Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:UNIONDALE, N.Y. — If anyone looks at the Islanders roster as it currently is, one could say it may be a glimpse into the future of sorts.
The Islanders have 10 rookies in their lineup, and that includes highly touted prospects Ryan Strome, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson. The final eight games will be an opportunity for them to make an impact and impress the team’s brass in hopes of starting in the NHL next season.
“I think it shows that there’s great opportunity in this organization,” Strome said on Saturday. “Obviously injuries are tough to come by, but guys are getting an opportunity. I mean those guys played a full year in Bridgeport last year, so obviously very exciting for them and for me it’s just trying to show them I’m here to stay.”
But the present could be more than a tryout for these players, it could very well be a preview of what is to come in the future for the Isles. It’s safe to say Strome, Nelson, Lee and Matt Donovan will safely have a place on the team going forward. Nelson is the elder statesman of sorts since he has 65 career NHL games under his belt, which includes one playoff game.
He’s been excited to have the familiar faces around him in Isles the locker room.
“Now with all the young guys we have it’s kind of fun to have these guys here,” Nelson said. “And go through this together. Kind of learn as a group at the same time. I think it’s nice having some of the faces that we had in Bridgeport last year up here.”
Both Strome and Nelson acknowledged that the future of the Isles franchise may be taking shape this season.
“I think the young guys, myself included, I think we want to try to add to that core group,” Strome said. “I think there’s a really good core group of players here and great leadership group. A group that’s committed to what this team has to offer… Everyday I feel more comfortable and I feel more at home.”
Nelson added: “We’re all here in the same boat. Trying to learn and get better everyday. Kind of make our way into the lineup and play. And help this team be successful.”