End of Lockout Creates Roster Questions For Bridgeport Sound Tigers
By Christian Arnold (@CA_NYHockey)
With the absurdity that was the NHL lockout finally over, there will be a lot of questions for the New York Islanders to deal with once training camp opens. Will Ryan Strome and Griffin Reinhart be with the team this season, will they amnesty Rick DiPietro, what shape will the players be when they report, and so on.
The most intriguing question, at least in the short term, is how will the AHL hold up now that the lockout is over. For some teams it won’t be as much of an issue, but for the Isles farm team, and others like them, it could leave some gaps.
Off the bat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers will lose Nino Niederrieter, who has 33 points (17 goals, 16 assists) in 33 games for the Sound Tigers, and Travis Hamonic. Though Hamonic has already been out since December 2, but will resume skating on Monday according to Newsday.
Hamonic may not be the only player that Bridgeport losses on the defensive end. Before the league locked out, it was believed that both Aaron Ness and Matt Donavan could compete for roster spots in the NHL. Both have had solid season so far in the AHL. Ness has racked up 12 points (0 goals, 12 assists) in 34 games and Donavan has put up 17 points (5 goals, 12 assists) in 33 games.
Both have also had stints in the NHL with Islanders last season and both handled themselves well.
Defenseman Ty Wishart may also be summed to Long Island for a shortened Islanders training.
Forward David Ullstrom is also a sure bet to at least be invited to camp, if not make the team. The 23-year-old Swedish native had an impressive 29-game run with the Islanders last season, scoring 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points in 29 games. Ullstrom has speed and flash that could help the Islanders big time.
Then there are goaltenders Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin. Both have played in the NHL and with the uncertainty surrounding the often injured Rick DiPietro, who may or may not have already been injured while in Europe, logic would conclude that at least one of the two would be invited to Isles camp.
This is obviously one of the less important issues going into the start of the season, but it’s still an intriguing one, at least to me.