Cuts: With 18 Islanders Sent to Bridgeport, Few Decisions Remain

The signing of Marty Reasoner made the lineup tougher to crack for players like Micheal Haley.

The first and biggest round of Islanders cuts came Sunday morning without many surprises but likewise without finality for the opening night roster Oct. 8.

Among the intrigue: Tryout Jay Pandolfo remains, while Micheal Haley (who was curiously in a separate announcement) was among 18 assigned to Bridgeport.

The goaltending is as expected, with the three oldest goalies remaining. The defense is largely as expected, though Dylan "Injury Insurance" Reese is among the eight still in camp. At forwards is where, as expected, a battle of bottom-six forwards wages on. There are technically 17 left at forward, though a few juniors are likely still around just to soak up the NHL experience. Here's how everything stacks up as skating resumes Monday:

Injured Reserve: Rhett Rakshani, Jeremy Colliton, Mark Katic. Training camp injuries, all of them. Katic and Rakhshani are long-term, the length of Colliton's injury is less clear. None were likely to make the NHL squad anyway.

Forwards (17)

Matt Moulson John Tavares P.A. Parenteau
Michael Grabner Frans Nielsen Kyle Okposo
Blake Comeau Marty Reasoner Nino Niederreiter
Brian Rolston Josh Bailey Trevor Gillies
Jay Pandolfo Trevor Frischmon Kirill Kabanov
Matt Martin Ryan Strome

A few of those guys can or might move around -- Comeau was experimented at right wing (again), Kabanov shoots right but is often listed as a left wing. And of course Josh Bailey has played left wing while Brian Rolston has experience at center and both wings.

If you figure Strome and Kabanov are destined for reassignment, that cuts the list down to 15. To get it to 13 Pandolfo doesn't (yet) have a contract, Frischmon has cleared waivers and Martin or Gillies can be sent down. This week may be tinkering at the fringe and monitoring the progress of injuries.

As for Bridgeport, this means they get a nice collection of forwards who will vie for first callup, including Justin DiBenedetto, David Ullstrom, Tyler McNeely, Tim Wallace and promising young Casey Cizikas. I'm not sure if that qualifies for a strong AHL squad or not, but I hope it at least translates into strong injury insurance for the big club.

 

Defense (8)

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina
Dylan Reese - Mike Mottau

Well here's a nice sign: Hyped prospects Calvin De Haan, Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness are all headed to Bridgeport. There is no rushing involved. No immediate baptisms. With the nature of NHL bluelines, no doubt they'll get the opportunity as injuries happen, and if their AHL performance merits consideration.

Of course, Reese sticks out there a bit, but if the Islanders aren't carrying two extra defensemen (unlikely given the three-goalie monster), Reese's continued presence could be as simple as having even pairs for practice this week and insurance if someone comes down with a Jurcina bug.

 

Goaltending (3)

NHL: Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov, Al Montoya

AHL: Kevin Poulin, Anders Nilsson, Mikko Koskinen

That's how everyone I can think of has seen it shaking out all along. I suppose if someone made an offer they can't refuse for Nabokov or Montoya, the Isles would listen. But unless you're GM in Colorado, goalies don't command a good price on the trade market, and all three NHL goaltenders have question marks based on recent history. The crease triangle is likely to get more reps into the regular season.

Note for the commenting regulars: Some post-cut discussion also happening in last night's post-game thread and in this FanPost.

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