Kabanov Benefiting From Intense Off-Season Training

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

SYOSSET, NY — It is no secret that the Islanders have a deep and talented prospect pool. Headlined by the likes of Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, Calvin de Haan, and Griffin Reinhart, just to name a few, it’s easy to understand how a player like Kirill Kabanov could get lost in the mix.

kabanovThe 21-year-old Russian winger has had a well documented history of ups and downs throughout his hockey career, the latest being an injury to his wrist suffered early in the 2012-13 AHL season. Kabanov was cut on his left wrist in a game agains the Worcester Sharks and had to undergo surgery, which sidelined him for 44 games. He did get to play in 32 games, but only recorded nine points ( 2 goals, 7 assists) in that time.

“It’s hard mentally after such a hard injury,” Kabanov told Islanders Point Blank after Saturday’s on ice session. “It’s not that physically. It’s more that mentally to be back in a game, to be back and a part of the team.”

After a summer of tough training, Kabanov is back at Isles camp looking to crack the NHL roster.

In preparation for this year, Kabanov spent the summer training with former NHLer Gary Roberts. Roberts is know for running an intense off-season camp that has helped mold players such as Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal, James Neal, and Steven Stamkos.
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Griffin Reinhart’s Junior Team Isn’t Expecting Him Back

Kevin Schultz

The Islanders have a lot of defenders looking to make the NHL roster — seven signed to NHL deals plus a few AHL prospects knocking on the door — so it’s going to be a very competitive camp for the defenders. And not only do the Islanders have all of those players, there are also a group of guys who played in juniors last year that will be looking for the crack at the big time. Among the latter group is Griffin Reinhart, the team’s first round pick in 2012, taken at fourth overall.

Reinhart has spent the past three seasons (and a sliver of a fourth) playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL. He’s in the same situation that Ryan Strome was last year and Nino Niederreiter the year prior; the Islanders either have to keep him on the roster or send him back to juniors (they can also send him back after 9 NHL games). Reinhart doesn’t have the option of playing in Bridgeport thanks to the CHL-NHL agreement prohibiting young players from skating in the AHL and ECHL until 20 years of age

In Edmonton, the Edmonton Journal reports that the Oil Kings are already planning for life without their best defender: To read more of this story, click here

Should Ryan Strome Start in the AHL or NHL?

Kevin Schultz

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again. The weather is getting cooler, summer has passed us by, and people are debating where the top Islanders prospect should start the season…

This year’s prospect du jour is Ryan Strome, who will be joining the Sound Tigers this fall, if not the Islanders. After four years in junior, the 2011 first-round pick is ready for the pro game. He got a taste of the AHL last spring during a 10-game PTO with the Sound Tigers where he looked more than up to the task, totaling seven points in those 10 games on Bridgeport’s top line.

So where should Strome skate in October? Is he ready to debut on Long Island on October 5th, or should the Islanders take it slowly and call him up at mid-season or even as late as next year?

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Read: Corey Pronman’s Top 15 Islander Prospects

Hockey Prospectus’ Corey Pronman has been releasing lists of each team’s top prospects all summer, and yesterday was the Islanders turn through the gauntlet. Pronman ranks the Islanders prospect pool second in the entire NHL.

His criteria for what defines a “prospect” is a player with fewer than 50 career NHL games played or fewer than 25 NHL games played during the prior season and are under 26-years old. He also leaves off players who are signed in the KHL past age 22 (i.e. Kirill Petrov).

Here’s his list of the top 15:

1. Ryan Strome, Center (2011 draft)
2. Ryan Pulock, Defense (2013)
3. Griffin Reinhart, Defense (2012)
4. Brock Nelson, Center (2010)
5. Calvin de Haan, Defense (2009)
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Sound Tigers’ Statement on Playing at the Coliseum

The Sound Tigers have provided a statement to Point Blank on their tenure in Bridgeport, Connecticut following Bruce Ratner’s proclamation earlier today that the team will occupy the Coliseum when the Islanders head to Brooklyn:

“Our agreement with the City of Bridgeport ends on August 31st, 2020. We have seven years remaining on this deal. The Sound Tigers have an agreement to play in Webster Bank Arena until then and plan on doing so until we hear otherwise from our owner. There is no agreement in place between the Islanders organization and the Ratner Group or Barclays Center. The Sound Tigers love being in Bridgeport and absolutely plan on spending at least the next seven AHL seasons here”

Charles Wang owns both the Islanders and Sound Tigers in addition to Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment, which manages the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.

The Morning Skate for August 12th

Kevin Schultz

By far, the question that I’ve been asked the most since the season ended has been “when will the Islanders name John Tavares captain?”

With minimal free agent moves made this summer and the team looking to build from within, Tavares’ captaincy has been the prime focus for a lot of fans. It certainly seems like a ‘when’ more than an ‘if’. The other candidates would likely be Travis Hamonic or Kyle Okposo. They play with a lot of fire and have both been known to wear their emotions on their sleeves. But with Mark Streit gone the biggest leader, sometimes doing so by emotion and much more often leading by example, has been Tavares. He’s the face of the franchise and the best player on the roster. There really shouldn’t be any other choice.

On Saturday, Arthur Staple noted that it won’t be anyone other than Tavares:

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The Morning Skate: Cammarata Scores Twice

There’s not a whole lot going on in the hockey world at the moment, but one thing that is happening are World Junior camp scrimmages. Along with a whole slew of defenders, the Islanders also have a forward in the mix; 2013 third round pick Taylor Cammarata.

Monday against Finland, Cammarata notched two goals and an assist. This was coming off a game on Sunday where he didn’t feel that he had his legs. NHL.com caught up with him:

“I was a little fatigued [Sunday],” Cammarata said. “… It’s pretty fast. [Sunday] it felt like Sweden had five guys back all the time so you don’t have much time to make a play.”

“It’s taken me a couple days to get used to things,” he said. “I’m still rusty because it’s summer, but today I felt really good on the ice. … Today we had a morning skate and I felt pretty good there. Got a little nap in and I felt pretty good.”

Cammarata did survive the latest round of cuts for USA Hockey although there are still more of those to come. It’s a good sign to see another prospect contributing and of course it needs to be taken in context; it is only one game and it is on the bigger Olympic ice surface, which may be better suited to Cammarata’s speedy game. He’s headed to Minnesota in the fall, so we still have quite a few more years for him to develop and for us to debate the merits of his game.

ALSO: Matt Moulson’s summer kids camp in Connecticut… A pretty good line for Clutterbuck autographs yesterday… And expect to hear a lot about the Yankee Stadium outdoor game, as there is a media availability promoting the event tomorrow…



The Morning Skate for August 5th

Kevin Schultz

Last week we took a look at how the Islanders almost ended up with three defenders at Canada’s World Junior Training Camp: Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Pulock and the injured Adam Pelech. The Islanders have another defender making an impact on the International hockey scene, and that’s Finland’s Ville Pokka.

Pokka was a second round pick in 2012 and stayed in Finland to play for Karpat this past season. He’s one of Finland’s best U-20 defenders, as he has been part of their top pairing in some recent exhibition games. Pokka scored the overtime game winner against the US in a scrimmage on Sunday in Lake Placid. He was paired up with Olli Maatta — Pittsburgh’s first round pick in 2012 — as Finland’s top unit.

If you’re keeping score, that’s three defenders the Islanders have playing important roles for their country plus an injured Adam Pelech, who otherwise would have been in the mix as well.

In Other Prospect News…

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Pelech Hurt, Still Two Isles Headed to Canada Camp

Kevin Schultz

This August, Hockey Canada will be hosting its summer training camp, a tune up for the World Junior Championships that take place at the end of the calendar year. The Islanders will have “only” two defensive prospects at the camp after 2012 third round pick Adam Pelech pulled out due to a wrist injury.

For Pelech, this is the same injury that caused him to miss the Islanders prospect camp a few weeks ago and it’s the third time he’s injured his wrist. From the Erie Times-News, where Pelech plays in junior for the OHL’s Erie Otters:
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Summer Report Cards: Anders Lee

Throughout the next month plus, we’ll be reviewing the season that was and over-analyzing the various players that contributed to it. That’s what the offseason is for, after all. This post is part of a series. Read them all here.

leeAnders Lee — C — #27

1-1-2 in 2 games

Most often seen: not really all that much, actually

Contract status: signed through 2013-14, $900k salary in 2012-13 ($1.75M cap hit)

Obligatory YouTube video of: first NHL goal

Thoughts on 2012-13: It’s hard to really review Anders Lee, who played only two games for the Islanders last season — at point per game pace! — so instead of writing about his season and grading it, here are some general thoughts about Lee’s past year and future.

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