The Islanders signed Penn State goaltender Eamon McAdam to a three-year entry level contract on Wednesday. McAdam was selected in the third round (70th overall) of the 2013 NHL draft. The 21-year-old will forgo his senior year with the Nittany Lions and report to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League on an amateur tryout contract.
McAdam led Penn State to a 21-13-4 overall record and 10-9-1 Big Ten record. The goaltender started in a career-high 22 games and posted season-bests in GAA (2.98), save percentage (.913), saves (631) and record (13-8-1). His 13 victories were a school record, as was his .614 winning percentage for a single-season. He was named to the All Big-Ten second Team. McAdam was one of the 26 nominees for the Mike Richter Award, honoring the most outstanding goaltender in the NCAA. Prior to his time at Penn State, he was named MVP of the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in 2013.
“Thank you to everyone at Penn State… All the staff, fans and my teammates who I’ve had the opportunity to play with here. Thank you for all the opportunities and chances they’ve given me over the past three years. It’s been an amazing time, the best three years of my life and I’m excited to see where this program will go in the near future. I came here to help set a foundation for future Penn State hockey players and I hope I helped make this program better than it was when I got here.”
The Penn State men’s ice hockey is relatively new to Division I. The 2015-16 season was their fourth in Division 1 and third in the Big Ten Conference. The team has come a long way. The Lions were 3-16-1 in their first season in the Big Ten in 2013-14. McAdam led the Nittany Lions to the second round of the Big Ten tournament this season before failing to eventual champion Michigan. Head coach Guy Gadowsky praised his departing goaltender.
“We are very proud of Eamon and his growth as a goaltender and a teammate. He had a tremendous season and we will surely miss him, but we are very excited to watch his success with the Islanders. Eamon is also an excellent student and has assured us he will graduate. I know Eamon loves Penn State and he will always be a big part of our hockey program and the University.”
The Sound Tigers could use McAdam. Christopher Gibson was injured in Saturday’s game against the Portland Pirates. Gibson, who was acquired by the Islanders in the Michael Grabner trade is considered day-to-day. McAdam will join fellow 2013 draft pick Stephon Williams, who was drafted in the fourth round. This is Williams’s first pro season. After a successful senior season at Minnesota State – Mankato, Williams is 13-9-0, with a 2.63 GAA and .907 save pct with the Sound Tigers.
The Islanders have drafted four goaltenders over the past three drafts. Two of their prospects have had memorable seasons overseas. Ilya Sorokin, selected in the third round of the 2014 draft, is tearing up the KHL. The 20-year-old was 17-7-4 with .953 save percentage and 10 shutouts in the regular season. He is also enjoying success in the KHL playoffs going 9-1 with a 1.30 GAA and .942 save percentage. Linus Soderstrom, selected in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, was named best goaltender at this year’s World Juniors for Team Sweden.
The goaltender making an impact for the Islanders now is Jean-Francois Berube. The 24-year-old is now backing up Thomas Greiss with Jaroslav Halak out for the rest of the regular season. Berube was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings the first time Halak was injured this season. He is 2-1-0 with a 2.18 GAA and .929 save percentage. Berube was the sole reason the Islanders stole a point against the Pittsburgh Penguins back on March 15th.
For a team who was lacking goaltending in past, this young core of goaltenders will give the Islanders plenty of options in the future.
Noel Fogelman is a 5-time Emmy Winner and started his career working on the Buffalo Sabres Pre and postgame shows for the Empire Sports Network. He then went to Bristol, CT to work at ESPN on NHL2Night and its coverage of the Stanley Cup. Follow me on Twiter @thefirstnoel19