NY Islanders sign trio to AHL contracts to bolster Bridgeport lineup

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Jeff Vinnick/GettyImages

On Wednesday, the New York Islanders announced the signing of three players to American Hockey League (AHL) contracts. Forwards Justin Gill, Briant Pinho, and defenseman Wyatt Newpower will all skate for the Bridgeport Islanders next season.

Gill is the most intriguing name of the trio. The 21-year-old was a 2023 fifth-round pick (145th overall), scored 40 goals, and added 58 assists in 65 QMJHL games this season for Baie-Comeau Drakkar. He added 11 goals and 14 assists in 17 playoff games last season. Playing as one of QMJHL's oldest players, Gill leveraged his strong build to be an efficient scorer throughout his junior career. He'll now have to prove that success can carry over to the AHL, where he'll have to lean on his strong hockey sense and playmaking ability. A similar path has been taken by QMJHL standouts William Dufour and Matthew Maggio before making their Bridgeport debuts.

Pinho returns to Bridgeport after finishing second on the team with 34 points last season. The 29-year-old had nine goals and 25 assists in 72 games. He has now played nearly 300 AHL games with Bridgeport, the Utica Comets, and the Hershey Bears. Pinho does have some NHL experience, playing four games with the Washington Capitals, including two playoff games in 2020. The Caps drafted him in the sixth round (174th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

 Newpower is a UCONN hockey product named the Best Defensive Defenseman in 2020 for the Huskies. He also served as the team captain during the 2019-20 season. Last season with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL, he scored one goal and six assists in 34 games.