The New York Islanders are mired in one of their worst losing streaks in recent history, as they have dropped ten games in a row and 15 of their last 17. To make matters worse, their once-potent offense has not managed more than two goals in any of their last eight contests. With things going so poorly, a change needed to be made and fortunately the Islanders were busy this week taking a step in the right direction. Underachieving forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard (four goals and nine points in 28 games) was waived and sent to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL, which cleared cap room for the team to recall 2011 first-round pick Ryan Strome. After earning Player of the Week honors in the AHL in back-to-back weeks, Strome will now finally get a chance to show he can have an impact at the NHL level.
For all of his scoring success in the OHL and AHL, the Islanders had previously held off on having Strome make the jump to the highest level. After scoring only eight goals in a 2009-10 OHL season split between the Barrie Colts and Niagara Ice Dogs, Strome exploded for 33 goals and 106 points the following season. He followed that up with a 30-goal effort in 2010-11, then scored 34 goals and collected 94 points in 2012-13 before joining the Sound Tigers for 10 games. He notched seven points during that stretch, and was leading Bridgeport with nine goals and 33 points when he was called up. Strome may not make it into the lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks, but he should soon be able to bring depth to a team in desperate need from scoring beyond what John Tavares and Thomas Vanek can provide. There’s a reason the Islanders drafted the 20-year-old center with the fifth overall pick, and now they’ll find out if the AHL’s leading scorer can help them turn things around.