Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Good Day for the Islander Prospects

It is always a nice thing when you are proven wrong and someone gets something good out of it. For New York Islander fans Wednesday was a pretty good day for their prospects as 2 were named to Team Canada's entry to the World Under-20 Championships, one had a super strong game and another returned to action with his own strong game.

Calvin De Haan (2009 1st) we knew was a lock to make Team Canada as 1 of only 3 returning players to their roster for the 2011 tournament.  De Haan is going to be one of the leaders for Team Canada as well as playing a Top 4 role on their blueline.

The surprise came when Casey Cizikas (2009 4th) was named to the Canadian roster as we were pretty sure for political reasons he would have been cut since the head of Team Canada is Dave Cameron who also coaches Cizikas in Mississauga. Glad to be wrong because Cizikas has won our respect and admiration with his strong 2 way game as well as his "never quit" work ethic.

Cizikas is going to give Canada a blue collar worker who will also chip in on the offensive end.

WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20: Nino Niederreiter #22 of Team Orr waits for a pass in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Cherry on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Nino Niederreiter (2010 1st) made sure we remembered why he was the 5th pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by dominating the Kamloops Blazers with a 2 goal, 1 assist +2 evening to help his Portland Winterhawks to a 5-4 win.

Niederreiter who is leaving to join the Swiss National Junior team for the World Under-20 Championships earned the game's first star because of his 3 point effort. Niederreiter is 13-13-26 in 23 games sometimes gets judged harder because of his draft status (we are guilty of it ourselves) as more it seems is expected from a player who is just 18.

Against the Blazers, Nino got going when he earned a secondary assist on Oliver Gabriel's goal which was also Portland's first goal of the game after Kamloops had jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Niederreiter then tied the game at 19:01 of the 1st with his 12th goal of the season.

In the second period, Gabriel returned the favor when he setup Nino's 2nd goal of the game at 8:45 as it gave Portland a 4-3 lead. The winning goal was scored by the newest Swiss sensation Sven Bartchi who is 21-26-47 in 36 games.

If you do not project Bartschi as a first round pick you are making a huge mistake. Bartschi has failed to score in just 5 of the 36 games played and has yet to go back to back games without a point. If you wonder why we see Switzerland as a legit WJC medal contender, Bartschi and Niederreiter are 2 huge reasons why.
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Kirill Kabanov, drafted in the third round by the New York Islanders, poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Kirill Kabanov (2010 3rd) returned to the Lewiston MAINEaic's lineup Wednesday night after being out a couple of weeks due to an "upper body" injury. Against the Prince Edward Island Rocket, Kabanov according to accounts played a good game even if he did not put up any points.

Still one has to like that Kabanov recorded 2 hits for the game which is something many are not use to seeing out of him. If the Lewiston management and coaching staff have found a way to help Kabanov change his reputation then Garth Snow's gamble of a pick could be hitting the jackpot.

Whether you like Kabanov the person or not, this is a world class talent with all the tools you want from a superstar. Getting him for just a 3 round draft pick will greatly improve the Islanders as a franchise.

On the New York Ranger side, the news can not be that good for goalie Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) as his Owen Sound Attack did not wait to see what the time table for his return would be as the Attack traded for a goalie in Michael Zador.

"The latter, New York Rangers pick Scott Stajcer is out until late next month (at least) to have "surgery to repair his lower-body injury," so Owen Sound had to shore up its netminding."

We quoted the entire passage because that was how the Attack explained the trade. Somehow trading for another 19 year old goalie when you already have the goalie who earned the top ranking by the NHL's Central Scouting makes you wonder if Stajcer is actually only going to be out "until next month"

They (the Attack) have not been consistent in what they have been saying about the injury and one has to wonder why they waited so long. The Rangers are not at fault here as our belief is the Rangers if asked would have been very quick to bring him to NYC and have their doctors look him over.

Instead they waited and Stajcer missed 10 games before even scheduling the surgery which hurts his chances at earning an NHL contract. We have been told that the Rangers were consulted on the surgery but it will be performed by the Toronto Maple Leaf physicans.

Nothing against them but history has shown repeatedly that the Rangers never take chances with their draft picks, choosing to error on the side of caution bring the prospect in at THEIR EXPENSE and if need be have any work done at no cost to the prospect.

Sorry if we are a bit frustrated but Stajcer was having a good season and is missing more time than he should have.

(Cizikas and Stajcer/Aaron Bell/OHL Images, Kabanov/NHL Media/Getty Images)

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