Islanders: Otto Koivula needed to be sent back to AHL

Otto Koivula #21 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Otto Koivula #21 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Islanders Otto Koivla was sent back to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers today. He has to be glad to go back because he can use the playing time.

After a six-game stint in the NHL with the New York Islanders former fourth-round pick in 2016 Otto Koivula has been sent back to the AHL. I’m sure he’s not exactly pleased with going down to the AHL, but at a certain level, he must be content.

Every player wants to be in the NHL. They want to play against the best players in the biggest settings. Sometimes, it’s just not their time yet. That’s the case for Koivula.

More Playing Time

With the Islanders, Koivula wasn’t exactly getting a ton of playing time. He was originally called up by the Isles on October 30th. From there he bounced up and down from the NHL to the AHL before getting his first taste of the NHL on November 16 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

From November 16 to today, December 6, Koivula played in six games for the Islanders. Six games from a possible ten. And it’s not like he was getting much playing time when he actually hit the ice.

Here’s his ice time for his six starts:

Against Detroit, Koivula didn’t hit the ice again after coming out of the box from serving a two-minute minor for an offensive zone tripping penalty four minutes into the period.

Koivula had an exciting 2018-19 season in the AHL. He was taking his first strides in North America as a professional hockey player when he put up 46 points in 69 games for the Sound Tigers. Everyone was excited for what he could do when he got to the NHL.

But at the NHL level, Barry Trotz wasn’t ready to play him more than a handful of minutes. Koivula clearly isn’t ready for the NHL, yet. Going back to the AHL is the best for him.

There he can eat up a ton of minutes in different situations and, more importantly, where he can grow as a player.

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Koivula will be back. He needed to be sent down. Being sent down is for the best and I’m sure the young man sees that. He’ll take the lessons he was given in the NHL apply then and become better.