You know how we do things here at Islesblogger – we like to play with our titles to
poke-fun point out the obvious. This case is no different, referencing the lack of free agent signings by our New York Islanders. The blockbuster depth signings that this team has made over the last few days has certainly bolstered one area – the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL.
Here is a list whom they picked up over the last few days:
Center Greg Moore, left wing Matt Moulson, right wing Greg Mauldin and defenseman Mark Flood, Goaltender Scott Munroe, left wing Jeremy Reich and defenseman Brett Westgarth. All seven players were signed to one year two way contracts.
Some background on each player, as found on the Islanders Website followed by my own brief opinion or thoughts:
Moore played within the New York Rangers’ organization the past four years, skating in a total of six games for the big club during the 2007-08 season. While playing for the Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, the 6’1, 210 pound center compiled 58 goals and 74 assists for 132 points in 224 games during his four seasons. The native of Lisbon, Maine, was selected to represent the Wolf Pack in the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic game for PlanetUSA. Moore is a graduate of the University of Maine where he played four years, accumulating 66 goals and 41 assists for 107 points with the Black Bears. In his senior year, Moore led Maine in scoring with 45 points (28 goals and 17 assists). He was originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 2003 National Hockey League Entry Draft where he was selected 143rd overall in the fifth round.
Key words, product of Maine – we know how Garth Snow loves to take from familiar areas, but there could a diamond in the rough there with Moore. Firstly, Moore has SIZE – 6’1″ and 210 lbs makes the current crop of centermen with the Islanders look a bit small. Skill wise, Moore seems to have put up decent numbers in College and in the Minors – so it’s a bit of a crap shoot to expect him to do anything more then get his cup of coffee with the Islanders should dare I say it, injuries arise.
Moulson has totaled six goals and four assists for 10 points in 29 games with the Los Angeles Kings during the last three seasons. A native of North York, ON, Moulson played the majority of his time in the Kings’ organization with the team’s AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, where he tallied 74 goals and 86 assists for 160 points in 188 games. Prior to his professional career, Moulson attended Cornell University, where he graduated in 2006 after accumulating 138 points (71 goals and 67 assists). Moulson led Cornell in scoring his sophomore, junior and senior years. He was originally a draft choice of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft where he was chosen in the ninth round, 263rd overall.
I get nervous when I read how players had scoring prowess in college and juniors – I really do. Here we have a player who lead his college team in scoring and then came to the AHL and put up just under a point a game. Taken in the ninth round in 2003, Moulson is an older player who has very little NHL experience, but could be a potential surprise – much like Tambellini (any coincidence with the Kings? Hmmmmm). Worth a shot checking him out for a season, another decent depth player for Bridgeport.
Mauldin has spent the past two seasons with the Binghamton Senators, AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators. In 151 games with Binghamton, Mauldin scored 39 goals and 45 assists for 84 points. The 5’11, 197 pound left-wing was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets, 199th overall in the seventh round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. He was born in Holliston, Mass., where he went on to play college hockey at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. Mauldin played three years for the Minutemen, scoring 94 points (48 goals and 46 assists) in 98 games. At the completion of his junior year, Mauldin skated in six games for the Blue Jackets. He played the following two years for the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, recording 19 goals and 37 assists for 56 points in 122 games. Mauldin was traded to the Houston Aeros at the end of the 2005-06 season, playing in 11 regular season games and scoring 4 points (1 goal and three assists).
Key words again – Holliston, Massachusetts – Garth sure does like those Mass natives. This is a player whom is hard to judge just by reading into his stats. Obviously the team sees something there by way of scouting, he doesn’t exactly scream out goalscoring machine – but could play well in a role player situation. However, being listed at 5’11″ and 197lbs sort of limits what type of role he can actually fit in and play. More Bridgeport depth.
Flood, a native of Charlottetown, PEI, has played for the Albany River Rats, AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, the past three seasons, racking up 63 points (19 goals and 44 assists). The 6’1, 195 pound defensemen began his pro career with Syracuse in the 2005-06 season. He spent the next two seasons with the Crunch, scoring two goals and two assists in 17 games. Flood also saw time with the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL during the 2005-06 season where he played in 50 games and totaled 25 points (11 goals and 14 assists). Prior to his pro career, Flood skated four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Peterborough Petes scoring a total of 25 goals and 94 assists for 119 points in 253 games. Flood was selected in round six of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, 188th overall.
Your typical puck moving defenseman, Flood is listed at 6’1″ and 195lbs – he is said to possess a heavy right handed shot and can pot you a few goals on the power play. As you can see above, Flood has yet to really be given his big break in the NHL. With our New York Islanders and a constant revolving cast of
misfits players, we know it will only be a matter of time until his services are called upon. With the way Garth snow and the scouts have picked defensemen the last few years – this one seems like it could have a low risk – high reward type of impact in my eyes.
Munroe, an undrafted goalie from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, has been a part of the Philadelphia Flyers organization for the past four seasons. He received his first call-up to the National Hockey League last year with the Flyers. The 27-year-old net-minder posted a career year last season with a record of 31-19-0-4, a save percentage of .926 and four shutouts. Munroe led the Phantoms to the Calder Cup Playoffs in each of the past two seasons. During the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs, Munroe made 65 saves in a five overtime contest against the Albany River Rats to earn the victory in the longest game in American Hockey League history.
Another goalie? The Islanders have been doing their best to restock a much needed position in the organization. With the status of Rick DiPietro being up in the air (as if it ever changes around here), the Islanders selected two goaltenders at the 2009 entry draft last week and have now signed the Phantom’s Calder Cup specialist. Look for Munroe to maybe get a spot call on backup duty here and there, but mainly vie for a position down in Bridgeport now that Peter Mannino, Yann Danis and Joey MacDonald have not been brought back this season.
Reich has played in a total of 99 NHL games scoring two goals and four assists while compiling 161 penalty minutes. The Craik, Saskatchewan, native has been a part of the Boston Bruins organization for the past three years and played under Islanders head coach Scott Gordon his first two seasons with the team’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. Last season, the 6’1, 196 pound left wing, served as the team captain of Providence, setting single-season career high numbers of 21 goals and 13 assists for 34 points in 76 games. Reich was originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round (39th overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
You all asked for muscle, you got it – just not in the form you were expecting. Reich is another mid-sized enforcer poached from a familiar territory – the Providence Bruins. Scott Gordon must have been chomping at the bit to get this player, as you can see from his picture and some stats above the boy LOVES to scrap. He appears to be a leader and has quite a few NHL games under his belt at 99. I would look to him to play the role played by Nate Thompson and Joel Rechlicz last season and get the nod when there is a known need for enforcement. With a familiarity of the player by the head coach of the parent club – I wouldn’t be surprised if Gordon almost doesn’t give him a spot right out of camp.
Westgarth played the last three seasons in the AHL. Last year, the 6’2, 215 pound defenseman played for the Worcester Sharks, AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, scoring nine points (2 goals and 7 assists) while totaling 137 penalty minutes. Westgarth, a native of Amhertsburg, ON, is a Princeton University graduate who skated for the Tigers from 2002-2007 where he compiled four goals and 20 assists for 24 points.
Finally, more of what we DO NOT HAVE, a relatively decent size defensive prospect who could potentially take the role of a shutdown man (ala Brendan Witt). Obviously Westgarth isn’t known for his puck moving ability and with 137 penalty minutes – clearly plays his game a bit differently. Kudos to the scouting staff for finally figuring out that every defenseman we pick doesn’t have to have a strong offensive game. Of all the moves, I think taking a chance on a defenseman you think fits a DIFFERENT type of need in the position is a step in the right direction. If it doesn’t work out, he is on a one year deal – you walk away.
In closing, the Islanders have picked up a bevy of prospects for really nothing – which is a bit risky only in you never really know what you will get when you roll the dice. Picking up free agent players like this is really no different then drafting in a sense – it takes good scouting and research to find that “diamond in the rough” player who will be serviceable not only for your farm team, but eventually your NHL club.
For now, those whom were expecting the Islanders to land some marquee free agents or a player along the lines of Mark Streit last year, you will have to wait a few more days – or take solace in knowing our current number one goaltender is Dwayne Roloson. At least he finished last season with a winning record, that’s a plus right there folks.