While the New York Islanders are having a terrific season in the NHL, they have many prospects and a mix of veterans playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the American Hockey League.
Their season has not gone as planned, but they’ve had notable players make an impact. They were recently on a four-game winning streak and have a record of 8-12-3. The team is coached by former Islanders assistant, Brent Thompson. Let’s take a look at a few notable players on the Sound Tigers this season.
Even though the AHL team is not off to a great start, Islanders’ 2018 first-round pick, Oliver Wahlstrom, has played well in his 15 games. He has scored three goals and has nine points after impressing in his brief stint with the Islanders earlier this season. He did not score in the NHL, but played some physical hockey in limited minutes.
He has been playing on the first line wing with the Sound Tigers for most of the season although he has just one game with more than a point, which came on Nov. 15 against the Belleville Senators.
While it’s unlikely he’ll get any type of call-up in the near future with the Islanders lacking depth at center while having excess on the wing, Wahlstrom will definitely be a name to keep an eye out come playoff time if he can have a big season in Bridgeport.
If anybody would have guessed Andrew Ladd would be playing Year 4 of his seven-year contract in the AHL, they would have been correct. He missed most of last season with a torn ACL and has not fully recovered. General manager Lou Lamoriello placed Ladd on waivers, and unsurprisingly he went unclaimed and continues to play for Bridgeport.
His numbers have not been bad, as he has four goals in 13 games. The Islanders need to see him remain healthy and get stronger, so they become comfortable rolling him out every night with the big team. He will probably be called-up before Wahlstrom due to his contract and experience in the NHL.
For many Islanders fans, it has been pretty sad to see Thomas Hickey playing in the AHL. He had been a staple on the back end for many years and unfortunately suffered an injury last season, which gave an opportunity to Devon Toews. The Islanders also let Noah Dobson begin the season with the Islanders, leaving Hickey the odd-man out.
He missed time with an injury this season and has yet to register a point. He is one of the lone players without a negative plus/minus for the Sound Tigers. It would not be surprising to see him with the Islanders at some point this season. He will always be remembered for 6 of his 23 career NHL goals coming in overtime.
The Islanders hope when their Sebastian Aho makes the NHL, he can have half as good of a career as the Carolina Hurricanes’ Sebastian Aho has had. He’s unfortunately been down the on the depth chart despite making an appearance in the NHL in the 2017-18 season, where he scored his first career goal.
He has one of his two goals on the power play and leads the team with 10 assists. Aho is also tied for the team-lead with 53 shots on goal as a defender playing big minutes in preparation for his future role in the NHL. He is coming off of a season where he had a career-high 46 points.
A lot of the struggles this season have come from the goaltenders. The Sound Tigers have two netminders who have had little NHL experience in Christopher Gibson and Jared Coreau. However, with Gibson out with an injury and Coreau struggling, Bridgeport has turned to Jakub Skarek.
As a team, they are allowing a little over three goals per game. The Islanders have been extremely fortunate both Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov have remained healthy. Gibson is expected to be out week-to-week, so somebody will have to step up to help the Sound Tigers compete this season.
They will be back in action on Friday with a matchup with the Utica Comets in the first of three games in four days.
Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor degree in journalism. Originally from Long Island, he moved to Parkland shortly after high school. Matt worked as the assistant sports editor for his school paper, eaglenews.com in college becoming just one of nine students in his graduation class to serve over 1,000 community service hours. His goal is to travel to every Major League Baseball stadium, and has been to multiple US Open finals.