“Is [my favorite player] coming back next year?”May 29, 2019
Updated: June 10, 2019 – 12:44 p.m.
For the hockey operations department of a professional team, the summer is just as important as the six months of the regular season – if not more-so. It's the time of year when front office personnel begin the process of roster construction and fans find out the answer to their favorite off-season question: “Is [favorite player] coming back next year?”
It can take quite a while to explain all of the factors that go into whether a player returns from season to season, but we'll do our best to keep you up to date this summer. Below is a list of players who completed the 2018-19 campaign with the Sound Tigers (and some others) and where they stand heading into the 2019-20 season.
Before getting started, keep in mind AHL rosters have the potential to change considerably from year to year. For instance, 18 players who appeared in at least 30 games with Bridgeport during the 2017-18 season returned last year.
Now for what you came for. Keep in mind that many of the players in the “Signed for 2019-20” category are signed by the New York Islanders (NHL) and not specifically Bridgeport. They will have a chance to make the big club in training camp. In addition, there are players on this list that may not stay with the Sound Tigers after training camp. Players can be assigned to the ECHL, European teams, or reassigned to their junior club in some cases.
Signed for 2019-20
F Kieffer Bellows (NHL)*
F Robert “Bobo” Carpenter (NHL)*
F Arnaud Durandeau (NHL)*
F Scott Eansor (NHL/AHL) - Signed two-year, two-way deal on 3/15/18
F Tanner Fritz (NHL) - Signed two-year deal with NY Islanders on 5/31/19
F Ryan Hitchcock (AHL) – Signed two-year, AHL deal on 5/1/18
F Mason Jobst (NHL)*
F Otto Koivula (NHL)*
F Matt Lorito (NHL/AHL) - Signed two-year, two-way deal on 7/2/18
F Travis St. Denis (NHL/AHL) - Signed two-year, two-way deal on 5/8/18
F Oliver Wahlstrom (NHL)*
D Sebastian Aho (NHL)*
D Kyle Burroughs (NHL/AHL) - Signed two-year, two-way deal on 7/16/18
D Noah Dobson (NHL)*
D Seth Helgeson (NHL/AHL) - Signed two-year, two-way deal on 7/2/18
D Grant Hutton (NHL)*
D David Quenneville (NHL)*
D Mitch Vande Sompel (NHL)*
D Bode Wilde (NHL)*
D Parker Wotherspoon (NHL)*
G Christopher Gibson (NHL/AHL) - Signed two-year, two-way deal on 7/2/18
G Jakub Skarek (NHL)*
G Linus Soderstrom (NHL)*
*Denotes entry-level contract with the New York Islanders
A restricted free agent usually means it's up to the Islanders whether or not to bring these players back. Players either re-sign with their NHL team from the previous season or become an unrestricted free agent.
Restricted Free Agents
F Michael Dal Colle
F Josh Ho-Sang
F John Stevens
Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with any team in the NHL, AHL or anywhere else in the world.
Unrestricted Free Agents
F Steve Bernier
F Chris Bourque - Signed with EHC Munchen (DEL) on 5/27/19
F Ryan Bourque
F Stephen Gionta
F Ben Holmstrom
F Josh Holmstrom
F Connor Jones - Signed with HC Thurgau (NLB) on 5/16/19
F Jeff Kubiak
F Mike Sislo
F Yanick Turcotte
D Chris Casto
D Mike Cornell
D Yannick Rathgeb - Signed with EHC Biel-Bienne (NLA) on 5/20/19
G Mitch Gillam
G Jeremy Smith - Signed with Kunlun Red Star (KHL) on 6/10/19
All NHL contracts run through June 30, which means no team other than the Islanders could sign these players before July 1. All AHL contracts also run through June 30 and those players can sign with any NHL club at any point, however they could not sign with an AHL team (aside from Bridgeport) until July 1.