Surprisingly, the talent pool down in Bridgeport is actually pretty decent. While it’s nothing to write home about, there are a handful players that are very intriguing. So what does this mean for the New York Islanders this season?
The New York Islanders are off to a fast start and seem to be meshing well under head coach Barry Trotz. Strong goaltending and bottom six scoring, something they lacked last year, currently has this team atop the Metro. It remains to be seen if they can keep up this play over the course of the season, the analytics certainly don’t suggest it. However, if they do keep it up or don’t, their depth in Bridgeport can definitely help.
It’s very rare that a team goes a full season without sustaining any kind of injuries. The Islanders have had a few guys hurt here and there but nothing major so far. Obviously, I hope nothing happens to anyone but if it does, they have guys ready to fill these roles. I’m not talking about your regular fourth line guys that we’ve been so accustomed to. These are impactful players, such as Kieffer Bellows and Devon Toews.
It’s refreshing to know that there are other guys with upside like Bellows and Toews that can come up and fill in if there’s an injury. We no longer have to depend on the Alan Quine’s of the world, even though his 2OT playoff goal is unforgettable. The only position where the Islanders might truly feel the effects of a long-term injury is at center. The organization lacks center depth and the next man up would be someone like Tanner Fritz. This brings me to my next point, trades.
Brock Nelson and Valtteri Filppula have gotten off to fast starts and have 12 goals combined. There will most likely be some regression in store and that’s when the Isles could find themselves struggling. The good news is, they have the ammunition to go out and make upgrades, either at center or elsewhere.
Teams usually covet players that are NHL ready and the Islanders have that. Their wing and defense depth in Bridgeport could be used to swing a deal for perhaps a Matt Duchene or Colton Parayko (these are just hypotheticals, don’t get crazy). You can’t forget that not every prospect makes it, especially when there’s a limited amount of spots available.
Listen, I’m ready for the parade but we’re only a month into the season. We could very well be reading up on prospects by the time January rolls around. The good news to this is that it doesn’t matter! The New York Islanders have zero expectations this year. ZERO. If they continue to win, I’m ready for a playoff push. If they start losing, I’m ready to continue building the foundation.
But what does this have to do with players in Bridgeport? Well the Isles have a couple of impending UFA at the end of the year. So if they get traded at the deadline, it’ll open up roles for these guys to step in and get an opportunity. Plus, there would be a Stanley Cup winning coach to help with their development. It’s certainly a win-win.
Win or lose, having guys like Bellows, Toews, Ho-Sang, and Aho ready to step up will help this team succeed now and in the future. When was the last time the Isles had this many high upside guys in Bridgeport? With these guys knocking on the door, it puts pressure on guys at the NHL level to maintain a high quality of play. Either way, the Islanders will reap the benefits.