Islanders Rookies Battle Flyers Tonight
By Alan Fuehring / Sound Tigers
Each of the 25 players at New York Islanders rookie camp spent their summer working out and training for a successful 2017-18 season. They arrived on Long Island one week ago and have spent each of the last five days putting their skills on display for the team's coaching staff and front office. Tonight, the Islanders' rookies will put those skills to the test against the Philadelphia Flyers rookie squad at Wells Fargo Center.
The exhibition contest, which kicks off at 7 p.m., will offer Islanders draft picks and prospects their first competition against an outside opponent in 2017-18. NewYorkIslanders.com will broadcast the Flyers live stream of the game, which may be subject to blackouts in certain regions. Check back around puck drop for the link.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson, who will stand behind the bench this evening, will be looking for several things from his group.
“I'm looking forward to seeing compete level and who makes an impression,” Thompson said. “There's going to be a lot of passion in tonight's game and it will be interesting to see who channels it into their performance best.”
Among those youngsters are a pair of 2017 draft picks: Arnaud Durandeau (sixth round, #165 overall) and Sebastian Aho (fifth round, #139 overall), who will take the ice wearing Islanders' colors for just the second time (they each skated in the Blue/White Scrimmage in June). In addition, John Stevens, Travis St. Denis and former first-round pick Michael Dal Colle (2014), who all spent time with the Sound Tigers last season, will be grouped together on the top line.
For Stevens, a native of Sea Isle City, New Jersey whose dad played three seasons with the Flyers and coached four more, tonight's game will be extra special.
“I grew up 20 minutes from the rink and my dad was a key part of the organization, so I grew up going there a lot,” Stevens said. “It's pretty cool to play my first rookie game in that rink. I'll have a lot of family and friends in attendance and I'm just really excited to get it going.”
The 23-year-old is also looking forward to getting back in the groove.
“I'm just going to try and control what I can control and try to get off to a good start in camp. That's the most important thing to me,” Stevens said.
Meanwhile, Perkasie, Pennsylvania native Eamon McAdam will also have several friends and family in attendance tonight as he starts between the pipes.
“It's always cool when you're going home and especially to play against your favorite team growing up; in their building,” McAdam said. “I'm just looking to settle in and get used to playing with some of these new guys.”
“Of course, anytime you step onto the ice, you're looking to win, but especially when you're out there representing the New York Islanders,” McAdam added.
Tonight's contest marks the final on-ice session of rookie camp. The Islanders open training camp Friday at 10 a.m. at the Northwell Health Ice Center. Their first pre-season game is at the newly renovated NYCB Live, home of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
News and Notes:
- Six players who will take the ice in tonight's game have previously played at least one contest for the Sound Tigers, totaling 276 games overall. Those include Michael Dal Colle, John Stevens, Travis St. Denis, Ross Johnston, Parker Wotherspoon and Eamon McAdam.
- Matt Gaudreau and Jeff Kubiak both finished the 2016-17 season working out and training with Bridgeport.
- Former Penn State netminder Eamon McAdam will start tonight's game between the pipes. The Islanders' third round selection (#70 overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft made his pro debut with Bridgeport in 2015-16 and played 26 games with the Sound Tigers last season.
- Forwards Mathew Barzal and Josh Ho-Sang, as well as defensemen Devon Toews and Kyle Burroughs, will all sit out tonight's contest.
ISLES ROOKIE ROSTER:
20 Kieffer Bellows
71 Michael Dal Colle
21 Arnaud Durandeau
36 Scott Eansor
47 Matthew Gaudreau
17 Connor Graham
63 Jeff Kubiak
62 Matthew Lane
74 Travis St. Denis
45 John Stevens
59 Yannick Turcotte
28 Sebastian Aho
37 Sean Durzi
49 David Quenneville
54 Willie Raskob
35 Mitch Gillam
34 Eamon McAdam