ryan Strome would be playing at the start of the 2013 season. After being selected by the New York Islanders with the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft, Strome remained with the team straight out of training camp. He only watched two NHL games from the press-box before being sent back to his OHL team, the Niagara Ice Dogs. (Photo Credit: mandelux12/Flickr)
Strome continued to impress with the Ice Dogs and had some hockey pundits expecting him to crack the Islanders line-up this year. But the NHL work stoppage has basically kept many Islanders prospects with their respective junior teams or their farm team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Therefore, Strome has continued his career with the Ice Dogs this season, playing for them for the fourth year in a row.
After a rookie season that no one expected from an Islanders top prospect, Nino Niederreiter is finally getting the development he has needed in the professional ranks of hockey. (Photo Credit: MVerminski/Flickr)
After being a 40-goal scorer in the WHL, Nino became a fourth liner that saw very limited ice time that only resulted in one goal in 55 games played in the NHL. He saw injuries and even some healthy time spent in the press-box as a scratch, and was often playing with veteran penalty killer Jay Pandolfo, and career AHL'er Tim Wallace.
It seemed as if the big power-forward was potentially turning into a big bust.
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?