After a week off from forward previews today we have a few words about the rest of the Islander forwards.
1. Jeff Tambellini:
Nothing really new to write about Jeff Tambellini, an impact player in the AHL, a player who looks like he does not belong when given chances (albeit limited minutes most of the time) in the NHL. You see Comeau, Okposo and Bergenheim visible in games, creating chances and driving the net and wonder why this former first round pick is virtually invisible when he gets his opportunities, then goes back to the AHL and dominates?
Those players won over the coach and earned more minutes because they were impact players who did the little things and did them well. Tambellini had a month at the end of 2005-06 and a few weeks with more minutes at the end of 07-08 and was not visible. Tambellini has been around a few years snd went through the Kings system, he should be ahead of everyone but he seems to be behind everyone when he is called up to this level.
Ted Nolan, Scott Gordon or whoever is not going to hand him ice-time as a gift, it has to be earned or those players will continue to play and he will continue to see less minutes.
It's fair to write at this point if he is visible and producing chances he's improving even without the numbers. If he's invisible and not a factor or creating chances who is going to pay the price for him to see ice time he is not earning?
2. Frans Nielsen:
Nielsen despite his late season injury is a well rounded player and someone used to playing among NHL players given all the tournaments with Denmark where he was the veteran. He's had a few years in Bridgeport and comes from the same draft class Bergenheim did in 2002.
He signed a four year contract, he also has to be one of those players like Comeau who's game is better suited to the NHL level over the AHL and he has to produce to keep his spot. A lot riding on the next few weeks for Nielsen but it seems on paper his extension could land him a roster spot to start the season.
3. Jeremy Colliton:
I keep watching Colliton and see flashes of talent but he comes from the 2003 draft and was a big impact player in junior hockey. He has had a lot of chances in Bridgeport and it's time to step up and show the obvious skills and talent he has and force management to give him a spot in the NHL. His size is absolutely a plus as is his ability to hit the holes and charge the net as he showed in a late season game at Msg.
4. Ben Walter:
You have to think Scott Gordon was asked about parting with Walter when Bruin management traded him for Petteri Nokelainen, this is the man he has to impress to win an NHL spot at an age where it's time to ask whether he will make it or not after Boston gave him a few games and he scored his first NHL goal with the Islanders late last season.
Clock is ticking, Walter needs to be an impact player in camp and force management to keep him and there are not a lot of spots.
5. Rob Hennigar-Trevor Smith-Sean Bentivoglio-Tim Jackman:
Smith and Bentivoglio just completed their first year in Bridgeport and came in with some NHL expectations, Hennigar is twenty five and needs a huge camp to win a spot considering Nielsen is signed for the next four years and the other players I wrote about.
I guess Tim Jackman's status depends on how Scott Gordon sees him vs how Ted Nolan did. Jackman was here about as much as Tambellini and produced virtually the same numbers but the club does need a fighting winger and right now at the forward spot he is the most qualified veteran for the role.
6. Jesse Joensuu-Tomas Marcinko-Josh Bailey:
Given the depth at these positions, with Josh Bailey only able to play on the Islanders or go back to his junior club it's going to take a great camp from these players where they force management to clear a spot for them and in Joensuu-Marcinko's case it will take a lot of clearing to make that happen as they can and likely will be in Bridgeport. Most of the players I wrote about who are centers (above) would have to go to the AHL for Bailey to make the club and that's with Mike Sillinger working his way back from injury.
It will be interesting and a very good problem if Garth Snow does have to keep his promise and give a spot to anyone who earns it.
Next week the defenders