Finally! The Islanders’ 48-game 2013 schedule has been released, and although it may be tough, I’m going to try make it to as many games (4) as I can before I leave for vacation on February 9th.
Some notables in the schedule:
-The Islanders play their first two games at home, and then take off for a five game road-trip.
-According to Eric Hornick, the Isles only have a lone one-game home-stand. In the prior two seasons, the Islanders had a twelve and ten one-game home-stands, respectively.
-The Isles have a 7-game home-stand towards the end of February into early March, but finish the season on a 5-game road trip.
-There are two Islanders’ games going to be nationally televised on NBCSN, including a home game against the Boston Bruins.
-Islander-Rangers play each other 4x this season, including a game on Valentine’s Day.
I’m not going to go into the analytics of it all because I’m not that guy when it comes to scheduling, but it looks like the Islanders will be playing 3-4 games per week on average. I’m pumped. If you want the rest of the schedule, click here.
Now, I went to Webster Bank Arena last night to see the Bridgeport Sound Tigers take on the Portland Pirates. The Sound Tigers were up 2-0 in the first, but disappeared completely for the rest of the game. They fell to the Pirates 6-3.
After the game, Arthur Staple of Newsday announced the names of the Bridgeport players invited to Islanders’ training camp.
Some of these names may not be of a surprise, but it’s the names left off this list that caught many off-guard. Nino Niederreiter, Brock Nelson, Aaron Ness, and Matt Donovan were all expected to be on Long Island this morning by many (including myself),
What this means is exactly what many Islanders’ fans have feared, except it’s probably the better decision in the long-term: our “locks” for the Islanders’ roster could still use a little bit of proper developing.
Nino Niederreiter has the chance to finish on top of the AHL in points (although he would have never had a chance if Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz remained). The AHL provides Nino with top-line minutes with the Sound Tigers, and the opportunity to gel with many future Islanders on the roster. After heavy criticism about the mishandling of prospects such as Nino and Josh Bailey, Garth Snow is in no rush to bring back the Islanders’ 2010 top-pick. Nino will get his time, but barring injuries, it won’t happen at the start of the season.
It’s a very similar case for both Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness. Combined, they have 12 games of NHL experience. With three of Bridgeport’s defenseman potentially leaving for the Island, Donovan and Ness will get top minutes as Bridgeport’s best defensive pairing. Those minutes will prove to be invaluable to their development.
For the call-ups, Casey Cizikas and David Ullstrom are both familiar with the NHL. Although both can use some more development, their two-way games make them better fits at the NHL-level at the moment. Cizikas looks to replace Marty Reasoner as the team’s 4th-line centre. David Ullstrom looks to fill the shoes of Josh Bailey (injured). Both players may be up and down throughout the season, but both deserve a chance to lock-up a roster spot after their solid play last season.
Colin McDonald will be the veteran AHL call-up. When the Islanders need depth, which they will, the Sound Tigers’ captain will get the call. Colin provides a little bit of everything in Bridgeport. Hopefully, it transitions better for the Islanders than it did with Tim Wallace.
On defense, the only question for Travis Hamonic was injury-related. Hamonic will be ready to go for the opener. He showed some rust in last night’s game at Bridgeport, including a very poor lack-of-action for the Pirates 2nd goal, but better it happen there then on the Island, right?
The two other invites were a bit of a surprise. Although I pegged Jon Landry as the Islanders’ darkhorse candidate for a 6th defenseman over the summer, Landry has not been very effective when he isn’t on the powerplay. He’s a giveaway machine (saw it last night in the neutral zone, leading to a breakaway), and can be a defensive liability. Still, he can be a placeholder as we await the arrivals of our younger defenseman, and there are definitely worse out there (Toronto signed Mike Mottau last night). He will get a look, especially if Lubo doesn’t ever arrive.
Ty Wishart could be just another body at camp. He has NHL experience, though. Ty hasn’t lived up to his first-round draft status, but you consider this his last stand to make an impact. I’m sure Ty wants it, but he needs to prove it. For defensive-depth, Roloson’s return will be here.
With a few holes in the roster, the Islanders, at worst, send these guys back to the AHL after using them for bodies at camp. If any one of these players can fill a spot better than the guy already in it, these call-ups were beneficial.
Chances are, the Islanders will see all of these guys for a little bit, especially due to the expected injuries from rust accumulated from the lockout. It’s on these players, including the ones left behind, to make the statement they want to make to keep them up at the NHL-level.
Less than one week to go. Let’s go Islanders!
Note: The Islanders announced the signing of Radek Martinek to a 1-year deal this morning.
Thank you for reading. What are your thoughts on the Bridgeport invites?
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