With just about two weeks to go before the start of NHL training camps, the New York Islanders seemed poised and ready for a possible repeat run to the playoffs. Sure, the Islanders roster looks like it will be set to go for this regular season, but there are still some holes that need filling. As it sits right now, the Islanders have plenty of young, hungry prospects, who are ready to get their chance to make the team and be on the roster, come opening night. Two in particular stand out as having the best chances, to me at least, of making the Islanders lineup: Ryan Strome and Griffin Reinhart. Don’t get me wrong, there will be plenty of talented prospects trying to make the Islanders’ team, but Strome and Reinhart look to have the best odds.
Strome impressed quite a few people during the 10 games he played in Bridgeport in the AHL a year ago, scoring two goals and seven points. Those numbers put up in the minors last year were done while Strome was playing right wing, not his natural position of center. Having Strome switch positions will probably give him a leg up on cracking the Islanders’ lineup, considering how little depth there is, scoring wise, from the right wing position. Moving Strome could be a long term solution to help out John Tavares, as the Islanders have been in desperate need of finding the right guy to play on Tavares’ right side. That’s something that the Islanders have been looking to solve the last few years, and it seems Strome could be the answer. All of this success for Strome is coming off producing a 94-point campaign down in Juniors, so it is evident that the transition to the pro game was an easy one. If the success Strome had at the end of last season can carry over, he will do just fine and make this team.
As far as Reinhart goes, he doesn’t quite have the experience at the pro level as Strome, but the need might still be there for him to make the team. The Islanders lost their best puck moving defenseman, Mark Streit, during the summer. Sure, Lubomir Visnovsky can pick up some of the slack, but there still needs to be good puck movement from the back end. With his skill set, Reinhart can be that type of player. The only question I really have about Reinhart is his age. I know he’s 19 and all, but does he have enough maturity to be ready for the big leagues? That all depends on his mentality, but as of right now, all signs are pointing to yes, he will be in the big leagues this season.
What remains to be seen, is how well they play once camp starts in two weeks. I have a feeling both Strome and Reinhart will be on Long Island at the start of the year.
What do you think?