|Just pretend Kabanov is Nelson...|
Expect there to be plenty of competition in training camp over the summer, and you can bet on that. With the current roster that took this team to the postseason, the possible off-season additions, and the Islanders' deep prospect pool, players will finally be fighting to keep their jobs, while others battle to take them.
Of course, the competition for roster spots also means the inevitable: someone is not going to make the roster on opening day. Think about it. Most of the players on this past season's roster will be returning, and many of those who aren't locked up (Hamonic, Bailey, etc.) are expected to be. The roster is already full, despite Ryan Strome, Nino Niederreiter and Brock Nelson, among other prospects, that are waiting in the wings.
It's a funny thing about those three prospects, though. We lose patience when they're up with the big club(see Nino in 2012), and we lose patience while they're not up with the big club (see Strome, Nelson and Nino in 2013). The upcoming 2013-14 season, though, is when we are supposed to expect all three of them to be NHL ready. Of course, and as I mentioned, there may not be enough room. Our future "phenoms" are going to have to earn it.
Today, Isles fans, we are going to play a little game. With little space available on the roster, the desire for a trade (whether it be Vanek, Bernier, Ryan, etc.), and Nelson, Niederreiter, and Strome waiting for their chance to play for the Islanders, who would you say makes the cut, who gets another year in the minors, and who gets sent away in a package for a top name player. Try to resist the urge to say all of them!
If you could only pick one...demote one, promote one, trade one - GO!
In my opinion, I think I would have to put Brock Nelson in the NHL. I know many of you would disagree, but I think he's the only "definitely ready" for the NHL's brand of hockey. We saw him play a few minutes in Game Six against the Penguins, and let's face it. Brock Nelson has the size that many of our prospects (and roster players) do not. Throwing the body around, Nelson appeared to be ready.
If you want offense, don't be worried. Brock Nelson can provide that too. He scored 25 goals for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (a BST franchise rookie record) during his first pro-season, and led the Sound Tigers with 52 points through 66 games. Brock is probably the most well-rounded out of all the prospects, having the ability to play on the power-play, penalty-kill, and a top-six role.
In terms of who I would rather see in the AHL, I like Nino, but Ryan Strome has to be the guy who gets some extra time in Bridgeport. In 2013, Ryan Strome proved everything he needed to show that he was ready for the next level. When he arrived in Bridgeport, Strome scored a goal in his AHL debut. He finished his first AHL season with 7 points (2-5-7) in the ten games he played,
I would say Strome has the highest ceiling for all of the Islanders' prospects. I would also say, in this case, Strome should go the course of this fellow future teammates by finishing one season in the AHL.
NOTE: I do think we will see both players in the NHL next season. Before you come to take my head off, remember this is just a game!
Then, of course, we have to talk trade. If I had to choose one of these prospects to move, I would say it should be Nino Niederreiter, who may or may not have fallen out of favor with the Islanders' brass. He finished the year with 28 goals in 72 games, but Nino's numbers dropped off mightily after he was told that he didn't make the cut out of "training camp".
Let me say that the kid is going to be an absolute stud. If the Islanders were going to make a deal for one of those top players we always clamor for, though, it's probably going to have to include one of these three prospects.
With Nino's recent play at the World's, his stock is higher than ever. No longer a rookie and possibly struggling to find a spot on the Islanders, I would move Nino for top-value. The Islanders offense is good, but the team still has room to get better.
Enough about what I think, though. Demote one, promote one, trade one, who ya got?
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!