Islanders prospect update: Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2021 season begins

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: Samuel Bolduc poses after being selected 57th overall by the New York Islanders during the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: Samuel Bolduc poses after being selected 57th overall by the New York Islanders during the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /

The AHL season has officially begun and the New York Islanders affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers have completed two games. Both were losses.

Much like the NHL, the AHL will have a shortened schedule. The Sound Tigers will play 24 games against the same two opponents. They’ll play the Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers) 12 times each.

While the Sound Tigers are 0-2-0-0 on the season so far, there’s a lot to look forward to. There are a number of prospects playing important roles and performing well. So the focus this week will be on some of those players for Bridgeport.

New York Islanders prospects in the AHL

It’s only been two games, so I’ll try not to be too hyperbolic with some of the notes on these players. It’s early and things can change but here’s what I’ve seen so far from a few of the Isles prospects at the AHL level:

Noteworthy AHL Performers

Samuel Bolduc
Season stats: 1G, 3SOG

So far so good from the big man. Since being drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft, Bolduc has continued to impress the Islanders. He’s a big kid who can skate exceptionally well for someone of his size, can play a good transition game, and can add offense.

When I spoke to his former coach Bruce Richardson, he told me that Bolduc has a hell of a shot. We saw just how good his shot is this weekend when he popped in his first pro goal with this blast from the point.

Simon Holmstrom
Season stats: 1A, 2SOG

It’s a shame that time-of-ice data isn’t available at the AHL level. At least not publicly. Because I think TOI would show just how important Holmstrom is to the Sound Tigers.

He started the year on the top line with Tanner Fritz and was on the second line for game two. He’s also received power-play time as well as time on the penalty kill. Remember, he’s still one of the younger pros in the league. He only turns 20 on May 24th.

With that type of usage, we should see a much better year statistically from Holmstrom this season. But at the very least, he’s going to level up his development come year-end.

Bode Wilde
Season stats: -1

Wilde wasn’t on the ice for the Sound Tigers’ first game. Thompson opted to see what Ryan MacKinnon had instead of using Wilde. That changed for game two. Wilde stepped in and looked alright, not great, but alright.

I thought he looked a bit too passive in possession. I’d like to see him take charge a bit more. But that could be Brent Thompson trying to reign in Wilde a bit to have him learn the system first. Almost like what Trtoz did with Nick Leddy in his first year behind the bench.

Quick Updates

William Dufour (Voltigeurs)
Season stats: 16GP, 12G, 9A, 21pts

He can’t stop scoring. Last week, Dufour ended an eight-game point streak where he had eight goals and four helpers that already had me ranting and raving about the kid. Well, he’s at it again.

Since last week’s post, he’s on a new four-game point streak with goals in all four games and another two helpers. Putting his total on the year at 12 goals and 21 points in 16 games. Incredible.

He’s seventh in the league for goals already. At this rate, he’ll easily climb up the standings to finish in the top four. He’s quickly outgrowing the QMJHL, but he won’t be eligible for the AHL next year. Interesting decisions ahead for the Islanders.

Ruslan Iskhakov (TPS)
Season stats: 26GP, 3G, 13A, 16pts

Sixteen points in 26 games is a good return, but that’s considering a cold start that saw him sit in the press box for a few games.

Since the end of November, Iskhakov has nine points over ten games. It seems that he’s started to figure out in Finland. If this continues he might find his way to the AHL in 2021-22.

Henrik Tikkanen (KalPa)
Season stats:
Mestis – 9GP, 2.55GAA, 0.901SV%
Liiga – 2GP, 2.04GAA, 0.917SV%

It’s been one heck of a start to his career in the top Finnish league. In two games Islanders 7th round pick in 2020 holds a 1-1-0 record with an average 2.04GAA and 0.917SV%.

He got a win in his first game with KalPa which is something that hasn’t been done for 31 years. The last goalie to do that for KalPa was Passi Kuivalainen on December 3, 1989.

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Here’s the rest of the prospect pool for the Islanders:

Robin Salo (Orebro): 39GP, 5G, 20A, 25pts, 21:39 ATOI
Collin Adams (UND):  18GP, 6G, 11A, 17pts
Christian Krygier (Michigan State): 18GP, 1G, 2A, 3pts
Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist): 47GP, 12G, 15A, 27pts
Jacob Pivonka (Notre Dame): 20GP, 1G, 3A, 4pts
Ben Mirageas (Providence): 18GP, 1G, 8A, 9pts
Logan Cockerill (Boston University): 4GP, 4G
Reece Newkirk (Melville Millionaires): 6GP, 4G, 8A, 12pts
Alex Jefferies (Merrimack College): 11GP, 4G, 6A, 10pts
Matias Rajaniemi (Pelicans): 28GP, 1G, 5A, 6pts, 14:49ATOI
Alexander Ljungkrantz (Brynas): 9GP, 6G, 3A, 9pts (Div 1),16GP, 8G, 7A, 15pts (J20), 13GP, 0pts, 1:55ATOI (SHL),