NY Islanders News

Islander Player Reviews, #1, Mikko Koskinen

By John Panarese

One of the six different goaltenders the Isles had between the pipes, Koskinen saw 4 games started after being recalled from Bridgeport because of injuries to Rick DiPietro and Nathan Lawson. It probably was not a situation in which the Isles would have wanted to give the big Finn his first NHL action, but circumstances dictated that it became necessary.

Koskinen ended up with a 2-1 record and a 4.33 GAA in his NHL action. I recall his first start as being a bit shaky and a few quick goals being given up within the early stages of the first period. In fact, I can remember thinking that Mikko wasn’t really ready for NHL action at that point, and that the Islanders might have been in a bit of trouble with their goaltending at that point.

However, Koskinen settled in and played well enough over his brief time up with the Islanders. Like Kevin Poulin, Nathan Lawson and Al Montoya, considering the situation, Koskinen did a reasonable enough job and answered the call when he was needed. Unfortunately, though, at the time, it was pretty clear that he was not quite ready for the NHL as a starter, so he ended up being returned to the Port after his 4 games in net.

I would have to say that Mikko earned a B- as my grade. In fairness to him, it is really hard to grade a player accurately when he saw so little time, and he was really thrust into the fire with little preparation. His GAA was certainly high, but to me, Koskinen seemed to settle in and get better the more he played. I think, in fact, he would have managed to be a stable presence in net for the Islanders if he had needed to be used in the long term.

Fortunately for the Islanders, with DiPietro, Montoya and Poulin, they do have a bit of depth going into next season for their net minders. I think this is a good thing for Koskinen, as he will still need time to adjust to the North American play. At 6′ 5, though, there is certainly a lot of potential there to be developed. I think it will prove to be interesting to see how Mikko comes along as the 2011-12 season progresses. I would expect him to start in Bridgeport, unless DiPietro is not ready to go and Koskinen makes a very strong showing in training camp to earn a spot with the “big club”.

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