Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Predictions For Eastern Conference

So here we go with predictions for the Eastern Conference. Mind you, I have not looked at any other blogs predictions. Why? Because unless a team gets injured, I’m usually right 85% of the time. What I do is simple, I look at each team and compare each one by certain categories, and when it’s all said and done, I’ll rank them. Now this is just for the regular season. Western Confernce will be tomorrow. Here we go:

15. Islanders: I’m sorry but I just don’t know what to expect from this team if they’re not healthy. They’re in the right direction, and if they stay healthy, they will not be last in the Conference, bank on that. Message to bubble teams after the Olympics: Avoid a healthy Islanders team because they will beat you.

14. Atlanta: Offensively, you’re stacked. Scoring goals should not be the problem. However for all the goals you score, your young defense will give up more, and if they don’t, your shaky goaltending will. Unless something improves during the season, I don’t see you making a legit run.

13. Toronto: This will be the team that every offense will not want to face. On the defensive side, they’re huge and will be very aggressive. As of right now I’m not convinced of your offense for a full season, and your goaltending will be the drama for this team. Make no mistake Toronto fans, you could be in the hunt come March, but offense and goaltending will be the reason you land in this spot.

12. Tampa: Good revamping off-season for this club. In all honesty I like the top 6 forwards, but you’re lacking depth behind them. The defense will be much improved, but I’m uncertain about Smith as your everyday goaltender staying healthy. If the Lightning do not get support from the bottom 6 forwards, or more injuries occur to key players, the season will be over before it even gets started.

11. Ottawa: See Tampa. Basically the Senators will be as good as their goaltender can take them. There is enough depth to take you close to the playoffs, but the Senators need a good hot streak if they want to compete against the other teams ahead of them.

10. Rangers: They were so close to being named my “Dark Horse” team, but your defense right now just doesn’t scare anybody. If you can get Gaborik to play more than 50 games, the Rangers have a legit shot. If not, I don’t believe there is enough depth of talent to get the Rangers to the playoffs, and Lundquist will not be able to do it by himself. The future of the Rangers will depend on a highly skilled, yet often injured star.

9. DARK HORSE Florida: Panther fans, don’t worry, the last two teams (Boston, Carolina) I picked to be DH actually made it to the playoffs. You didn’t change the roster, and to be honest, Boumeester didn’t get you in the playoffs, so losing him is a mute point. The Panthers have some talent, depth, and a drive to get into the playoffs, and could do it this year.

8. Buffalo: The reason you didn’t make it to the playoffs last year was due to injuries. Like Florida, you’re core is intact, you have depth, and still developing young talent. Stay healthy and get behind Miller, and you’re in. Message to Tim Connelly: 70 games please.

7. Montreal: On paper, you look good. Fast players, great potential first line, should have solid defense, and a great goalie tandem. However if this team doesn’t gel and win out of the gate, you can expect everyone from the Panthers to the Leafs breathing down your necks, and one of them will knock you out.

6. New Jersey: Devils fans you have a saying “In Lou We Trust.” That’s the easy and polite way of saying “We’ll stop complaining about every offseason, and we’ll let Lou work his magic during the season, so that way, we can all say “Told you so…again” at the end the season if/when you win the division. Yes it is possible, but you need to add a few more players. Coach is a proven winner, forwards should improve from last year, defense is again solid, and oh yeah, you have Marty. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

5. Carolina: Hurricanes are out to prove last year was no fluke. They’ve kept the forwards, made some minor changes on the defense, coach Paul Maurice is favored to be here the entire season, and you just locked up your Conn Smythe goalie for a while. What Carolina needs to do is get off to a hot start and give the Caps a run for their money. Just be careful of injuries, and they’ll be tough to beat again.

4. Philadelphia: Two words “Chris Pronger.” Two more words “Ray Emery.” If both show up every night, and gives this team a boost that has enough forward scoring, and defense to beat anybody, count the Flyers as Cup contenders. Enough said.

3. Penguins: Don’t worry fans the hangover will only prevent the Penguins from winning the regular season standings. Pitt has lost some players on defense, but made some nice moves in the off-season to help the core for me to put them in a nice position to possibly three-peat to the Cup Finals.

2. Boston: I bet they’re still pissed, which is going to be motivation for this team all year long. Losing Kessel won’t kill them, but might sting. It will depend on how the younger core players react, and how much damage Savard can do in a contract year. It would be a bad idea to burn Thomas out before the Olympics. If Thomas is ready to go by the playoffs, Bruins will be Cup contenders this year.

1.Washington: Another team playing with a chip on their shoulders. They replaced some aging forwards with some soon to be aging forwards, but should be more productive. The defense is another year experienced, and the goaltending is in capable hands. The Conference is the Caps to lose.

Welcome to the Hockey Season. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Islanders Claim Schremp From Oilers

From Katie Strang of Newsday:

Rob Schremp, who was placed on waivers by Edmonton yesterday, is now officially an Islander. Given the team's 30th-place finish last year, the Isles had first priority on Rob Schremp when they decided to put in a claim on the 2004 first-round pick last night.

Good development move on the Islanders part. The Islanders needed another talented yet has not cut it in the NHL player to see how he will do in Gordons system. If he produces, Oilers fans are going to be scratching their heads. Both Schremp and Tambellini, have to have breakout years, if not, they will become career AHL players after this year. Look  at Giroux from Washington. Killed it last year with Hershey, but again, didn't make the cut with the Caps this year.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Waiver Wire Approaches

I can't help but think that the Islanders will make a move on this years waivers before the season begins. The Islanders will have the first choice whether to claim a player or not, and the Islanders could improve the overall depth of the organization if they dipped in to the waiver pool. Last year, the Islanders picked up Nate Thompsom and Thomas Pock. Even though both players were injured throughout the year, it kept from bringing up minor leaguers who didn't deserve to be up.

So who should the Islanders look into? I think the forward positions is locked with the emergence of Matt Moulson, along with Trevor Smith, and Greg Moore. There is enough depth at the forward position this year that may not warrant an NHL player, but look for the Islanders to claim a forward who could contribute in Bridgeport.

The defensive side of the team could use another player will more skill and size. You won't find a top 4 d-man available (depending on the contract), but the Islanders could find someone with more skill than say Meyer, Hillen, or possibly Martinek, especially if the injury bug hits the defense again. With Sutton an UFA by the summer, it would be wise to at least look into another big, tough, defenceman to help the smallish forwards, and to relieve stress off of Witt and Sutton. Again, like Pock from last year, a proven AHL player who can be a decent call-up for the Islanders would also be beneficial in this uncertain season.

Now the Islanders have the first choice for the waiver pool during the entire season, so they don't have to pick over the weekend, however, if Garth learned anything about last season, you can never have enough players on this team.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What We've Seen So Far

Now that the Islanders are leaving their training camp facility, it is time to look back and see what the Islanders have discovered over the last one plus week. Just a few things to think about before the Islanders play their next game in KC tomorrow.

Jon Sim: If Islander fans don't see what Sim is doing on the ice, then we're watching two different games. Sim is one of the players from last years squad that is making a very strong case to stick with the club this year. I originally thought Sim would be sent down at the end of the preseason. However due to a few injuries, Sim will not only play, (barring any changes) he will probably get third line minutes until the Islanders get their players back.

Jeff Tambellini: Sorry Tamby haters, but Jeff is another regular making noise and has been the most noticeable player everytime he's on the ice. When he plays, along with Bailey, all I hear is Tambys name and Bailey's. Jeff has not score yet, but he's gotten a few assits and has been apart of getting the puck to his teammates. Unless things change, he's locked up the third line LW, and could move up because of injuries.

Josh Bailey: He's bigger and better. Josh has been playing like a player needing to prove that he's ready to be better than last year, and it's showing. Like Tambellini, he's been all over the ice, and has been getting great chances, burying a goal and getting an assits as well during the preseason. If his play continues, think more than 10 goals, more like 15.

Do the Islanders actually have scoring depth? Hello to Matt Martin, and Matt Moulson. Both players have been beasts scoring at will for the Islanders, and are making Snow and the scouting staff look really good. These two players, along with Jesse Joensuu and Trevor Smith, could be called upon when an injury occurs and they could be offensive factors. These four players may be the future, and when their names are called need to be ready at a moments notice. One or two may start the season on the Island because of injuries, and will have to take every opportunity count.

The goaltending for this organization is stacked, and effective. Does not matter who is in between the pipes, the goalies have delivered and there is a healthy competition between all of them. Expect Roloson, and Biron to compete for the starting role. But make no mistake, the number one goalie will have competition all year long. I have not seen goaltending depth like this since 2001-02, and it looks really good.

The defense is still healthy. That is about as good as it can get. Martinek, and Gervais have scored and the defense has been involved quite a bit. For now I will not jinx it, and stop here. Stay healthy boys.

This next point is the most important and Scott Gordon summed it up best about all of the players so far:

"It didn't matter who was in the line up (Saturday or Sunday), both groups executed perfectly. The fact that we can mix it up and get the same response from every player is excellent."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Islanders Cut Two

From Katie Strang from Newsday
"First two cuts of camp were just announced: Casey Cizikas and Travis Hamonic. They were notified last night (Thursday) and will likely fly back sometime today."
I was hoping for Hamonic to stick around a little more, but his current future is in the World Juniors, and I hope he develops into the player the Islanders are expecting. As far as Cizikas goes, most people were expecting this to happen. They both have futures with the Islanders, so I'll be monitoring both as the year goes on.

This Sums Up the Okposo Hit

For those who are still intersted in the Okposo hit, I would recommend reading the follwing article from the Hockey News Ken Cambell. I think it sums up what everyone else has been trying to say all day, and all of last night.

"Phaneuf and the Flames said all the right things about how you never want to see a guy carried off the ice on a stretcher, but you know, that’s hockey and you can’t pass up a hit like that one. And they’re right, too, because according to the rules and culture of the game, it was a perfectly legal hit."

"But it shouldn’t be. It was a clear case of malicious intent, or at least extreme recklessness, on Phaneuf’s part. Anyone who saw that hit could tell Okposo wasn’t trying to create the circumstances under which a head shot penalty would be called. And for the league to continue to allow hits such as those to go unpenalized is just plain dumb."

UPDATE 2:30 pm From Katie Strang of Newsday: 
"Pascal Morency, who jumped the bench during Wednesday night's game, has been suspended indefinitely pending a formal review of the incident.During the second period of  the Isles' 5-4 shootout loss to Calgary, Morency hopped the bench and went after Flames defenseman Phaneuf, who leveled Kyle Okposo with a nasty open-ice hit that gave Okposo a mild concussion and led to him being carted off the ice on a stretcher."

Analyzing The Hit

I have watched that tape of Kyle Okposo getting hit by Dion Phaneuf several times, and have come up with these two thoughts. Was a clean hit? The initial contact would appear to be looked as a clean hit. However, was it a cheap shot? No question. I don't care if he had his head down (attempting to dump the puck in, just look at the other Islanders forwards heading for the bench!) or not, you don't come over from the other side of the rink, when TWO other teammates appear to be in position to guard Okposo, and deliver an open-ice hit in a PRE-SEASON GAME while attempting a dump-in. I got several opinions and views of that hit.

"Phaneuf left his feet on impact, catching Okposo with a shoulder to the head as Okposo was looking down, rendering him completely defenseless. The impact of the hit knocked Okposo's helmet off, and once he hit the ice he lay motionless for several minutes while being tended to by the team's medical staff. After several minutes, Okposo was lifted onto a stretcher and carted off the ice."--Katie Strang of Newsday
"When he sees that on the ice he has to take it. You don't want to see people get hurt but Dion can't pass up that hit. That's a big part of his game. He is a physical defenceman."--Brent Sutter
"I thought it was a clean hit. I stepped up and used my shoulder.You don't like to see guys get hurt, but that's part of my job when the hits are there, to take them. "-Dion Phaneuf

The most important thing is this. Kyle will be OK. He flew back with the team, and will be evaluated later. But now most fans want to know: What will Garth Snow do? Will he bring in that enforcer that most have been craving for since the rest of the division got tougher? Or did the fans just witness things to come for their team? Who will "protect" John Tavares.

Bringing in an enforcer would be a good idea. However, the enforcer could not have been on the ice when the hit was made, and Okposo would still have the injuries. Sure the enforcer may have went out and tried to start a fight with Phaneuf, but the end result of the Islanders young star would still be the same...he is injured. When several players get off the bench, and your goalie goes out to defend a star player and teammate, there is a sense of family there, a willingness to step up for one another. That was important to see.

With Okposo out of the lineup, that leaves three top 6 forwards out which includes Bergenheim, and Weight. No one knows when any of them will be back, and for Islanders fans, this is not what they wanted to see. A repeat of injuries to this team could cripple the fan base that has longed for more winnig from their team. They don't want to talk about the Draft Lottery in November or December. They want their young team to win now. The puck is in Snow's zone. Let him make his move.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One Line Already Injured




From Katie Strang of Newsday:
Murky forecast however on the injury front for the Isles; While Weight and Bergenheim's groin strains are minor, the fact that Frans Nielsen had to fly back to NY to get his right knee examined after hurting it in practice Tuesday is not a good sign for him.

This is not what fans wanted to hear, especially with Nielsen who apparenlty has injured the same knee. So that leaves us with three top 6 forwards out of this lineup and we're only only two games into the preseason. That's the good news. Depending on the severity of the injuries, you have to wonder if the Islanders will bring up players like Smith, and Joensuu or look to the waiver wire, or possibly sign an over the hill rental until all three recover. Know this Isles fans: If Weight misses more than 20 games this year, and is helathy by the trade deadline, my guess is that he'll be traded for something. More to come.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Islanders vs Oilers Tonight

The Islanders continue their preseason tonight against the Edmonton Oilers. John Tavares will be in the lineup for the Islanders. A few days ago the Islanders lost to the Vancouver Canucks in the 2009 Kraft Hockeyville game 2-1. Jon Sim had the lone goal for the Islanders.

Former Islander Robert Nilsson, is slated to be in the lineup for Edmonton who defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1 last night.


NEW YORK ISLANDERS ROSTER

1 G Mikko Koskinen
3 D Calvin de Haan
8 D Bruno Gervais
10 RW Richard Park
11 C Nate Thompson
16 LW Jon Sim
20 LW Sean Bergenheim
25 D Andy Sutton
36 D Travis Hamonic
40 RW Joel Rechlicz
41 RW Robin Figren
44 D Freddy Meyer
45 RW Tyler Haskins
52 G Nathan Lawson
53 C Casey Cizikas
56 D Dustin Kohn
58 LW Jesse Joensuu
81 LW Justin DiBenedetto
91 C John Tavares
93 C Doug Weight

Monday, September 14, 2009

And So It Begins

Islanders fans, your season starts tonight at 10:00 against the Canucks. There are a total of 8 games before October, so don't expect to see Tavares in all of those games. What I like about this team already is that the training camp roster has all the NHL and AHL players signed. No invites of aging veterans (Satan, Parrish), no tryouts for other players.....this is your team. The players did not have a lot of a training camp, (although they have been skating for a week on Long Island, and of course on their own) so no injuries before any of the games. Here are a few things to know heading into the first game, and why the Islanders will be better than last years squad:

Stability. The Islanders brought back 97% of the players from last years team. That's improtant because most are younger players who will be building the Islanders franchise back up. There is a system in place again for the second straight year. Gordon now has a full year under his belt, and most of the players are familiar with it, both Islanders, and Sound Tigers. There should be no thinking about what to do. It should be natural to them and easier for everyone.

Better goalies. Not to knock MacDonald and Danis, but I'll take Roloson, and Biron over most NHL goalie tandems right now. You have two number one goaltenders to start the season, and over a stretch of say, 30 or so games, you know that the Islanders will be in most of those games. DiPietro is in camp in pads, and facing shots. Let him come back on his own time and then the Islanders will still have a dynamic backstop.

Healthier defense. Like I said, no major training camp, means less likely of injuries before the regular season. If the defense stays healthy, they could be a difference maker when you have quality goaltending to support you. In this camp pay attention to Calvin DeHaan. He may make a push to be kept around if he has a great camp.

More confidence in the younger players. The last twenty or so games for the Islanders last year was crucial because the younger players were given bigger roles, and they flourished in it. Players like Bailey, Comeau, Okposo, Tambellini, and Neilsen are all on the same page and have more confidence going into this season, and I believe that it will show on the score sheet and in the overall record.

John Tavares. Everyone on that team has taken him under their wing, especially roomate Doug Weight.  As I type this, there is chemistry being developed right now, and it will continue all year. Fans need to give him time. He's learning a lot, having fun, and he's getting used to his first pro training camp, pre-season, and of course a new profesional system.

Know this Islanders fans, the team has turned the corner, brighter days are ahead, and the Islanders are finally going in the right direction. What they still need is a lot of maximum effort from every player from the top line of the Islanders to the fourth line of the Sound Tigers. Last year ends at 10:00 tonight. No more talk about injuries, the draft, free agent signings etc. Start looking ahead, and get excited. Your season starts.....Tonight!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bergenheim The Next Blake: You Decide


 
     First and foremost, I have the great privilege of working with Dee Karl, (also known as the 7th Woman) on this particular blog. She was nice enough to give me a hand because the topic just so happens to be based on her favorite players, Sean Bergenheim, and Jason Blake. Since most fantasy experts are telling people to stay away from the Islanders players, except for maybe John Tavares, and Kyle Okposo, I wanted to show Hockey fans that there is more to this team then just those two future stars.
     My first player is Sean Bergenheim. Drafted in 2002, 22nd overall, he reminds me of a younger Jason Blake. As Dee put it" When Sean first suited up for the Islanders, without his number on his jersey, you would not have been able to tell if it was Blake or Bergie on the ice. They both are very fast, strong skaters that stay low to the ice. If you blink, you miss them going by you." So I did some stat comparisons between the two and came up with the following. Both are 5'10" and Bergenheim is 205lbs while Blake is listed as 180lbs. So we're looking at pretty much the same style of play. Dee took it a step further "He (Bergie) can be just as yappy, just as agitating and just as productive as the man who is eleven years his senior. Now that he is 205lbs, he is far more physical than Blake, but their work ethic is the same. They both will give 110%--most of the time. The downside to their similarity is they can both be despondent and moody should things not go the way they want them to."
     Despite the plethora of similarities between the two, they do have one major difference: age. Both started out their careers slow, both played fourth line minutes, and eventually moving up the lines. However, Bergenheim is 25 years old while Blake is 36. When Blake was 25 he was not in the NHL. He was playing for North Dakota in the college ranks, so Blake is definitely considered a late bloomer. As mentioned before, Bergenheim was drafted 22nd overall in 2002. Dee went on to say this "There were expectations placed on him that perhaps he wasn't ready for. I'm hoping that Sean's hands catch up to his feet, the same way as Jason's did. Maturity should bring "hockey-sense."
     However, if Bergenheim is in the same mold, then let's take a look at Jason's stats and find out when he started producing on a larger scale. I came to find out that after playing 194 games, Blake had 19 goals, 39 assists for 58 points. Then starting in the 2002-03 season, Jason amassed 25 goals and 55 points. Bergenheim has had some scary, similar numbers. In his career, Sean has played a total of 183 games, scoring 30 goals, and 57 points. Could this be his breakout year that everyone is hoping for? From a numbers standpoint, sure looks that way. I would have to say yes.
     I asked Dee if Sean could be as good as Blake, and here is her response. "Yes, I truly believe that Sean could be "just as good as Blake." I don't know if Sean will ever have a 40 goal season, but he will be improve. As long as he remains healthy, I think that Sean's stats could indeed eclipse Blake's by the end of his career. And due to the fact that he is much younger, he has a better chance at getting his name etched on the Stanley Cup one day."
     My final question to Dee was simple. Look into your crystal ball and tell me Bergenheims goals total for the year, points etc. "My Crystal Ball says that Sean should come away this season with at least 20 goals. Last season he only had 9 assists points, but then again, I can;t tell you how he will do in that aspect as I don't know who Scott Gordon will put him on a line with. Every coach that I have spoken to about Sean has told me that he can't play fourth line minutes. He has too much energy and being able to play 4th line is really a skill. So depending on how Gordon uses him is how well he will produce in the assists category. I'll just bet on the 20 goals. I will also bet on his feistiness, his competitive nature, his willingness to stick up for himself and his team mates and a willingness to work every shift like it was his last. This is still the kid that Scotty Bowman praised the first time he saw him. I've always felt that Sean hasn't received the respect he was due from the Islanders once he was drafted in 2002. I think a lot of that had to do with his management. Bergie is another "home-grown" talent on our depth chart. If he is used wisely, he'll have a great season.
     Since I'm a numbers person, I'm going to agree that we will see at least 20 goals from Bergenheim. That number seems to match his current progress, Fantasy players may want to keep an eye on him and Islanders fans shouldn't be looking at only Tavares and Okposo this year. For those of you who don't follow Dee, I encourage you to find her on Twitter @7thWoman, and on her website 7thWoman. She knows her Islanders, and after reading her work, you will also.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Six Choices For Wang

From Chris Botta at Fanhouse.com

"At least six municipalities will line up as suitors and attempt to bring in the New York Islanders if the NHL franchise opens itself up to offers of a new home, a league source has informed FanHouse."

"If Wang authorizes his staff to listen to offers from municipalities outside Nassau County on Oct. 4, it appears he will have plenty of options. As previously reported, leaders in Queens County, New York and Kansas City are two of the Islanders' potential suitors. The source refused to identify the other municipalities that are said to have expressed preliminary interest in being in business with the National Hockey League."

The story goes on to say that Balsillie is not interested in the purchase of the Islanders since he is involved with the purchasing and moving of the Coyotes. This will certainly put pressure on the town of Hempstead to get into gear and into action. From what I've been reading, The town is the ONLY reason that the Lighthouse project is not finalized. Every other branch of State Government, including the Governor, has given the Project the approval it needed. More to come later.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Branching Out Part II

I have been asked to Blog for NHLTALK202. I would like to thank them also for the opportunity. I will always have information flying all over the place this coming season, and we'll go from there and see where it leads. Please follow on Twitter: @ToddNHLTALK2 and as always myself: @Netminder39.

Coming up: In a day or so, the Islanders will be releasing players who will be trying out for the team. It should look interesting, but to be honest, I think fans should really look into the waiver wire, as the Islanders have the first pick. They could improve, or speed up the development process a hair, and pick up an extra defensman, LW/C or possibly an enforcer. Stay tuned, hockey is coming.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Schremp Could Be An Islander

From Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal

"Is this Rob Schremp's last stand?

The lightning rod for many Edmonton Oilers fans, who have griped that the 23-year-old forward hasn't been given a fair shake in the last few years, has a new two-way, one-year contract for $715,000 US in the National Hockey League and $70,000 in the minors.
But if Schremp fails to crack the Oilers roster and gets sent to the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League, there are strong indications the New York Islanders would take him on waivers."

My thanks goes to Hendricks Hockey for the tip. Schremp is defenitely on the Islanders fans radar, and this could be a bigger waiver draft for the Islanders than what most are realizing. The Islanders have the first choice in the waiver draft, so if the Islanders really want to restock the organization, it could start with Schremp.  Here is his bio: 5'11'' 200 lbs. From what I've been able to get from a few Oilers fans, he can score goals, but needs work on his defence. I know from reading that Islanders fans would love to have him. Schremp is a 1st round pick (25th overall) in the 2004 draft. 

Friday, September 04, 2009

Islanders Sign Matt Martin

From NewYorkIslanders.com

The New York Islanders announced Friday that they have agreed to terms with forward, Matt Martin to a three-year entry level contract.

“We are excited to have Matt in our organization,” said Garth Snow, General Manager, New York Islanders. “He brings that special combination of size and ability that provide him a bright future as a professional.”

Martin is a player that many fans wanted signed before training camp. Another draft pick (5th round) by the Islanders from last year. He very well could be a diamond in the rough, and at 6'2" and 192 pounds, he still has some filling out to do, but brings a good amount of size and skill. Bridgeport should look really good this year with a lot of prospects ready to prove they belong. Martin may also see some NHL time, if the injury bug hits the Islanders hard again.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Islanders Add Hughes

From NewYorkIslanders.com

The New York Islanders have acquired Bobby Hughes from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for center Rob Hennigar, pending a physical.

Hughes played the last two seasons for the Hurricanes’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Albany River Rats. The Richmond Hill, ON native totaled 23 points with the River Rats in 53 games played over the course of the two seasons. Hughes was originally selected by Carolina in the fourth round (123rd overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and signed a three-year entry level contract with he team on April 10, 2007, making his professional debut for Albany in the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs against the Hershey Bears. The 5’10, 180 pound center played four years in the Ontario Hockey League for the Kingston Frontenacs where he finished his career with 103 goals and 150 assists for 253 points in 243 games.

Hennigar split last season between the Islanders AHL and ECHL affiliates, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Utah Grizzlies. He accumulated 13 points (three goals and 10 assists) in 34 games played for the Sound Tigers.

At least this is news for fans like myself. Personally, if Hughes can play a full season in Bridgeport, then Snow wins on improving the depth of the organization, as Hennigar struggled last season. This is not a major feat by any means, but the Soundtigers must get past the first round this year with the players on that roster, and Hughes just might make them better having the experience of the Calder Cup playoffs, and knowing what it takes to get over the hump.

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