Thoughts and Observations from the Isles Blue & White Scrimmage


Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islander prospects took part in the annual Blue & White Scrimmage Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum.

Overall it was a success for everyone one involved. The players enjoyed the chance to play a competitive game, the fans got to see hockey in july and the Islanders were able to get 4,000 fans to come to Nassau Coliseum in the middle of summer.

As for evaluating talent during Thursday night’s scrimmage — or for that matter during the course of the week long mini camp — it is always a challenge. These camps are for the coaches to learn a little bit about the players and instill in them a little bit of what NHL life is like. For the players it’s the same thing. They are getting to know the organization and learning what it takes to be a pro athlete.

The scrimmage is the first real chance to see how the prospects play in a competitive situation, but even then it’s hard to make any concrete assessments. With just two days of practice how comfortable can everyone be with one another yet.  To read more of this story, click here

Reinhart Has Eyes Set on Making it to the NHL This Season

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Griffin Reinhart isn’t looking to start the 2014-15 season in scenic Connecticut. The 20-year-old defenseman wants to be in the NHL on October 10th when the Islanders open their season in Carolina against the Hurricanes.

The fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft spent last season in the WHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings, where he won the memorial cup and was named MVP of the WHL Championships. Now Reinhart’s goal is to make it in the professional ranks. To read more of this story, click here

Dal Colle using Mini Camp to ‘get to know the organization’

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Michael Dal Colle took his first spin on Nassau Coliseum ice Tuesday as a member of the New York Islanders.

Though the fifth overall pick may never play an NHL contest in Uniondale, it was the first look at what will be in the Isles future. The talented prospect took part in the second on-ice skate during Tuesday’s camp and admitted he was a little nervous coming into his first session with his new team.Michael Dal Colle

“I was definitely pretty anxious coming in,” he said. “Now that I got it out of the way it’s kind of a load off my shoulders for sure. But it was good.”

Prospect camp is as much about getting to see what a prospect can offer as it is about getting to know the players. And for the players to get to know the organization and future teammates. “I don’t know too many guys here so I’m trying to get familiar with my surroundings, but it’s been pretty busy today,” Dal Colle said.

“This is my first time here,” he later added. “So it’s definitely new and I don’t know too much about Long Island and I don’t know too much about the facility, so I’m just trying to see what it’s all about. It’s definitely a big part of it.”

On the ice Tuesday Dal Colle looked good during the drills. The Ontario native had a good looking shot and some of his offensive know-how was on display. However, mini camp — especially on day one — is a hard place to truly judge talent and Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano won’t be doing so this week.

“I’ve been through these camps quite a bit and, as I told the guys, we’re not here to judge and evaluate players,” Capuano said. “We know they’re good players. We’re here this week to get to know them and thats more or less what I want to accomplish this week.”

Five players to watch at Isles mini camp

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders kick off their annual team mini camp on Tuesday at Nassau Coliseum. The week long camp will feature 48 Islander prospects and camp invitees. Here are five player to keep an eye on this week.

Michael Dal Colle: The 2014 fifth overall draft pick will take his first spin on the Coliseum ice in an Islander uniform. Dal Colle was the consensus choice for the Isles to take at five. He is still at least a year away from making the jump to the NHL, but Dal Colle will be a big part of the Islanders offense in the future. During his 2013-14 OHL season with the Oshawa generals he scored 39 goals and 56 points in 67 games. His big size and stickhandling ability make him a threat in the offensive zone. It will be interesting to see that on display at mini camp, especially during Thursday night’s Blue and White Scrimmage. Dal Colle has been pegged as a potential winger of the future to play alongside John Tavares.

To read more of this story, click here

Prospect Jesse Graham Signs Three-Year Deal

Saginaw Spirit defender Jesse Graham agreed to a three-year entry level deal with the Islanders today, the deadline for the team to sign non-college players from the 2012 draft.

Graham’s signing means the Islanders have now signed all of their 2012 picks save for two. If you recall, that 2012 draft was the one where the Islanders selected entirely defenders. The two remaining are Doyle Somerby and Jake Bischoff, who are taking the longer-term Anders Lee route, as they are in college and don’t need to be signed until they leave school.

Graham split this season in the OHL between Saginaw and Niagara, having been traded by the latter in the fall. Between the two, he scored 54 points in 66 games. He also got a quick trial with the Sound Tigers at the end of the year and put up 4 points in 7 games there.

Griffin Reinhart MVP, Oil Kings Win WHL Title

The Portland Winterhawks won Game Six in the WHL Finals to force a decisive Game Seven on Monday on their home turf. But, led by Isles prospect Griffin Reinhart, the home ice advantage didn’t matter, as the Edmonton Oil Kings triumphed.

The Oil Kings won 4-2 on Monday night to take the series in seven and bring home their second league title in three years, the other coming in 2012.

Reinhart was named MVP of the finals with three points in the series. He had 13 points in 21 playoff games including four goals, which outpaced his point totals on the season of 21 points in 45 games and four goals.

Report: Anders Nilsson Not Willing to Play Another Year in AHL

Kevin Schultz

The Islanders goaltending situation is the most pressing concern for the team this summer and, at the moment, the team does not have a goaltender with an NHL game to his name signed to a contract for next season (although they do have a pair of RFAs).

NHL vet Evgeni Nabokov, who turns 39 in July, is unsigned and staring at unrestricted free agency on July 1. Both young goalies with NHL experience, Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson, will be restricted free agents this summer and will need new contracts. They will remain NYI property as long as the Islanders make qualifying offers to retain their rights. At the present moment no one is signed but of course there’s still much time.

In addition to all that, these three netminders were servicable, and that’s being generous, as they combined for the NHL’s worst team save percentage in the 2013-14 season, with a .894 mark. The NHL average save percenatage last year was .914.

The situation is now a bit more complicated, as Anders Nilsson has revealed to his home country’s media outlet that he is unwilling to play another year in the AHL with the Sound Tigers. Nilsson has spent the majority of the past three years in the AHL, with some time spent in the NHL as well.

The translated version of the article is clear on Nilsson’s thoughts:

“I have done for three years in the AHL and I do not think it would be good for my development to play a fourth year in the AHL. That’s what I’ve said to them, since we have not started to go into contract negotiations.”

“My hope and my goal is to play in the NHL, but I do not want to play in the AHL. So it will not be the NHL so it will be well anywhere in Europe.”

So there it is, Europe or the NHL for Anders Nilsson next year. You almost have to wonder if Snow knew this, or at least had a feeling. As of February 28 of this year, Nilsson only had 10 NHL games on his resume. After that point, he played in 13 of the Islanders final 22 games. Nilsson finished the 2013-14 campaign with an .896 save percentage.