The news about prospect Robin Figren possibly joining Bridgeport in the next few days (source: Mike Fornabaio) comes with a major IF.
This being a mostly-free world, the Islanders’ 3rd round pick in 2006 is always welcome to come and hang out in Connecticut. However, he’s only free to actually play in the American Hockey League if the Swedish hockey federation allows it. Since his homeland may insist on holding back Figren so he can represent Sweden in the World Championships, that’s not a slam dunk.
Figren is a good prospect who did not take a step forward in his development this season. (Three months ago, we ranked him No. 4 among non-AHL prospects). While the Islanders gave their blessing for the left wing – who turns 21 on Saturday – to play a year in the Swedish Elite League after two in the Western Hockey League, Figren received limited icetime with Djurgardens. In 49 games, he had 3 goals and 6 assists.
The Islanders need to get Figren playing in North America as soon as possible. Despite his uneventful season in Sweden, he remains an important prospect for the franchise.
A year ago, Jesse Joensuu had the invaluable experience of joining the Sound Tigers late in the season. He took part in practices and suited up for one game. With the Bridgeport lineup decimated by injuries and call-ups to the Islanders, the Sound TIgers could use Figren every night in the scramble for a playoff berth.
Right now, his AHL availability for this season is not a given.