[THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS FROM OUR NEWEST CONTRIBUTOR, KEVIN KOPF. ENJOY. HAVE A GOOD EVENING, ISLES COUNTRY!]
NEW YORK, NY–Anders Nilsson may very well be the answer in goal for the New York Islanders. But how soon? How so?
The 23-year old former Lulea HF starter played 21 games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this season, tallying up 4 penalty minutes and finishing with a record of 8-11-0.
For Nilsson, this past season marked a big step forward in gaining entrance into the NHL.
And chances are strong that he’ll most likely be the starter for Bridgeport for the upcoming 2013-2014 season, unless the Islanders acquire Mike Smith from Phoenix, Roberto Luongo from Vancouver, or Jonathan Bernier from Los Angeles, which would most likely make Poulin the odd man out and see his return to Connecticut.
Assuming the aforementioned trade scenario doesn’t happen, or if Evgeni Nabokov does leave, Anders Nilsson will remain Bridgeport’s goaltender.
Nevertheless, this much is true: the big man from Sweden will see his first significant North American trial run rather soon, so as to determine if his NHL future is tied with the Islanders.
Important fact about Anders Nilsson: his former mentor and instructor is the same man oversaw Henrik Lundqvist‘s pre-NHL development. In one interview, he was quoted saying that Anders had the potential to be the same or even better as Lundqvist.
We all know what you’re thinking. Things change and that may not be exactly on par.
Nothing changes the fact that he’s touted as having some serious potential among goalie prospects coming into the NHL, opening up a new opportunity for the Islanders franchise, coupled with the belief that they could have found a diamond in the rough.
[For more on the Swedish goalie invasion, see Justin Goldman's article via thegoalieguld.com.]
Being drafted 62nd overall in 2009, time is ticking away, but his legend is far from over and his story is just beginning.
The Islander faithful must also trust in Garth Snow. He hasn’t had a large draft pick blunder in a fair amount of time and has built the team we have grown to love today.
-Kevin Kopf, @kevinakopf