Isles to Return Griffin Reinhart to WHL

The Islanders will return Griffin Reinhart to Edmonton of the WHL, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday.

“We sent Griffin down since if he’s not getting in the lineup and getting those minutes he should go back to juniors and get that experience,” Jack Capuano said.

Kevin Schultz

With Cal Clutterbuck ready to return to the roster, the Islanders had to take someone off of it to make room. Waiver exempt Matt Donovan and Brock Nelson have played well enough to keep from getting sent to Bridgeport, and the Islanders generally don’t like to try and send veterans through waivers, leaving Reinhart as the option that made the most sense.

Reinhart didn’t make the top-six defenders out of camp and might have gotten a chance to play this week had the Isles not gotten off to a hot start; Jack Capuano rarely changes the lineup after a win.

The Post spoke to Reinhart yesterday, and he doesn’t seem keen at all on the idea. Usually players will tow a line of ‘whatever coach thinks is good for me is good for me':

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Video: The First NHL Goal for Matt Donovan

During the second period tonight, Matt Donovan fired a point shot that trickled past Coyotes netminder Mike Smith to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead. It was a power play goal and was the first of Donovan’s NHL career in his sixth NHL game. After spending last the last two years in Bridgeport, Donovan made the big club out of training camp this season.

Donovan is from Edmond, Oklahoma and is the first player born and raised in the state of Oklahoma to score an NHL goal. Former Avalanche forward Tyler Arnason was born in Oklahoma City, but raised in Winnipeg.

The Isles currently lead 5-1 late in the second period.

Sound Tigers Split Opening Weekend

Kevin Schultz

The Sound Tigers kicked off their season with back-to-back games this weekend; they hosted Wilkes-Barre on Saturday night and just finished up another home match against Norfolk this afternoon. They split the weekend, surrendering a 2-1 lead last night to lose 5-2 and winning 4-3 in a shootout today.

Ryan Strome earned three assists on the weekend. He setup Anders Lee for a pretty one-timer on Saturday night, and notched two more today on Andrey Pedan and Joey Diamond’s goals. He seems to be right at home in the American League, and Corey Pronman thinks about as much on twitter:

Strome probably should have had a goal, too. He had a nice toe-drag on the power play in this afternoon’s third period but the shot was stoned by John Gibson.

Anders Nilsson got the back-to-back work for Bridgeport, stopping a combined 52 of 60 shots that he faced for a .866 save percentage (warning: small sample size).

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Ryan Strome Misses Cut for Big Club, Vets Should Have Short Leash

Kevin Schultz

The Islanders announced their 23-man roster and three rookies made the cut: Brock Nelson, Griffin Reinhart and Matt Donovan. The former two are first-round picks from 2010 and 2012, and the latter is an AHL All-Star from last season. While those three certainly have solid pedigrees, one big name missing from the roster is 20-year-old, 2011 first round pick Ryan Strome.

The Islanders have done a complete 180-degree turn on how they develop their prospects over the last two seasons. Gone are the days of sticking Josh Bailey in the lineup fresh as an 18-year-old and Nino Niederreiter as a 19-year-old either for cap reasons or because, especially in Bailey’s case, the roster was bare. Now, they’re being increasingly patient with their prospects and holding back players who are quite likely ready for the big show. It’s a delicate balance of not handing the players a roster spot and letting them take it for granted and risking frustrating them, a prime example being Nino Niederreiter’s reaction to not being given a tryout in January.

Strome is a blue-chip prospect who has had a great development. He’s excelled in the OHL, hasn’t suffered any injury setbacks (knock on wood) and doesn’t have any off-ice issues. There’s really no reason not to give him a chance to make the NHL club. He put up 1.77 points per game in the OHL last year and now will have to wait behind the likes of free agent signees Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

The Islanders never really gave him that chance to usurp them. To read more of this story, click here

Video: Kirill Kabanov Creates Goal With Amazing Deke

In split squad action at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, the Islanders ‘B’ squad is facing off against the Senators. During the first period, prospect Kirill Kabanov streaked down the wing, made an impressive deke and wrapped around a pass to Riley Wetmore. You really just need to see it so watch the video:

It’s moves like that where you can see why Kabanov was supposed to be a first round talent. Off-ice attitudes and distractions caused him to drop to the Isles in third round back in 2010. He hasn’t gotten much playing time in the preseason thus far, but that was a hell of a goal.

The Islanders lead this game 2-0, as Ryan Strome would pot a one-timer later on in the period.

Pulock and Quine Sign Entry Level Deals

Tonight the Islanders announced that 2013 draft picks Ryan Pulock and Alan Quine have both signed three-year, entry level contracts.

Pulock was the Islanders first round pick in June, taken at 15th overall. He has played well in camp and will be with the team in Canada tomorrow as the Islanders have split squad action against the Senators. For the 18-year old, he will be headed back to the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL this season. His contract also won’t kick in this year as it will slide (players who sign at 18 or 19 and are returned to juniors have their contracts slide one year, so it’s sort of a four year deal).

For Quine, his contract won’t slide and starts this season. He’s 20 years old as he was drafted for the second time this June. The Islanders took him in the sixth round but he was also previously selected by the Red Wings in the third round in 2011. He reentered the draft in the same way Brendon Kichton did; team and player couldn’t get together on a contract, so after two years the rights lapsed. Quine will probably stick with the Sound Tigers and hopefully he can progress.

Nelson and Donovan Proving They Belong in Win Against Nashville

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — If Matt Donovan and Brock Nelson have been having any trouble adjusting to the NHL, it sure didn’t show in Friday night’s 6-4 win over the Nashville Predators.

Both players saw upwards of 16 minutes of ice time during the game and they made the most of it. Donovan recored his first goal of the preseason at the 12:44 mark of the second period and Nelson put up two assists, including one on Donovan’s goal.

The goal was set up by Nelson who circled around the net and waited to find the best angle before taking his shot. The shot deflected off Donovan and went in.

“It wasn’t much of a skilled goal,” Donovan said after the game. “I was kind of just going to the net and it kind of nicked off of me. I mean it lifts a little pressure off of you. I mean once you get that first one it feels like it is a little easier out there.”

But it wasn’t simply just that Donovan recorded a goal or that Nelson had two assists that made them stand outs Friday night. No, it was their prowess on the ice and their comfort level that left a lot of people impressed.

Going back to the second period goal by Donovan, it was really an example of Nelson’s ability to create scoring chances.  It was similar to how he set up the goal for Colin McDonald earlier in the period. His patience, and a little bit of luck, helped create both scoring opportunities.

“I try to implement that every now and then,”Nelson said when asked about his patience on the ice. “When the chance came I think I was able to capitalize. I think I got a little luck and hit a stick and it went right to [Colin McDonald's] stick and he was able to tap it in. Sometimes it’s good to be lucky.

Also on display against Nashville was the ease both players have had in fitting in on the Islanders NHL squad. Yes, both Donovan and Nelson have played at least one game in the NHL before this year, but that doesn’t always mean they have an edge over another player who hasn’t. However Donovan and Nelson haven’t missed a beat in a practice or game.
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Roster Picture to Clear Up Tuesday

The Islanders have yet to make any roster cuts following their first four preseason games, but those cuts surely are coming. In fact, we should have a much clearer picture of what the roster could be within the next 48 hours.

In Newsday, Arthur Staple notes that the Islanders will divide back up into two practice groups this week. However, the two groups will be aligned towards which players have a shot at the NHL roster and which players do not. As many as 28 could be a part of the NHL group on Tuesday, depending upon how this shake out:

 After Sunday’s game in Nashville, the Isles will divide up into NHL and AHL camps starting on Tuesday. Indications are only a few prospects will stay with the Islanders group; Reinhart and fellow defensemen Matt Donovan and Calvin de Haan are possibles to stay, along with forwards Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome. But it appears Capuano will have a group that only includes 15 forwards, nine or 10 defensemen and two or three goaltenders once Tuesday comes.

Brock Nelson May Find a Role Alongside Vets on Penalty Kill

Kevin Schultz

NEWARK, NJ — Thursday night at the Prudential Center the Islanders racked up 69 penalty minutes and allowed the Devils ten powerplays in what was a sloppy and fight-filled game. The team spent nearly 20 minutes of the game, almost a full period, killing off minor penalties. While most of the special teams responsibilities for the forwards fell to the few NHL veterans in the lineup — Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen and Peter Regin — one name stood out as a young player the coaching staff seemed to really trust on the penalty kill; Brock Nelson.

nelsonOver the course of the night Nelson racked up nearly six minutes of short-handed ice time and was put out on what appeared to be the Islanders’ top penalty killing unit alongside veteran Frans Nielsen. Nielsen is lauded around the NHL for his defensive work and led the Islanders forwards in short-handed ice time per game for each of the past three seasons.

“Not really testing, I watched him play [on the penalty kill] last year quite a bit,” coach Jack Capuano responded when asked after the game if pairing the two players together was a test to see what Nelson could do or a sign of the coaching staff having confidence in his abilities. To read more of this story, click here