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.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
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.
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NHL.com’s Brian Compton looks into the Isles’ free agent signings from goaltender Chad Johnson to forwards Mikhail Grabovsky and Nikolai Kulemin. Plus, Brian welcomes Newsday’s Arthur Staple to the show for his take on last week’s signings.
For the show rundown, click here...
Nikolai Kulemin said he and Mikhail Grabovski wanted to play together again, which was one of the reasons they both signed with the Islanders.
Kulemin answered a few questions for the Islanders official website and said that he and Grabovski spoke during the last season and said they would like to play together again (Islanders, July 3).
“We thought it would be great if we could play together somewhere,” he said. “We didn’t know if that was going to work or not, but I am happy that we get the chance to play together again on the same team and now the plan is to make the playoffs and go far.”
The two played together with Toronto from 2008-2013.
Kulemin also said he’s excited for the move to Brooklyn, especially for the Russians.
“I think it’s going to be great to get a new building. It’s going to be a good experience to play there,” he said. “I know a lot of Russian people live in the Brooklyn area, so it’ll be a good experience for us and maybe a lot of Russia fans will start going to the games.”
As my last post, here are some thoughts on how the Islanders should move forward, in no particular order.
5. Don’t get complacent. I think was what we saw this last summer, when the Islanders did zilch in the off-season and then proceeded to perform poorly on the ice. This summer, that’s clearly not been the case as they’ve gone out and gotten three goalies, and two NHL forwards. So my advice is to not let last summer happen again. The bar should be set high and not simply at “making the playoffs and losing a round.” That’s been the high bar on this team for the last 20 years. That all sounds really simplified now that I type it out, but the goal should be winning a playoff round and aiming higher from there. The new building and (hopefully) success on the ice will get the ball rolling and once it’s rolling, it should be better from there.
4. Make the Last Season at the Coliseum a Special One. And with that I mean both on the ice and off. Of course, the best scenario is a playoff run in the last year at the old barn. That should be goal #1, but I would also hope to see the Islanders give the old building a nice send off. We’ve had a few Islanders Hall of Fame inductions in recent years and the 1993 playoff team was brought back. Go all out — bring back as many ex-Isles as possible. Have giveaways for the fans. To read more of this story, click here
Yesterday afternoon, Garth Snow was on Joe and Evan on WFAN to discuss the team’s recent signings and season. You can listen to the full audio here
, and below are some of the interesting points.
Was asked about the team not spending a lot of money on players:
“I think anytime you go through a rebuild like we did there’s a level of frustration. Part of the CBA is the ELC system for young players and we can’t control that they make a certain amount of money until they get to the next contract… [Tavares, Hamonic, Okposo...] Until those players get out of the entry-level system, a byproduct of going through a rebuild is having a low payroll. I understand that question. Part of for us, to get where we want to go is to get those players, draft them, sign them, play them and let them have that experience and not bring in a veteran, a stop gap kind of player, who takes away from the development of those young players.” To read more of this story, click here
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It’s been a fun three seasons here at Point Blank, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped out, read, commented and emailed over the past couple of years for their support. Tomorrow will be my last day here at IPB (set off some fireworks for me? but please don’t set yourself on fire).
This move is good — Grabovski was on pace for 50 points last year in Washington — and adds some serious forward depth to the Islanders. I would be sweating right now if I was Colin McDonald or anyone else who could be in the Islanders bottom six. There are now 16 forwards projected for the Islanders roster, which if you’re scoring at home is four more than they are allowed to ice in a game. And it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out too, as the Islanders are not a team that likes to risk players to waivers.
But what will be interesting to watch is how, and if, Grabovski (or Grabbo for short) and Kulemin can recapture some of the magic they had with Toronto before the Leafs front office started thinking they were smarter than everyone else and torpedoed the whole thing.
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The Islanders have signed forwards Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski to four-year contracts. (Arthur Staple)
- Kulemin gets $16.75 million over four years. His cap hit is $4.1875 million.
- Grabovski gets $20 million over four-years. His cap hit will be $5 million.
They were teammates in Toronto from 2008 to 2013. Islanders assistant Greg Cronin was with the Leafs for part of that time.
Grabovski, 30, scored 13 goals and 22 assists in 58 games last year for Washington with a cap hit of $3 million. He was bought out by Toronto last summer after signing a five-year deal worth $5.5 million.
- Grabovski has twice scored more than 50 points (2010-11 and 2011-12) and averages .59 points per game.
- He is 5-11, 183 and last season had 8 of his 35 points on the PP, averaged 15:45 per game and 1:26 on the PP.
Kulemin, 27, scored 9 goals and 20 assists in 70 games for Toronto last season and had a cap hit of $2.8 million.
- Kulemin scored 30 goals in 2010-11 but in the three seasons since has scored 7 goals, 7 goals and 9 goals and has not topped 30 points in any of those seasons.
- He is 6-1, 225 and last season had 153 hits, averaged 16:12 per game and saw 2:35 on the PK
Maybe this is out of context, but it sure sounds like the Islanders are all set for the summer. From a Newsday article yesterday
about signing goaltender Chad Johnson:
Snow declined to comment on any players who chose not to sign. “I think the core of our team is set,” he said. “It’s up to our players to improve from last season. We have a few guys who need to have better seasons for us to have success.”
After six signings yesterday of varying importance — but no “big fish” — it seems as though Garth Snow is settled in free agency. A whopping 86 NHL players signed a new deal yesterday, so to some extent a vast chunk of the available players are gone. Two of the remaining that the Islanders could/should be interested in are Mikhail Grabovski and David Legwand, who could lend experience and are capable of 50ish points. They would definitely be useful players but how far down the depth chart they would be willing to play could be an issue, as you wouldn’t want them keeping Lee/Strome/Nelson too far down.
Right now though, signs point to the Islanders being done in free agency. Arthur Staple, in a radio interview last night, speculated that the Islanders may still be looking to improve the team via trade. To read more of this story, click here
The Islanders have signed G David Leggio to a one-year, two-way contract (Strang, July 1).
Leggio, 29, played 45 games for the Hershey Bears in the AHL last season.
Leggio, who has no NHL experience, will likely serve as insurance for the Islanders.