Sunday, January 2, 2011

Game #36: Third Take on this year's Sound Tigers - January 2, 2011

okay, first game of the new year, and disappointing not to get a chance to see Ty Wishart in action, as he was given the day off, which made sense - why rush him until he's fully acquainted when it's not necessary, but kind of what I was hoping for - oh well

probably at least 5-10 games here in the AHL, unless the Islanders develop a sudden need, or he shows a lot in a hurry - and then he gets a chance up top - perhaps on the next home stand, but once he does play it will be interesting to get a read

for now, it was a first chance to see a Sound Tiger game without a clear top prospect like Poulin, Hamonic or Bailey - and that's what we had - a game where no one stood out - it also struck me as a game that could go down as one that didn't feature a single player with an NHL future (except for Poulin who was a DNP)

Player by player breakdown as follows

Mikko Koskinen - second chance to see him play, he's solid but unspectacular - that was my first take earlier this year in the post below, and remains the case. He is perhaps the clear #5 keeper in the system (after DiPietro, Poulin, Lawson, Nilsson - and not necessarily in that order).

Nilsson is the wildcard here - assuming Nilsson is not in the picture next year, Koskinen should get most of the games in Bridgeport and then we can see what we have or not.

If Nilsson is the goods, Koskinen could be used as trade bait if the right package was required.

A future tandem of Poulin and Nilsson has potential - Koskinen is potential useful at some point, in some capacity, but it will take time.

Rhett Rakhshani - looked a heck of a lot like a college player used to a shorter schedule who has hit a bit of a wall - Rhett hasn't played a full major league schedule before, and it is starting to show - he seems to have lost half a step (or was he playing hurt) - in fact, the "top" line of DiBo, Colliton, Rakshani was the weakest of the 4 on this night - not encouraging

Expect Rhett to finish the season in Bridgeport learning what it means to play a full schedule - he may get some games up top just to see how he fits in, perhaps in February or March - he looked like someone who for now, could use some time off

David Ullstrom - having seen him for the third time, he still doesn't make much of an impression in general, by & large - the interview in the free paper they hand out says he's looking to have a consistent season - and its also his first full North American professional season as well - methinks the organization is looking for a bit more scoring and he needs to show that to get a chance up top next year or he'll be back as a Sound Tiger

The Six Defenseman - what was perhaps most interesting was how the three pairings actually looked fairly solid - Friesen/Wotton play well together and is a solid unit, hoping they keep Friesen around, he has a bit of moxie to his game and Wotton is the consumate professional - O'Neill/Klementyev are solid as well, O'Neill didn't quite have the spark he had last time, which makes one think he might be the odd man, which would be too bad - hope they at least bring him back for another PTO, as he's been one of the better players of late - Klementyev look like he broke his nose in the third period - he may be the odd man out on Wednesday for Wishart as a result - Katic/Motherwell was a very solid pairing - Motherwell was much better than the first game I saw, he was one of the better Sound Tigers this afternoon, but with Klementyev going down, the team was down to 5 defenseman for the last few minutes, and they were all running on fumes

In general, a solid group for this level, but not sure any of these 6 will play another game in the NHL

The Fourth Line - was probably the best line - full of energy, like how these guys are coming together. In fact, all four lines had good energy and cohesion (though as mentioned, the top line wasn't quite clicking on all cylinders) - Romano & Labelle are not bad players - Bourbeau is a 4th liner at this level at best

Haley/Marcinko/Figren - Haley got the goal, which was nice - they were also on the ice for the game winner and were sleep walking at the time, but mostly played a solid, energetic game as a unit - but like the 4th line and the 6 defensemen, none seem likely to ever play a game in the NHL from here on in - same can be said for Hisey & Svendsen & DiBenedetto for that matter - all have talent, but need to show more to ever have a chance above.

Jeremy Colliton - is probably the closest to an NHL ready forward on the team - and that says a lot

As I said, this group, Poulin aside, may not have that much if anything to offer above, but we'll see.

Onwards and upwards...

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