Fred Brathwaite is the latest 1990s-era Oiler to come around the New York Islanders under head coach Doug Weight. The former Oilers (and Flames, and Blues and Thrashers, and Kazan and Mannheim too) goalie was spotted “observing and consulting” as the Islanders’ prospect mini camp opened Tuesday. That’s from Newsday’s Arthur Staple, who will check whether there is a longer-term role in the cards.
Staple also noted the presence of Kelly Buchberger, a former Oilers teammate of Weight, Brathwaite and new assistant coach Luke Richardson, reporting that Buchberger’s long-rumored appointment will be officially announced later this week. And as Staple previously reported, Greg Cronin is still with the team as an associate coach, an “important staffer” for Weight.
Combine all of those with Scott Gomez and you have a lot of former players and hockey minds in the fold. We’ll see how their roles shake out.
Tuesday is the first on-ice day of camp, with the roster of attendees separating into two groups and ice times in the morning, followed by media availability.
Some other updates follow from media on the scene:
Ho-Sang Excited for Camp, Eberle Acquisition
From the Isles, Josh Ho-Sang wants to pick up where he left off with his NHL callup last season, and be an example at camp: “I want to be one of the best players at camp. For me it's about coming in and being an exceptional player on both sides of the puck."
And from Christian Arnold, Ho-Sang loves the acquisition of Jordan Eberle, a “top line right wing” in the league:
#Isles Ho-Sang on Eberle: It’s nice to have someone who’s the same handedness as you cause you can really talk to them."— Christian Arnold (@C_Arnold01) June 27, 2017
Eberle was acquired for fellow righty Ryan Strome, but we catch your drift.
Soderstrom: A Bit Excited
Linus Soderstrom, the Islanders’ top goalie prospect out of Sweden, sounds like Eric Stratton, rush chairman, damn glad to meet you:
Bellows: One Year in Portland and Then...
The Islanders’ 2016 first-round pick Kieffer Bellows did not have a great freshman season at Boston University, and this spring he announced his departure from BU to play for Portland of the WHL.
And then, he wants to make the leap:
Kieffer Bellows says he plans on playing one season in Portland. Wants to play in NHL in 2018-19. #Isles— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) June 27, 2017
Bellows is attending his second prospect camp, and as the sophomores often do he feels more comfortable: "I have more experience now coming into my second year of camp and I've put some muscle on, but still stayed lean and fast."
Barzal’s Got the Lingo
Every young offensive talent learns the drill: Yes you can score but you won’t get those opportunities at the pro level unless you play two-way, are “hard to play against,” etc. Mathew Barzal speaks the cliched-but-true:
We’ll add more if anything interesting comes from the next group of skaters.
The Islanders haven’t been solidly linked to any of the free agents currently doing their talking in this week’s flirtation window — 38-year-old Andrei Markov is reportedly asking for $6 million per year! — so for now...prospect talk.