Can Bridgeport Be Used To Help Isles In More Ways Than One?

Ryan Strome has been developing with the New York Islanders organization over the past two years playing with their AHL farm-team affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Photo Credit: mandelux12/Flickr).

In 10 games with the Sound Tigers in 2013, Strome scored seven points in 10 games (two goals and five assists). He has continued the high scoring pace this season as well, notching 14 points in nine games played (three goals and 11 assists) as the team's top scorer.

He also was cited as the best player in the Islander rookie camp before the puck dropped for this season as well.

Many predict that it will only be a matter of time before Strome enters the Islanders line-up, but that time might have to come sooner rather than later.

His future with this team is labeled as a top-six forward, potentially the Islanders next number-two center or possibly a wingman on the top line with John Tavares.

At the very least, he may be an upgrade over Peter Regin who has been the Islanders' third-line center so far this season. Regin presently has one goal and three assists through the first 16 games of the year.

Brock Nelson, who is still adjusting to the NHL game, has the same stats as Regin in only 11 games as he has been a healthy scratch a handful of times so far this season.

Jack Capuano might consider shaking up his team by calling up Strome to provide some added offense on the bottom two lines since it has primarily been the top two units that have been getting the job done.

He has been reluctant to dive into the AHL ranks to change his line-up, having only made a move recently by calling up defenseman Aaron Ness to play over Matt Carkner, who has been more of a defensive liability than helpful for the Isles blue line.

Many were surprised that Ness was chosen over defenseman Calvin de Haan, a 12th overall selection by the Islanders in 2009 and the team's second pick after John Tavares in that draft. Perhaps he was left in Bridgeport since his stats as an offensive defenseman have been very weak, providing just one assist in nine games played this season.

Although they are two entirely different players, Tavares has since become the team's captain and all-star forward, while de Haan has struggled with injuries and adjusting to the pro game with Bridgeport.

GM Garth Snow might have to make a decision on what he is going to do with de Haan, as it appears he is nowhere near ready for a full-time NHL roster spot. The future of the Islanders defense still has Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Pulock, Scotty Mayfield, Andrey Pedan and Ville Pokka developing within their system, potentially making de Haan expendable.

It is still early enough where de Haan, in addition to some other asset such as another player or draft pick, could be used in a trade to upgrade the Islanders blue line.

The Islanders defense has been consistently criticized for the recent losses as turnovers in their zone have been costly. With Lubomir Visnovsky still not skating in practice as he is recovering from a concussion, some veteran help from another team might be necessary to help the Isles move higher in the standings.

Could Strome soon be wearing an Islanders uniform? Could Garth Snow use de Haan as trade bait to help his team both for now and the future?

The Vanek trade says that Snow isn't afraid to pull the trigger on some deals. The question is how long will Snow wait before making a drastic change to his roster to yield better results for his hockey club.

If the Isles continue to play inconsistent hockey, struggling to win consecutive games in a row, he might not wait very long at all.

-Rob McGowan

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