Things were so good in Islanders country for a while were they not? The team was winning (damned be last night) and confidence was raging through the team and locker room as well as the fanbase.
Nothing like a roster move to shake things up and throw #islestwitter into a tirade. Because sometimes things, I guess, are just too quiet.
Today it was announced that Ryan Strome, 2011 5th overall selection in the National Hockey League entry draft, would be going back to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. After a 15 game run with the big club, Strome put up a power play goal and three assists while taking 33 shots on goal.
Strome has loads of the skill that is required to succeed at the professional level. But perhaps it just was not his time to shine just yet. He was consistently losing battles for the puck along the boards and being pushed off it too easily by opposing defensemen. He failed to generate or create much in the way of offensive chances, although he did perform admirably when put on the top power play unit.
This is not a bad move by the team for a number of reasons. Strome’s development will not be harmed by this move, or will his confidence. This is not a repeat of the Nino Niederreiter situation. Secondly, the team cannot make roster moves during the upcoming Olympic break. It is imperative for Strome to continue playing and not sit back in Long Island on his PS3 (or 4 perhaps?). As reported by Arthur Staple of Newsday, NHL teams received a memo prior to the season stating that any player playing in more than 15 of the teams 20 games prior to the break would not be eligible to be sent down to the AHL.
The most curious reason however is that the team suddenly, and unexpectedly, had a need for an extra defenseman on the roster. Already carrying rookies Calvin de Haan and Matt Donovan, clearly they do not want to recall Aaron Ness and have 50% of their defense made up of first year players.
Hamonic left the game in Dallas on Sunday night after the second period with what the team originally called an ‘illness’. When it was changed after yesterday’s morning skate in Sunrise to an ‘upper body injury’ fears were being brought to the forefront that it could be concussion related. There is no doubt this would probably cripple the Islanders ability to stay even slightly alive in the playoff race.
At the end of the day, the demotion of Strome, temporary or not, is not a cause for over-reaction or calls once again to be renewed about Snow’s employment status. It was the right move at the right time for the individual and organization at present.
Ryan Strome might just be the most interesting hockey player in the world, but is not changing the Islanders 3.2% chance of making the playoffs either way. And those are just plain mathematical facts my friends.