This season is the beginning of a new era for the New York Islanders. Gone is the man who has led the organization on the ice for the last 9 seasons. Also gone is the person making the moves behind the scenes. The same can’t be said for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who bring back 75% of their roster from last season, where the team finished 5th in the standings, just missing the Playoffs in each of the last two seasons. We have dissected what is going on around the AHL, as well as the roster. But how will the team do? We are going to predict that here.
Those Young Kids!
The Sound Tigers bring back 3rd-year pros, and former top prospects Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang, two guys who struggled a lot last year, not scoring as much as was wanted. Some people have considered that the duo has officially busted, but they are both still young. I mean look at Anthony Duclair, he’s played for four teams, and he’s only 22, but they have only played a combined 47 games in the NHL between two pro seasons. This is a do-or-die season for them. Another prospect who will be starting the season in Bridgeport will be Kieffer Bellows. Bellows had a strong NHL training camp, but the depth of the Islanders kept him down with Bridgeport. Bellows is a strong scorer. He will look to make an impact and ultimately get called up.
The Veteran Rule
In the American Hockey League, there is a veteran rule to keep the focus on the prospects. The rule states that an AHL team must dress at least 12 skaters that have played 260 or fewer games in the NHL, AHL, IHL, or European Elite Leagues prior to the start of the season. This means that up to six skaters that have played more than 260 professional games may be dressed. This may be a problem for the Sound Tigers. Here’s a list of guys who have over 260 pro games.
- Steve Bernier
- Ben Holmstrom
- Chris Bourque
- Ryan Bourque
- Connor Jones (is at 254 Pro Games but the rule will be in effect for him at 260)
- Seth Helgeson
- Mike Sislo
- Matt Lorito [halfway through year]
The Sound Tigers won’t have to run into this problem for the first few weeks but then will have to make a decision. Another guy who is veteran but is not having the rule applied to him is Chris Casto, the former Providence and Chicago DMan that is signed to PTO currently during camp. He would be a good leader to the defense.
Names you should know:
Yanick Rathgeb: Young defenseman from Switzerland, who has made a name for himself in front of the Islanders staff.
Ryan Hitchcock: The Yale grad really impressed Brent Thompson through the end of the year, and played well in NHL preseason for the Islanders. Expect him to be a top bottom-six guy for Bridgeport.
Woody Hudson: One of the best names in all of hockey, and a great character. Hudson has impressed during Sound Tiger camp, scoring two goals in the Intrasquad Game on Thursday Morning.
David Quenneville: The top defensive prospect that you’ve probably never heard of. Quenneville is a fast defenseman who scored 80 points last season for Medicine Hat in the WHL. Quenneville also is Medicine Hat’s all-time leading defensive scorer with 214 points. Expect this guy to be a taller version of Sebastian Aho.
Season Prediction: I think the Sound Tigers will be strong. I say the team gets home ice in round one of the Playoffs!
And that is the 2018-19 Season Preview of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Stay tuned as we will have more Meet and Greet interviews this coming year!