Friday, January 18, 2013

Wasting their time

Ryan Strome (Niagara IceDogs)
Oh boy here is how I make friends and become popular among the New York Islander faithful. What a surprise the Islanders are sending back to their junior teams Ryan Strome (2011 1st Niagara OHL) and Griffin Reinhart (2012 1st Edmonton WHL) after less than a week at the Islander's training camp.

Why bother bringing them at all? Please spare me the "they can see how it is done at the NHL level" nonsense because in order to do that they need to get them some game experience. Both Strome and Reinhart played for Canada at the recently completed World Under-20 Championships in Russia.

They returned back long enough to play 1 game with their junior team before heading to the Islander's camp. They may be teenagers but too much travel can wear them down just like any adult.

Sorry Islander fans but when I see the amount of young top level talent and I see how their development is so screwed up it frustrates me. The biggest mistake the Islanders made in the last decade was allowing Gordie Clark to walk and sign with the Rangers.

Seriously Trent Klatt is the head scout and shares player development duties with Eric Cairns. Sorry folks that doesn't cut at all as neither have the kind of background to handle player development.

Need proof? Hello Nino Niederreiter as his is a textbook case as to how to damage a prospect's development. Please spare me the "well if they had been able to send him to the AHL" excuse because it is bogus.

This "they have to be in the top 6" or else stuff is another weak excuse. You want to turn a prospect into a contributing player then you wean him into the NHL. Yes he starts on the 4th line getting spotted minutes but you can move him up and down the ladder during a game to see what he is learning.

You increase (or decrease) the amount of time as well as his responsibilities as time goes on. It is just like sending him to school as he works his way up to graduation and if done right then he is "Top 6" ready.

One of the reasons why the Detroit Red Wings remain in serious consideration for the Stanley Cup every year is because they take a veteran player and turn him into a mentor/teacher for their younger players.

For years like him or not but Brett Hull was the Red Wing's mentor and he did a great job helping younger players develop and in return those same younger players helped Hull remain a productive player himself.

Nino did not need to return to Portland in 2010-2011 as the Islanders weren't going anywhere so why not use to the time to develop Nino? 2011-2012, all I kept hearing was "if they could have sent Nino to the AHL." But the reality is that the Islanders knew they had to keep Nino and yet they could never figure out how to develop him.

That falls right in the lap of Garth Snow, Klatt, Cairns and the rest of the Islander staff. Ranger fans will tell you how John Davidson opened his home to a young Dan Blackburn to help Blackburn make the transition to the NHL.

Why can't the Islander's Doug Weight do the same thing for Ryan Strome? Instead Strome will go back to a Niagara team that wanted to rebuild but couldn't because the uncertainty of Strome's status.

The IceDogs could have sent Strome to a top OHL contender and begun their own rebuilding. Instead they will have a decent run but won't win an OHL cup and eventually Strome will wind up in Bridgeport on an ATO.

Reinhart on the other hand everyone knew he wasn't NHL ready so leave him in Edmonton where he and his returning teammates are on a mission to repeat as WHL Champions. Reinhart sits there and watches the Islanders claim 2 defensemen off waivers, await the arrival of Lubomir "Please Don't Make Me Play There" Visnovsky, and pack his bags to return back to Edmonton.

What a waste of a prospect's time and development as it makes you wonder if this mini-season's goal is to win the "Seth Jones/Nate MacKinnon" sweepstakes. Don't let anyone fool you but nothing would make Gary Bettman any happier if Seth Jones was a New York Islander when they make the move to Brooklyn.

Shades of Patrick Ewing becoming a New York Knick huh there Commissioner?

Game Action

Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) did a little of everything for his Guelph Storm as they took on Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) and his Peterborough Petes. Pedan scored a goal, assisted on another and took a penalty that led to a goal for the Petes.

Still Pedan's Storm walked away with a 5-3 win which was not as close as the score says. Pedan earned the game's "2nd star" by scoring a shorthanded goal (breaking a 13 game goalless streak) which gave the Storm a 3-0 lead after 1 period.

Pedan earned a secondary assist on the Storm's 4th goal and then took a hooking penalty in the 3rd period which the Petes cashed in for their 2nd goal. Pedan finished the night 1-1-2 to give him a 10-18-28 stat and his minor for hooking was his 94th and 95th penalty minutes of the season giving Pedan the lead in the OHL.

As for Ceresnak what can you say other than you feel really bad for him as he wound up a scoreless on a -3 and a minor for interference in the 2nd period that led to the Storm's 4th goal.

2 teams going in totally opposite directions as it was the Storm's 3rd straight win and the Pete's 3rd straight game without a win.

In Red Deer, Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) and his Edmonton Oil Kings took one on the chin from the Red Deer Rebels 4-1. A 3 goal 3rd period was the downfall for the Oil Kings who missed out on a chance to extend their lead in the WHL's Eastern Conference.

St. Croix I am sure would rather me not point out that he is goalless now in 8 straight games with just 1 assist in that same time period. When I talked with Gordie Clark Tuesday (yes shameless namedropping I know) I point out a great defensive play St. Croix had made last week where he broke up a 3 on 1.

I won't be sending Clark any video of St. Croix from this game as he was scoreless and a -2. If St. Croix had gotten to attend a Ranger training camp then I would have said he was the annual Ranger draft pick suffering from a case of post-camp blues.

Every year one top Ranger draft pick will suffer this somewhat frustrating disease (last year it was Christian Thomas) as there is no cure for it.

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