quick one from here, as we hit the halfway mark of the 2010-11 Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL season with 40 games now been played out of 80
(and a quick note - thanks to those of you who have been reading this blog, we are at more hits than I had any right to expect)
Here's a quick ranking with observations of the players who have played for the Sound Tigers to date this season, and how they rank, so far as potential to help the Islanders right now.
Some of these prospects would certainly rank higher (or lower) based on longer term potential, but this list is intended to be as regards prospects for contributing above as of today.
Not going to belabor the details on any one player, as further details on any and all are below in the previous game observations below.
1. Travis Hamonic - unlike Chris Botta's recent assessment of Poulin being the leading prospect, in many ways, it's at least as much Travis as well - in fact, would call Hamonic & Poulin very much prospects 1 and 1A - they are both stars in the making - Hamonic, as mentioned earlier, has every chance of being an all time great Islander - at his age, to be contributing at the level he has, the sky is the limit
1A. Kevin Poulin - as all are also saying, Poulin is the goods, and likewise at his age, has enormous potential - any NHL team with Hamonic & Poulin start to create a defensive backbone that figures to be quite useful going forward
3. Josh Bailey - we drop off quickly to Josh, but he retains his potential to be a 2nd line forward - has made a nice line with Schremp & Grabner which will hopefully get more time - the Bailey/Colliton/Rakhshani experiment, not so good - and with the plethora of C prospects and Bailey's less than stellar faceoff record, am thinking 2nd line LW for Josh - not too shabby,
if he produces, which is not a given, but prospects remain
4. Rob Schremp - a bit of an enigma, remains our 2nd line C for now - next season?
5. Jeremy Colliton - a nice surprise - Jeremy emerged as mentioned below, as the main F when the team needed one - lo and behold, he's a perfect 3rd line C for the Islanders in some ways - plays a two way game, can handle PK and even 2nd shift PP - hope he sticks, he deserves every chance
6. Dustin Kohn - looked great recently (see Report #4 below) coming off his injury - likely the call-up D if and when required, which as of now, it isn't
7. Dylan Reese - seems to have had a few decent games recently for the Islanders, and is close to Kohn in potential - getting the time now, and we'll see if he can ever more than a 6
8. Matt Martin - establishing himself with Konopka as fixtures on the 4th line - making Gillies redundant in some ways (Gillies needs to be sent down to get some playing time) - some argue he should be in Bridgeport getting more time - perhaps he will if the team loses all playoff chances soon, but for now, he plays a useful role - not sure if there's more potential than that
9. Mikko Koskinen - showing with his steady play that he could well be Poulin's backup - lets see where he stands at season's end (though at this rate, with the injuries above, he may get some time up top soon)
10. Jesse Joensuu - had a few decent games at 4th line - Martin/Konopka/Joensuu likely to be the 4th line until or unless they struggle - team likely not going to retain him after this year unless clear potential emerges, but who knows - lets see how rest of the season goes - this may be a decent spot for him for a few more years
11. Wes O'Neill - has potential to be another Colliton for the Islanders, except of course on D - equally solid and capable of contributing on all aspects, and an equally developed game sense - you can see why the Colorado Avalanche played him a few times last year and the year prior - and sometimes D take time to mature - don't count this guy out
12. Rhett Rakhshani - his prospects remain, but he likely needs time to mature, and especially to get used to a full NHL schedule, and too bad about his recent concussion - he figures to return to Bridgeport once he recovers to get his legs - remains a prospect for next season, but his real NHL prospects remain unclear
13. Ty Wishart - needs time, see below - has the god given tools, that's for sure
14. David Ullstrom - really hasn't been doing quite enough - as with Rakhshani & Wishart, will be fascinating to watch at training camp next year
15. Jon Sim - an excellent two-way signing, he really shouldn't play more than 40 games a year for the Islanders, but used sparingly, is a nice ingredient - would like to see them bring him back next year similarly
16. Justin DiBenedetto - has enough of a two-way game, that is prospects remain - rest of year at Bridgeport will be important for him to be sure
17. Nathan Lawson - is he still on the Islanders? Probably any minute now, DP will return, and Lawson will be back with the Sound Tigers - showing that he can play in the NHL as a backup potentially - would imagine he'll get more time to play once back down
18. Michael Haley - one game with the Islanders last year, will it be his only one? He plays enough of a two way game that he remains a decent emergency callup - not clear if he can be more than that
19. Mark Katic - a bit on the small side, but retains prospects - given another year or two, wouldn't count him out to be at least a Gervais of the future, perhaps more, who knows
20. Anton Klementyev - even younger at 20, Anton has the size and speed to still have NHL potential - lets see where he is by end of next season
We are at #20, and still talking about players with at least some prospects - kudos to Garth Snow et al for stocking the organization with depth
21. Mark Wotton - the captain is a rock - would love to see him get a game with the Islanders this year - he could hold his own, even if he is really too slow for the NHL now - in an emergency...
22. Olivier Labelle - this guy delivers crunching hits, so would be interesting to see if he has 4th line NHL potential at some point - perhaps more interesting than meets the eye
23. Robin Figren - having an okay season, often plays with good energy, but a bit small for the NHL most likely
24. Joel Martin - would like to see this guys get a game or 2 or 3 at Bridgeport - seems to have some prospects, and given netminders almost always need seasoning, let him have some - and lets see what we have in 2-3 years
25. Rob Hisey - has some skill, but likely maxed out at this level, but not an impossibility
26. Brett Motherwell - been playing with poise lately - good to see - is there more? He's at least a nice fit for the Sound Tigers - a nice signing to be sure
27. Brandon Svendsen - been playing well at times, will need to show more to ever advance, but lets see, also not impossible, but not likely either
28. Dustin Friesen - probably too slow to ever go higher, but plays D and F, so an excellent piece at this level - never say never....
29. Tony Romano - has something about his game - even down here at 29, we aren't in no way/never ever territory
30. Tomas Marcinko - does a decent enough job on PK, but is quite slow, and unlikely to advance, but that's what the AHL is for - three words - speed skating lessons....
+ all others (Blight/Bourbeau/Campbell/Castonguay/Landry/Leisenring/Taylor/Yablonski - no comments necessary)
That's a wrap - many prospects to ponder, and many more at junior & college levels - make Bridgeport Sound Tiger Hockey to remain interesting for some time to come.