Turns out those fears of HV71 have been realized: The Islanders have signed big winger David Ullström from Sweden with a three-year entry level deal. He has told his hometown fans via jnytt.se [Google Translate]: "It's a dream come true," and "It's hard to say no to an NHL contract." [Check another local article about it via Hans und Franz's FanShot, where it's noted a loan back to HV71 is out of the question.]
As we discussed last week, the new transfer agreement with Sweden meant the NHL club had to decide on the 2008 draft pick (4th round, #102) by this month or lose his rights and see him re-enter the draft. Because I like the idea of a 6'3" winger with good hands joining the fold, I'm happy to hear the Islanders believe in Ullström enough to give him the entry-level commitment. (I'm also happy to have cause to continue using umlauts at random intervals.)
Figure him to be in AHL Bridgeport in 2010-11, where he'll continue the tradition -- to my eyes, anyway -- of Nordic wingers like Sean Bergenheim, Jesse Joensuu and Robin Figren trying to make it big through the Islanders system. As those others have shown, making it all the way is no smooth path, but that's alright: Making the NHL isn't supposed to be easy.
This leaves Jared Spurgeon as the only one of those 13 Isles 2008 picks still due a decision (or rather, an announcement if signed). Four are in the NCAA and still have a couple years on their clock, while the rest have been signed to the required three-year entry level deal.
Anyone remember him in the 2009 WJC? Have any hopes or dreams?