With the reality setting in that they are not going back to the playoffs this season, the New York Islanders have begun the process of hitting control/alt/delete and preparing what lies ahead for what should be a busy off-season followed by the 2022-23 campaign. The Islanders chose not to make any changes before Monday’s NHL trading deadline but they did announce contract extensions for veteran forwards Cal Clutterbuck (two years) and Zach Parise (one year).
The Islanders will now use the rest of the regular season to determine what additions and subtractions will need to be made over the summer. There are a number of players who will need the remaining 22 games to prove to management that they should still be considered for next season’s group and that includes the Islanders taking a look at some players from their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.
With the trading deadline in their rear-view mirror, the Islanders are free to call up whoever they want.
“We can bring players from Bridgeport in here as we see fit,” said Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello.
There are a number of Bridgeport Islanders worthy of a callup to Long Island including…
Otto Koivula is having a solid season in Bridgeport with 10 goals and 29 assists for 39 points in 47 games.
(Otto Koivula photo by Peter Schwartz/NY Sports Day)
The Islanders’ 4th round pick (120th overall) in 2016 been up to the big club a few times before, but the center may be ready for a serious look as a big physical presence down low, especially on the power play.
Arnaud Durandeau has blossomed into a dependable left wing for the B-Isles this season as he’s racked up 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points in 57 games.
(Arnaud Durandeau photo by Peter Schwartz/NY Sports Day)
The Isles’ 6th round pick (165th overall) in 2017 is second on the Bridgeport club with 121 shots on goal and just could be a late-bloomer that can be in the mix going forward.
Samuel Bolduc took a while to get going this season after an injury slowed downn the left-handed shooting defenseman during the off-season and pre-season, but he may be worthy of a cameo on Long Island, if not this season but certainly come training camp in the fall.
(Samuel Bolduc photo by Peter Schwartz/NY Sports Day)
Bolduc was named to the Atlantic Division All-Star team last season while playing for Bridgeport and had 6 goals and 8 assists for 14 points and had a +5 rating. The Islanders’ 2nd round pick (57th overall) in 2019 has 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points and is a -1 over 46 games.
Simon Holmstrom was Lamoriello’s first draft pick after he took over as President and General Manager in 2018 (23rd overall) and it’s taken a while for the right winger to develop.
(Simon Holmstrom photo by Peter Schwartz/NY Sports Day)
The Islanders may be ready to take a look at Holmstrom who has 8 goals and 22 assists for 30 points in 55 games.
Grant Hutton was one of a number of Bridgeport Islanders that were called up to the parent club earlier in the season when the New York Islanders were going through a COVID-19 outbreak.
(Grant Hutton photo by Peter Schwartz/NY Sports Day)
In Bridgeport, the defenseman has 7 goals and 9 assists for 16 points in 43 games. Hutton, an undrafted player, participated in five NHL games this season and did not register a point.
Parker Wotherspoon is having a nice season on the Bridgeport blueline with 3 goals and 13 assists for 16 points and a +7 rating in 47 games.
(Parker Wotherspoon photo by Peter Schwartz/NY Sports Day)
The Islanders’ 4th round pick (112th overall) in 2015 did get called up to Long Island recently but did not appear in a game. Wotherspoon is now in his 7th season with Bridgeport and may finally be ready for a look with the big club.
Robin Salo had an extended run with the New York Islanders earlier this season but was returned to Bridgeport when Ryan Pulock returned from injury. With the B-Isles, the left-handed shooting defenseman has 3 goals and 10 assists for 13 points in 30 games.
(Robin Salo photo by Peter Schwartz/NY Sports Day)
Some people were surprised when Salo was passed over in favor of Wotherspoon for a recent callup but Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz indicated that Salo had to start playing better in Bridgeport. The Islanders’ 2nd round pick (46th overall) in 2017 may get another shot by season’s end.
The New York Islanders would like to get a first hand look at how some of their young players have been coming along.
“We certainly will do that at the appropriate time to see where a couple of our younger players are and put them in a situation where they can show where they’re at,” said Lamoriello.
There are also some AHL veteran players in Bridgeport that are having good seasons and worthy of being rewarded with a callup like forwards Chris Terry, Andy Andreoff and Austin Czarnik, but the parent club is also very aware of where the Bridgeport Islanders are in the AHL standings.
“Right now, Bridgeport is (competing for a) playoff spot certainly which is great for them,” said Lamoriello.
At this moment, Bridgeport is in 7th place in the Atlantic Division with a point percentage of 0.492 which is just behind the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who are at 0.517 and holding down the 6th and final playoff spot in the division. Because of the way the AHL schedule is this season, Bridgeport will play only 72 games while Wilkes/Barre Scranton will play 76. The Penguins have 60 points to the Islanders’ 58, but it will be point percentage that determines who goes to the playoffs.
And that’s why the Islanders may be careful and selective when they do make callups to Long Island as the regular season winds down.