Updates from Islanders mini camp…

Training camp set to be competitive one for Isles

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Training camp is still two months away, but with the Islanders aggressive offseason, it is already shaping up to be one of the most competitive camps in quite some time.

“I don’t think you can look at any two guys and in particular point guys out,” Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano said following the first day of Islanders Mini Camp. “When training camp rolls around for the first time if we’re healthy, with the competition that we have, the guys that come in with the habits that we want, the work ethic that we want, the discipline that we want are  the guys that are gonna be in the lineup. It’s our time now and we have to win hockey games.”

The offseason signings have — on paper — made the Islanders a better team. The additions of two top-six forwards in Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski make the Islanders more of a scoring threat, but also raises questions of which forwards will be with the team on opening night.

“I don’t think you point out a couple guys in particular or look at what their contract status is. If I was a forward right now looking at our roster I would be ready to go in September,” Capuano said.

Barring any trades before camp in September the Islanders will have 16 forwards under contract. Capuano seemed positive about not just the competition that brings, but also about the depth the Islanders have.

With the Islanders missing out on signing Thomas Vanek the question still remains regarding who will play with John Tavares on the wing. The abundance of forwards, according to Capuano, allows the team to “experiment” with who will fill that role.

“Obviously every year everybody asks the question who’s going to play with Johnny. I think now we have some options,” he said. “We have some guys that can play center that can also play the wing. That are very determined players that play with the grit that we want, so we have options now. When september comes around — preseason — we’re going to experiment and some different things.

“We have depth now in our organization. We have other guys we signed July 1 that can be an integral part of this team as well, so I’m excited about it.”

Defensively the Islanders also have some big questions and the competition will be just as intense. Especially for some of the younger players trying to make the roster like Griffin Reinhart, but don’t expect any players in mini camp to get a jump on the competition.

“The fate of our lineup will be determined in training camp, Capuano Said adamantly. That’s all I can tell you. The guys that come in and want to earn an opportunity that we feel can help us win in game one are gonna be the guys that play. End of story.”

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.”

Isles re-up with Stockton Thunder

The Islanders and Stockton Thunder of the ECHL have renewed their affiliation agreement for the upcoming season (Islanders, July 8).

Fourteen players spent time in Stockton and with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Isles’ AHL affiliate last year.

“We are thrilled to once again have the Stockton Thunder as our organization’s ECHL affiliate,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said in a release. “The Thunder do a great job of developing players from the ECHL, to the AHL, and eventually the New York Islanders.”

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

Islanders Point Blank Podcast: Newsday’s Arthur Staple calls in

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...

USATSI_7777650_110579513_lowres

Kulemin wanted to play with Grabovski again, likes move to Brooklyn

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.”

5 Thoughts on the Islanders Going Forward

Kevin Schultz

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

The Morning Skate: Snow on WFAN, TSN Numbers

Kevin Schultz

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