We’re several weeks past the onslaught of free agency madness, still more than a month away from training camp, and right smack in the middle of the dog days of summer with the NHL. The Islanders, after the acquisitions this off-season of Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski, and Nikolai Kulemin, have addressed many of the holes that have plagued them in recent years.
The New York Islanders announced this morning this morning that they will be hosting their annual Blue & White Prospects Scrimmage on July 10th at Nassau Coliseum. In addition to the scrimmage and skills competition, fans will have an opportunity to obtain autographs from the participants as well.
Regardless of their unexpected success taking them into the playoffs last year, there were many areas that the Islanders needed to improve coming into the current season. The core of the team was established, but among many other things the defensive corps was a major concern and the departure of captain Mark Streit only made things worse.
As another Islander season draws closer to an ending, it’s never too early to start thinking about the future (it’s what we do best on Long Island). Free agency will come and go and big-ticket names will be shuffled around in trades. And the one name hanging out there that appears ripe for the taking, Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban, just so happens to make a heck of a lot of sense for the team in Nassau.
Having already used one of their two compliance buyouts from the new CBA, the Islanders have some decisions to make before the start of next season. Improvements need to be made and impact players need to be brought in if there is any hope of contending next season. Due to their already small budget, a compliance buyout may have to be used to make sure that they have money available to acquire the right players.
The Sound Tigers have gone 5-1-0 in their last 6 games, continuing their up and down trend that has gone on all season long. A lack of identity could be the cause of the inconsistency but there are some bright spots to take note of in Bridgeport.
Ryan Strome has been developing with the New York Islanders organization for the past two years, playing with their AHL farm-team affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Photo Credit: mandelux12/Flickr).
In 10 games with the Sound Tigers in 2013, Strome scored seven points in 10 games (two goals and five assists). He has continued the high scoring pace this season as well, notching 14 points in nine games played (three goals and 11 assists) as the team's top scorer.
He also was cited as the best player in the Islander rookie camp before the puck dropped for this season as well.
With the preseason now behind us, Isles fans everywhere can collectively breathe a sigh of relief as the moment we have all been waiting for is upon us. The Isles are on the verge of playing the first meaningful games since the heart breaking game 6 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last May. We have all been eager to pick up right where we left off after exceeding all expectations last season. With all of this in mind, we can only hope for the success to continue so the Islanders can take their place among the elite teams of the NHL. Although the outcome of this coming season is yet to be determined, I think I speak for Islander fans everywhere when I say this is the most confident we have been in the last 20 years.