The Bridgeport Sound Tigers were unceremoniously swept out of the AHL playoffs last night with a 6-4 loss in Toronto to the league-best Marlies. So while the Islanders' main affiliate analyzes and addresses a successful but short season, a group of players will be recalled to travel with the big club as long as they remain alive in the NHL playoffs.
It hasn't been announced by either club yet, but Arthur Staple of Newsday has the advanced notice which is just as good.
#Isles are bringing seven players up from BPT: Cliche, Florek, Dal Colle, Kearns, Mayfield, Wotherspoon, Gibson. Will meet team on LI.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) April 29, 2016
The big name here is one of the youngest: Michael Dal Colle, erstwhile first round draft pick and STUD WINGER OF THE FUTURE (maybe) will finally get the taste of the NHL he and everyone else figured he would have gotten after training camp last October. Dal Colle joined Bridgeport after a season split between Oshawa and Kingston, where he went bananas and scored a million goals in the second half of the season. Immediately after the Frontenacs were swept by Niagara in the second round of the OHL playoffs, Dal Colle went to the AHL. He had one assist in the Sound Tigers' three playoff games.
It's doubtful he'll get used by the Islanders in the NHL playoffs, much as we're dying to see what he can do. But he'll get even more valuable experience hanging around the pros in the second round of the playoffs, something no Islanders prospect has had since... oh, forget it.
Even younger than Dal Colle is defenseman Parker Wotherspoon, who was drafted in the fourth round last year. He joined the Sound Tigers after his Tri-City Americans missed the WHL playoffs. He had one assist in two AHL playoff games, and got into six regular season contests.
Bracken Kearns, and trade deadline addition Marc-Andre Cliche have the most NHL experience (33 and 151 games, respectively) of the group. Kearns led the Sound Tigers in scoring this season with 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists), while Cliche had two goals in Thursday's elimination game. Justin Florek played four games with the Bruins a few years ago.
Islanders fans are already familiar with Mayfield and Gibson. Mayfield got some
his first NHL games in last spring in the playoffs against the Capitals, and played his same no-nonsense game in six appearances this season. Gibson, you may recall, was in net when the Islanders beat Washington in overtime to clinch their playoff berth. He returned to the back-up role when J-F Berube was hurt and played two more games before going back to the AHL. He took the loss to the Marlies that ended Bridgeport's season.
The best news for all of us is we are now free to throw around the awesome phrase, "Black Aces" willy-nilly from here on out.