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Islanders Assign Jaroslav Halak to Bridgeport

Courtesy: SoundTigers.com
          Release: 12/31/2016
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The New York Islanders announced today goaltender Jaroslav Halak (pictured) has been assigned to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In addition, the Islanders have reassigned forward Carter Verhaeghe and defenseman Jesse Graham to the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL).

Halak, 31, has played 106 games with the Islanders since he agreed to a four-year contract with the team on May 22, 2014. In his first season with New York, the Bratislava, Slovakia native set the Islanders’ all-time wins record (38-17-4) and was named to the 2014 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio, becoming the first Islanders netminder to make the All-Star Game since Rick DiPietro in 2007-08. Halak also won a franchise-record 11 straight games during the 2014-15 season.

On March 2, 2016, Halak was selected to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto with Team Europe. He became a key piece to the squad, logging a 3-3-0 record with a 2.15 goals-against-average and .941 save percentage and backstopping Europe to a runner-up finish against Team Canada. 

Prior to his time with the Islanders, the 12th year pro split time in the NHL between the St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens. He was dealt from St. Louis to Buffalo for a package that included Ryan Miller and Steve Ott on March 1, 2014 and was then traded to Washington on March 5, 2014 before playing a game with the Sabres.

The Islanders acquired Halak from Washington in exchange for the team’s fourth-round pick in the 2014 National Hockey League Draft on May 1. That fourth-round pick had been acquired in a trade with Chicago on February 6, 2014 in exchange for forwards Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin.

In 388 career NHL games with New York, Montreal, St. Louis and Washington, Halak has a 206-123-42 record with a 2.43 goals-against average, a .916 save percentage and 40 shutouts. He’s also appeared in 30 Stanley Cup Playoff games with New York, Montreal and St. Louis. Aside from his All-Star Game and World Cup of Hockey selections, Halak’s career highlights include leading Montreal to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010 and winning the Jennings Trophy in 2011-12 for backstopping St. Louis to the fewest goals allowed in the league.

Montreal selected Halak in the ninth round (271st overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft. On the international stage, Halak also represented Slovakia at two Winter Olympic Games, three World Championships and two Junior World Championships.

Verhaeghe, 21, notched eight points (four goals, four assists) and a plus-1 rating in 19 games with the Sound Tigers this season. The Islanders acquired him on Sept. 17, 2015 as part of a six-player trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Verhaeghe went on to record 15 points (six goals, nine assists) and a plus-3 rating in 30 games with Bridgeport as a rookie. Verhaeghe also spent 20 games with the Mavericks last season and produced 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) and a plus-16 rating.

A native of Waterdown, Ontario, Verhaeghe played three seasons with the Niagara Ice Dogs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) prior to turning pro. He served as Niagara’s captain during the 2014-15 campaign. The 6’2, 185-pound forward also won a gold medal with Canada’s U18 World Juniors squad in 2012-13.

Graham, 22, has registered a goal and six assists in seven games with the Sound Tigers this season. He spent the majority of the 2015-16 campaign with the Sound Tigers and ranked second among team defensemen with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) and adding 34 penalty minutes in 52 games. He led Missouri with eight assists and was tied for the team-lead with 10 points through 11 games this season.

A native of Toronto, Graham has notched 47 points (10 goals, 37 assists) and 58 penalty minutes in 105 AHL games since his professional debut with the Sound Tigers on April 4, 2014. In addition, he has 33 points (three goals, 30 assists) in 45 ECHL games with the Mavericks and Florida Everblades.

Prior to turning pro, Graham played four seasons in the OHL with Niagara and the Saginaw Spirit from 2010-14. He captained Niagara in 2013-14 and skated alongside Verhaeghe for three seasons.

The 6’0, 185-pound defenseman was originally selected by the Islanders in the sixth round (155th overall) of 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers continue a five-game road trip tomorrow with a 3 p.m. matchup against the Albany Devils at Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. Fans can follow all of the live action online via AHLlive.com, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.

Military Appreciation Night: The Sound Tigers will honor the heroes of the United States military, both past and present, on Saturday, January 14 at 7 p.m. with Military Appreciation Night presented by the Better Business Bureau. The first 1,500 fans will receive a camouflage bomber hat and the Sound Tigers will wear special edition uniforms during the game, which will be auctioned off to the public. In addition, all active duty personnel and veterans can receive a free ticket to the contest at the Webster Bank Arena Click It or Ticket Box Office by showing a valid I.D.

For additional details or to reserve seats for any of the 2016-17 giveaway and theme nights, please call the Sound Tigers’ front office at (203) 345-2300. 

Executive suites and premium seat packages are also available by calling the team’s front office at (203) 345-4841. If you are interested in group outings with your friends, family, co-workers, or clients an unforgettable experience at a discounted rate, call the group sales hotline at (203) 345-2300 Ext. 7. 

About the Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Founded in 2001, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Hockey Club is the top minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders. Don't miss your chance to take part in the family fun entertainment happening every home game at Webster Bank Arena. For further information on ticket or sponsorship opportunities, call our office at (203) 345-2300 or e-mail info@soundtigers.com. Keep up with the latest Sound Tigers news on Facebook and on  Twitter. For more team information, log on to soundtigers.com.

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