The New York Islanders made two transactions this morning, activating second-line centre Frans Nielsen off injured reserve and returning rookie forward Mike Halmo to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The move was standard, as Halmo, the surprise call-up last week, fell to the numbers game currently on Long Island; however, the response to the move was positively unexpected. Isles fans were unhappy.
Some compared him to Michael Haley, who won fans’ hearts during the 2010-11 season, but with more potential to make an impact on the ice. There’s no wonder why, either. The second-year pro has brought the same fire to the Islanders that Haley did, throwing eight hits in first two NHL games, including a bone-crushing hit on Toronto Maple Leafs’ star Phil Kessel. The spark plug was noticeable every time he was on the ice, tossing his body and setting up scoring chances for an Islanders team that desperately needs them without John Tavares on the ice.
Mostly playing on the fourth-line, Halmo did see some time with Ryan Strome and Anders Lee, his AHL linemates. The line sustained offensive pressure in the team’s lackluster 6-1 defeat to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, a rare bright spot in the overall sixty-minute effort.
The negative reaction to his demotion is a positive result, though. A prospect that many hadn’t given two thoughts about before this weekend, Halmo has suddenly become a piece that fans see as a piece the team can use, giving more reason for optimism on the team’s future.
Halmo played only played two games with the Islanders before his “demotion,” but it’s safe to say that No. 43 has left his mark on the minds of this fanbase. When the trade smoke clears within the next week, expect Halmo to be skating with the big team once more.