I'm well aware it's training camp, and only seven days since the team even gathered, however it's also painfully obvious once again the New York Islanders are taking someone they used a high draft pick on, and changing their position along with asking them to make the jump to the NHL/AHL level.
There was even a brief period of making John Tavares a wing that ended quickly as soon as he spoke up. Funny, leaving him at his natural position worked out just as expected.
Sometimes all you have to do is teach players at their natural position.
We have all seen this before with center Josh Bailey, many forwards changing wing. Brock Nelson's been moved around a lot also, he should be an NHL center.
I asked this question a few years ago when Strome/Nelson were drafted and wondered what the team is going to do with all these natural centers?
Is drafted center Ryan Strome really going to be made an NHL/AHL winger so Frans Nielsen, Peter Regin, cannot produce in the middle? Casey Cizikas is not at their draft level talent.
Isn't it tough enough that so far it seems Frans Nielsen is back to being Mark Streit's powerplay replacement on point, plus he's going to be centering two players he can only set up well?
Frans Nielsen should be a fourth line player with his production, at best he should be the checking center which means someone else in the middle who can score plays between Bailey/Okposo or Bailey moves back to his natural position.
We saw this game with Blake Comeau, he became so versatile he forgot how to score, and played his way off the Islanders when his late season hot streaks ended as soon as the next season/change of plan for him was announced but did a heck of job skating around the perimeter.
At the end Bergenheim was asked to play the off wing, he did not want to change his position.
Bottom line these are Garth Snow's drafted talents now, not Mike Milbury's.
Of course Ryan Strome says all the right things, they all do for a while.
"I'm definitely 100 percent comfortable there now," Strome said of playing right wing. "I learned some habits I needed to work on, learned how to get the puck a little bit more since you're a bit more restricted than at center. But I like it so far, I'm able to use my creativity."
What's so bad again about Strome-Nelson being the #1-2 centers in Bridgeport or one of them taking Peter Regin's spot?
What's so bad if Nielsen sets up other forwards on a lower line.
It's time to develop a second line center long term to take the next step as a team. Pittsburgh did not decide to make Malkin or Crosby wingers, they both play center most of the time (not powerplay) on a different line.
Jack Capuano on the day he has those options can start talking about this team winning games more than one way of playing.
Teams all over this league draft players at their natural position leave them alone, and they become very good NHL players. Sure many teams also change prospects positions from center to wing also.
I know it's only two games, but to borrow a phrase out of Minnesota, Griffin Reinhart, screams NHL defender. He cannot beat out Matt Donovan, who obviously is ready.
Matt Carkner screams Eric Boulton's minutes or waivers. I can see Radek Martinek or Joe Finley, not both. One's signed, the other is here on a PTO.
I would risk Joe Finley on waivers, keep Martinek because he can skate in traffic, and is solid at moving the puck if that's the menu. Strait/Hickey worked out that's 2/3 so a good percentage. deHaan/Ness or someone else is going to push likely MacDonald or one of these players out of a job.
Kevin Poulin's body movements were that of an unmade bed (even with a few very good saves) in goal for two periods against the Devils, and a few undeflected pucks that found the net were like his game against Carolina at home 2013.
He said he settled down in the third period which I missed.
I trust him to be the backup, know he can play at this level, however he has to be the goalie he was at this level a few years ago. This is camp but as a backup, he's getting more work than usual.
Bridgeport needs one starting goaltender, not two. Based on last year that should be Anders Nilsson.