Reporting for Newsday, Arthur Staple says some camp changes are a comin':
After Sunday's game in Nashville, the Isles will divide up into NHL and AHL camps starting on Tuesday. Indications are only a few prospects will stay with the Islanders group [...] it appears Capuano will have a group that only includes 15 forwards, nine or 10 defensemen and two or three goaltenders once Tuesday comes.
I left out the names he mentioned (in part for this exercise, in part because well go click the source already). The question for you, the reader, is given the general parameters above (15 forwards, 10 defensemen), how would you divide up camp? (Note that goalie Parker Milner, signed to an AHL/ECHL deal, is already assigned to Bridgeport camp.)
Pick whomever you want. Even if you know deep in your heart Eric Boulton is staying in NHL camp and your pet prospect (Kirill Kabanov maybe?) is destined for AHL camp, you can still pick your own ideal world situation.
No more than 15 forwards. No more than 10 defensemen.
Keep in mind what you think needs evaluating over the next week (including a home preseason game against Nashville Friday), and also realize there is one more pair of split-squad games against the Senators where these rosters will likely be juggled to meet the eight-veteran minimum anyway.
Here's what I'd do:
Moulson - Tavares - Bouchard
Bailey - Nielsen - Okposo
Grabner - Regin - Strome
Martin - Cizikas - McDonald
Lee - Nelson - Sundstrom
IR: Clutterbuck; one-way omission: Boulton
Strait - Hamonic
Visnovsky - Hickey
Donovan - MacDonald
Reinhart - Carkner
de Haan - Martinek
Evgeni Nabokov and Anders Nilsson in goal ... then leave the rest for AHL camp. (Staple didn't mention goalies, so maybe you keep three and let Nilsson and Poulin continue to battle in front of one another?)
Notes of Realism and/or Resignation:
- Boulton is signed as that 13/14th forward and default enforcer, so he's surely staying in camp.
- Radek Martinek is on a PTO that I hope does not turn into another contract, but he's useful as an experienced partner to the prospect hopefuls they have in camp. However...
- ...this scenario means sending Ryan Pulock back to juniors if they're actually declaring the second group "Bridgeport camp." I wouldn't cry if he stayed a little longer.
- Johan Sundstrom probably needs the proverbial more AHL seasoning, but I like the idea of him, Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee all getting looks together in this setting to see who is closest and the best fit for a season-opening roster spot.
- If the Isles are going to ride Nabby hard, I'd rather Nilsson get reps in the AHL while Kevin Poulin resumes the bench-warming role. If they're serious about alleviating Nabby's workload, I have higher hopes for Nilsson at this point. That's acknowledging that all goalie prospect evaluation carries a degree of guessing and voodoo though, as well as the real possibility that neither Poulin nor Nilsson will end up panning out for the long term.
And you? Looking at the full camp roster, hat's your ideal setup going forward?