Ullstrom Making Most Of Opportunity With Isles
With the Islanders searching for ways to improve their hockey club's anemic offense, the organization called upon David Ullstrom from their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Ullstrom had 14 points in 17 games played with the Sound Tigers and was showing that he was ready for a chance to prove himself at the NHL level.
The 6'3 Swedish forward was drafted by the Islanders in the 4th round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at 102nd overall. He weighs in at 198 pounds and is a versatile hockey player, possessing the ability to either play center or wing, although he is a natural center-man. He also has great speed and was clocked as the team's fastest rookie skater during their skills competition two years ago at the 2010 summer prospect scrimmage.
So far he has dressed for five games with the Islanders and finally recorded his first NHL point last night against the Buffalo Sabres. With Josh Bailey shrugging off checks behind Jhonas Enroth's net, Ullstrom came in for some aid just outside of the crease. He picked up the loose puck and shoved it to the front of the net for Brian Rolston to push home. The play ended up being the game-winning goal after a full, hard working 60-minute effort.
Although it was great to see the kid make his mark in the big leagues, it came as more of a reward for hard work and strong play. Ullstrom has not looked out of place in any of the five games that he's played and actually has been one of the more fun players to watch; not because of flashy moves or highlight reel hits, but because he does all of the little things right.
Ullstrom knows how to use his speed to his advantage and has been seen several times playing the puck not only to his teammates, but to himself. He quickly is able to make a soft play off the boards that puts the puck passed the oncoming defender while rushing his way around him and into the offensive zone. This is only one example of the type of hard-working play that some of the other Islanders can learn from. Bottom line, this guy works hard every shift and it shows.
He may not be the next John Tavares, but this guy can play and sure is making a case to stick around with the Islanders for possibly longer than expected.
...make sure to read Ken Dick's post-game blog from last night's Isles win here! Also keep an eye out for TCL's official Islanders sub-site which is set to launch in the next week!