With all the talk about the Islanders prospects, there has not been so much talk about two guys that Islanders fans have actually seen on the ice. The Islanders have two promising goalie prospects in Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin, amd it’s only a mater of time until one, or both, of the goalies begin making regular appearances at the NHL level.
With this being said, and the fact that there are only two active roster spots to dress NHL goalies, where do these guys stand within the Islanders organization?
Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson have been splitting time with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers over the past season, while making sporadic appearances for the Islanders during the 2010-11 season. Although most of Islanders fans may be more familiar with Poulin, who shined for the Islanders during his 10 appearances for the big club during the prior season before he was injured, Nilsson may be the most recent prospect on their minds.
As most of Isles fans may recall, Anders Nilsson appeared in 4 games for the New York Islanders last season, posting a 1-2 record through two very impressive starts at the end of the season (one shutout, and one 58-minute shutout where he took a 2-1 loss). His loss came during his unfortuante NHL-debut where he was shelled for 5 goals during Sidney Crosby’s Nationally televised return.
During Nilsson’s successful starts, he showed poise and that he can use his size to his advantage. He took up the entire net because of his solid positioning, which made it awfully tough for opposing teams (the New Jersey Devils) to figure him out. Actually, it took 118 minutes, but who’s counting?
On the other hand, Kevin Poulin made 6 appearances for the Islanders this past season. Honestly, his numbers were very sub-par for the Islanders, who were absolutely impressed with his game only one season before. His 2-4 record was mediocre, while his GAA was an inflated 3.04. In a positive way, though, Poulin did shine. He seemed to suffer from the Islanders odd curse, where the team would often let up goals on the first shot of the game (something that happened 11 or 12 times this season- maybe more), including a disaster against Nashville where he would go on to let up his first 3, but then settled down without letting up any for the rest of the game. Yes, it was rough times on the Island for Kevin Poulin, who seemed so promising for the Islanders in 2011, as well as for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the past two seasons.
Although both goalies were impressive in the AHL this past season, Nilsson made the largest impact on the minds of Islanders fans during his NHL stints. Does that mean Nilsson is the goalie of the Islanders future, though? Is there enough speace for both goalies on the Island?
I’m going to be honest. I’m torn. Here’s the thing. Although I do think the Islanders would want to keep both guys, I think at some point, the New York Islanders are going to have to look into parting with one of them. No, I don’t think this season, but I do think the Islanders will make this decision in the upcoming year or two. Sure, the team can always go the route of having two starting goalies, but that never ever lasts, and often leads to controversy. I think, eventually, the Islanders will part with one of them. Now, the question is “which one?”
Well, it might shock some, and it might not. If the Islanders were to make this deal happen now, Anders Nilsson should be the Islanders goalie prospect that remains on the Island. Like I said, I’m torn. Nilsson showed that he is probably most NHL-ready. His size and positioning made him a wall in the crease for both, the Islanders and the Sound Tigers. He reminds me of Pekka Rinne, and I think he can actually be that good.
And I know that Kevin Poulin has received high-praise from all over the place. I have been on record for saying that he is our goalie of the future. I am on record for saying that this kid is going to be the guy to make people completely move on from Rick DiPietro. I believe the potential is even greater than that of Nilsson, but I also think the team shouldn’t take the risk on another injury-prone goaltender while they have other solid choices in front of them. Again, I just don’t think two solid #1 goalies can co-exist for more than a season or two.
Both goalies played incredible for stretches of time in Bridgeport, as both earned Goalie of the Month awards in the AHL. I think the Islanders goalie position is the least of the team’s worries. They have the luxury of two prospects that can make an NHL impact, and the flexibility of trading one of them as part of a package for a piece in the future. This doesn’t mean I know what’s going to happen, and I wouldn’t care if the Islanders chose one over the other, or if they chose to stick with both. The Islanders are in good shape.
Filed Under: New York Islanders
About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants