With the NHL season almost upon us and with several favorite Isles prospects heading to Bridgeport, it's also time for the start of the AHL season. The Islanders' affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are entering their 10th season. The Islanders were late to the AHL game, sharing AHL affiliates for much of their history. The Capital District Islanders (90-93) and Springfield Indians (84-90) were the only other former Isles AHL full affiliates. It should be no surprise that the Islanders not having a full AHL affiliate came during the period of horrible and cheap ownership.
One of the most interesting aspects of Bridgeport's history came when I first heard about them getting an Isles AHL affiliate. In 2000 the Isles were sharing the Lowell Lock Monsters with the Kings. He who shall not be named decided that the incredible Isles prospects Jason Krog, Mathieu Biron, Juraj Kolnik, Petr Mika and Branislav Mezei weren't getting enough playing time. So he withdrew them and sent some to the ECHL, some to the NHL and some to the Springfield Falcons. He mentioned excitement over the incoming Bridgeport team, which was only a year away.
In their first season the Bridgeport Sound Tigers actually made the finals, with some notable names leading the charge. Future Islanders coach Steve Stirling was behind the bench, Rick DiPietro was in the crease for nearly 60 games, Trent Hunter and Jason Krog had 60+ point seasons and 19-year-old Raffi Torres had 20 goals for fourth best on the team. They've never returned to those same heights, even with a 100+ point season two years ago.
With that little bit of history, it's interesting to see how much thought people give to BP. Personally I tend to care that they are winning, and if the Isles were out of the playoffs and BP was in, I'd probably follow BP. Otherwise all I know about BP is what I read in passing and what I see via the stats at hockeydb.
Last season when I thought Andy MacDonald would make a good long term call-up, it wasn't from seeing him or hearing anything about him, it was just looking at his stats and he managed a positive +/- for two seasons when the rest of the team was mostly negative. Lesson to learn, never ask me my opinion for a fantasy hockey team.
Among the teams that I follow (Isles, Jets, Mets, Knicks) the only team's minor league system I know anything about is the Islanders', although I occasionally watch college football. When everyone got excited about Ike Davis, my main question was: "Who?" I've never understood how the basketball developmental league works either, and never really cared considering that the NBA draft is all of two rounds.
So, what is your level of interest in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers?