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Aaron Ness Signs Entry Deal With Islanders!

Posted by on 16 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Draft, Hot Headlines, News, Prospects, Signings, Sound Tigers

Reports were running rampant over the last several days about Islanders defensive draft prospect and Minnesota Golden Gopher Aaron Ness being close to signing his pro contract with the Islanders. His agent, in response to these reports – claimed the rumors as “irresponsible journalism” directed at both blogs and the mainstream media reports alike, in clear denial.

But the rumors just did not stop.

Aaron Ness on Draft Day 2008

Earlier today, Newsday’s Katie Strang said via Twitter that there was something up with the Islanders and Ness once again.

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We all knew how a previous situation played out with the Golden Gophers and Kyle Okposo being lured to the Islanders – this was aired out in the media all over the place, with Garth Snow and Gopher’s head coach Don Lucia verbally sparring. After Ness was drafted and committed to Minnesota – Islanders fans raised an eye brow, and ear marked that page out of curiosity.

Aaron Ness skates for Minnesota Golden Gophers

Flash forward to today – and the rumors and speculation turned out to be correct. The Islanders announced around Noon today, that they had agreed to terms with Ness on his entry level contract and would be reporting to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders AHL affiliate.

Per the press release and Islanders website:

The New York Islanders announced Wednesday that they have signed defenseman Aaron Ness to a three-year, entry-level contract. Ness will report to the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and play out the remainder of the 2010-11 season on an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO). The entry-level contract will commence in the upcoming 2011-12 season.

Ness, the Islanders second-round selection (40th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, signs after completing three seasons of collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota. The 5’10”, 177-pound defenseman appeared in 35 games this season with the Golden Gophers, recording 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) and 41 penalty minutes. The 20-year-old blue-liner concludes his collegiate career with 111 games played and 43 points (six goals, 37 assists).

So, Bridgeport will get to see how Ness could help their defensive and offensive woes – the Islanders get to take a look at another one of their defensive prospects, all the while not even burning the first year of his contract in the process. Lastly, Ness will now be under the watchful eye of the Islanders and Bridgeport coaching staff which will help in his development.

Seems like a win, win, and WIN situation to me.


Post Scrimmage Notes and Quotes

Posted by on 25 Sep 2010 | Tagged as: Off Season, Post Game, Preseason, Prospects

So, I’m not sure if you know this – but hockey was back today at Nassau Coliseum.

It wasn’t quite what the Orange vs Blue scrimmage was earlier this summer – I think the Islanders learned what worked and what didn’t since then, like having the players wear their full jerseys, WITH numbers (a godsend for us media types located high above the ice….).

In all seriousness though, I felt they did a great job putting the scrimmage together. This time around, it wasn’t just prospects and camp invitees dazzling the crowd of 1500 with nifty passes and toe drags, instead it featured many of the players we will see on a daily basis during the upcoming season, which was a nice taste for a September afternoon. Those missing were those a bit banged up, Captain Doug Weight (shoulder), Kyle Okposo (shoulder), Rob Figren (foot), and Franz Nielsen was also absent and seen walking around the halls during the post game scrums.

The energy was high this afternoon and it was evident from the opening faceoff that the players missed catering to their fans and playing the sport they love.

From the puck drop on, I noted to those around me how strange it was heading Rick DiPietro quaterbacking the players from the goal mouth – I couldn’t honestly remember the last time he was in as good of a mood or as vocal. Not even when I went up to Bridgeport to see DP in his return to action was he as comfortable or vocal (and we know why now…). Continue Reading »

David Toews Leaves NCAA for WHL

Posted by on 20 Aug 2010 | Tagged as: Ex-Isles, General, Off Season, Prospects, Signings

Islanders prospect David Toews, the younger brother of Jonathan Toews – has left the NCAA (University of North Dakota) and joined the Wheat Kings of the WHL for the upcoming season marking the start of his professional hockey career.

Per the Calgary Sun:

Right-winger David Toews has decided to leave the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux after two seasons to join the Wheaties for his 20-year-old season. The Wheat Kings drafted Toews in the sixth round of the 2005 bantam draft.

Toews, who had nine goals and 26 points in 51 games at UND, was a third-round pick of the New York Islanders in the 2008 NHL draft.

In Other News

In other off season player news, several former Islanders have signed on with other clubs as free agents.

Defenseman Freddy Meyer has signed with the Atlanta Thrashers next season in a two-way deal for $500,000.

Meyer spent the last three seasons with the Islanders. He had four goals and 11 assists in a career-high 64 games in 2009-10 and 19 goals, 52 assists and 147 penalty minutes in 266 career NHL games.

Meyer has been a solid player for the Islanders over the last three seasons, although he was lost on waivers for a brief period to the Phoenix Coyotes – he was reclaimed shortly thereafter due to his solid play. He often logged important minutes and earned special teams play, his departure is a due to a vastly improved defensive unit this season with the addition of Eaton, Jurcina and Wisniewski.

Also, Sean Bergenheim was signed to a one year deal by the Tampa Bay Lightning this week. Originally selected 22nd overall by the Islanders, the fan favorite Begenheim had 40 goals and 40 assists over 246 career games with the Islanders.

Bergy, as fans and teammates affectionately called him, just couldn’t put it together at a consistent level. He’s a great skater with offensive ability who plays an exciting energetic
style, he was also great at being a pest – so the Lightning certainly added a nice piece.

But wait, there’s more!

The Islanders also added two players this week – one a former Islander who spent the previous season in the Minnesota Wild’s system.

Andy Hilbert has signed with the Islanders on a one year two-way contract as has forward Rob Hisey.

Per the Islanders release:

Hilbert returns to the Islanders after playing within the Minnesota Wild organization last season. The Howell, MI native skated in four games for the Wild. He spent the majority of the season with Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Houston Aeros, totaling 25 points (nine goals and 16 assists) in 33 games. Prior to his stint with the Wild, Hilbert was a member of the Islanders for three seasons, accumulating 27 goals and 44 assists for 71 points in 218 games. Hilbert was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in the second round (37th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Over the course of the four seasons that Hilbert spent in the Bruins organization, he split each season between Boston and their AHL affiliate the Providence Bruins.

Hisey played his first season of professional hockey in North America last year in both the AHL with the Springfield Falcons and the Central Hockey League with the Tulsa Oilers. A native of Oakville, ON, Hisey skated in 37 games for the Falcons last season, scoring 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points. With Tulsa, Hisey tallied 41 points (19 goals and 22 assists) in 24 games. Hisey played the previous four seasons in Finland, Germany, Austria and Sweden.

I like the Hilbert signing in that he was always solid defensively and shorthanded – he will replace Richard Park in all likelihood if and when he gets regular playing time with the the Islanders.

Rob Hisey I don’t know much about at this point, but from what I have heard he has some offensive potential and possesses Rob Schremp like hands around the net. Garth Snow likely sees this as another player worthy of a look and will likely play with the Sound Tigers this season.

I’d just like to take a second to wish Meyer and Bergenheim luck this up coming season and thank them for the job they did during their time here on Long Island. Best of luck gents.

Orange VS Blue: Live Blog

Posted by on 10 Jul 2010 | Tagged as: Live Blog, Off Season, Prospects

Boy has it been a while since I have seen some live hockey, well – not really all too long but I never would’ve imagined I would be getting ready to head to the Coliseum on a steamy July evening.

Tonight the Islanders prospects are taking part in a scrimmage amongst themselves – followed by a skills competition. It’s a showcase of talents of sorts and a way to present the future Islanders to their beloved and hockey crazed fans.

I am not entirely sure of the setup, we may be in an area of the arena or we may even be up in the pressbox. The physical location of the Blog Box no longer exists, the format will be a bit different this upcoming season then in years past – so keep tabs tonight both here on my blog and on my Twitter feed for updates one way or another.

I am extremely excited to see Niederreiter, Kabanov and Petrov skate with some of the other Islanders prospects. It should be a great night – so stay tuned.