The NY Islanders are heading into their final pre-season game tonight, trimming their roster to 24 players earlier today. There were no surprises in who remains, with nine players immediately reporting to Bridgeport and ten who must clear waivers before joining the AHL club.
Some of the Isles' top prospects, William Dufour and Matthew Maggio will continue to grow their game in the AHL in hopes of joining the team should there be any injuries.
"I think there's been some great development there," said Lane Lambert about the performance the younger players put on in camp. "We saw a lot of good stuff out of those guys."
Calle Odelius, who has stated the plan is for his to return to Sweden for another year, was among the names loaned to Bridgeport, as there's a possibility he could remain in North America this season.
Most of the ten sent to Bridgeport have little worry of being claimed by noon tomorrow, but Arnaud Durandeau and Robin Salo could be scooped up by a team willing to have either on their active NHL roster. Durandeau impressed at camp, often seeing time alongside Mat Barzal and Bo Horvat on the top line. Despite not registering a point in his four-game cameo last season, Durandeau's speed impressed as he's proven he has the wheels to keep up with NHL-caliber players.
Salo, 24, was a former second-round pick of the Islanders who hasn't made the best of his opportunities, failing to stick with the Islanders after earning the sixth defenseman spot to start last season. Salo's fallen in the pecking order and now is considered the eighth or ninth-best defenseman in the Islanders system.
At 24 players, the Isles remain one over the roster limit and the salary cap. Of the players who made this round of cuts, Simon Holmstrom or Ross Johnston seem to be the likely candidates to miss out on making the team out of camp. Holmstrom is waivers-exempt, meaning if the Islanders elect to send him down, he'll report directly to Bridgeport without passing through waivers. Johnston, who is owed $1.1M over the next three seasons, would have to clear waivers to remain with the organization. There may be a team in desperate need of a physical presence in their lineup willing to take on the remainder of his contract, which would take the Isles off the hook of any money owed to him.
With one more game tonight, players will have their final opportunities to present their cases to Lou Lamoriello and the coaching staff of why they deserve to be on the roster come opening night.