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Kirill Kabanov, Brock Nelson and Travis Hamonic highlight the young New York islanders who will start the season with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers training camp opened Friday, Sept. 28, and really takes flight with a session open to the public at IceWorks Saturday morning. Here is a rundown of the training camp roster:
Brandon Defazio - He has the stench of (baby) Penguin on him, but he was brought in because he brings the grit and grit's essential accessory, sandpaper. Over 100 PIM last year.
Brett Gallant - Likewise, just don't mess with him. Or more precisely, don't mess with Kirill else you'll deal with Brett.
Mike Halmo - Yet another new Sound Tiger who brings the crazy, though he brings some of the talent too. Has a shot at being an NHL pest with some offensive chops. The Isles signed the undrafted free agent out of juniors earlier this year.
Kirill Kabanov - One of the prospects that will draw our attention until he earns the call to the NHL. His hype and circuitous path needs no introduction.
Max Mackay - A very late summer AHL signing, he's Jack Capuano's nephew. At age 21, this is his first pro contract after excelling in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League.
Brock Nelson - After a breakout sophomore year at North Dakota, Nelson made the big move from college to join the Sound Tigers at the end of last season. His initial AHL baptism showed he needs some work, but his pedigree means he's likely to learn quick.
Nino Niederreiter - His rookie years was nothing short of a nightmare: No luck on the ice, and two injuries that ruined his training camp, delayed his start to the season, and concussed him after his lone goal and highlight of the season. Now he gets to start over in the more appropriate arena of the AHL.
Of trivial note, he'll be wearing his preferred number which Mike Bossy's dominance shall prevent him from wearing with the big club.
John Persson - The standout at WHL Red Deer quickly impressed during his brief introduction at the end of last season.
Blair Riley - Don't mess with him either.
Johan Sundstrom - It was a big decision for Sundstrom to come over to North America now, but it's one he's not likely to regret. He possesses enough hockey IQ to make him a likely NHLer one day.
David Ullstrom - Ullstrom was on a scoring tear in the AHL last season, earning his NHL callup and everything was going fine until an almost fluke concussion along the half boards. Whenever the NHL resumes, he's likely to fight for a job immediately.
Matt Watkins - An addition from Portland, he has some offensive punch from the right side.
Marc Cantin - The salvage from the Brian Rolston - Mike Mottau trade with the Bruins last season, and thus already a hero in so many Islanders fans' eyes. He spent the majority of last season with the ECHL Reading Royals.
Calvin de Haan - One of three highly regarded Islanders blueline prospects kept in the AHL thanks to the lockout. He has the highest draft pedigree, but may not end up being the best of the three.
Matt Donovan - Like de Haan, he's fighting for an NHL job ... whenever the NHL bothers to play hockey again.
Travis Hamonic - He is a beast on an NHL blueline. In the AHL it's probably not even fair. Could be nice to have him influencing the other young guys though.
Jon Landry - One of last season's feel-good stories, Landry rose from the ECHL to a regular job with Bridgeport, earning him a contract for 2012-13.
Nathan McIver - A relative veteran, he was signed to a two-way contract which means he's a candidate for another return to the NHL on an emergency basis.
Aaron Ness - The AHL blueliner who saw the most NHL games last season (9), he makes four defensemen in Bridgeport who could easily be Islanders regulars one day.
Ty Wishart - And then there's Wishart, a first-round pick of San Jose once upon a time who has taken the long route to the NHL. Even if he's not a likely candidate to beat the others to the NHL, his role was significant for Bridgeport last season and will again be so this year.
Anders Nilsson - Thor fills a lot of net. He makes one of two promising goaltender prospects doing AHL time.
Kevin Poulin - He's the other, and as long as his knees show no relapse he's a strong candidate to be an NHLer himself.
Ken Reiter - An AHL signing out of Minnesota-Duluth. he's already 25.