It's the time of year when NHL clubs and their AHL affiliates bring in attached and unattached players from the college ranks. While the New York Islanders haven't signed any of their attached (ie: drafted) college players they've brought in two guys on ATOs (AHL tryouts).
On April 12 they brought in the first player; Koby Bender. Bender spent his entire college career playing for Minnesota-Duluth, winning two national championship titles (as a freshman and a sophomore). His best year was his senior year when the forward put up 20 points in 28 games.
This past year, Koby's fifth in the NCAA, he scored 26 points in 42 games. That's certainly more total points but from a points-per-game perspective, his fourth year was much better.
New York Islanders AHL affiliate sign two players to ATOs
What's Bender's ceiling? Probably a middle-six AHLer. Bender is a hard-working forward that can play a solid defensive game.
The second player brought in was done on Monday. The Bridgeport Islanders signed Jimmy Lambert to an ATO. If that last name sounds familiar it's for a good reason. Lambert is related to Islanders associate coach Lane Lambert. Lane is Jimmy's uncle.
Jimmy Lambert is a 25-year-old forward who spent four years with a talented University of Michigan program. His best season, from a points-per-game perspective, was in his freshman year with four goals and 13 points in 31 games. Lambert's production plateaued from there.
Ceiling? Probably similar to Bender's middle-six forward.
An interesting wrinkle that might not actually mean anything is not only Lambert's familial relation to Isles bench boss Lane Lambert, but Jimmy's cousin is 2022 draft-eligible Brad Lambert.
Lambert was once seen as a lock for the top three at the draft, but the winger who's playing in Finland has seen his stock fall this year. Not as far as Aatu Räty's stock fell in 2021, but enough where Lambert could very well be there on the board when the Islanders step up to the podium.
Does this tip the Isles plan in a way when it comes to the draft? We'll see in a few months but making things comfortable is always welcomed.