Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
The New York Islanders went through some dramatic roster changes this summer and only time will tell what effect they have on the results of the 2016-17 season when activities in preparation for puck drop begin this week at Northwell Health Ice Center.
First up is rookie camp, with the youngster's first day on the ice coming Friday, September 16 in East Meadow. There has not been an official camp roster announced at this time, with Mathew Barzal, Michael Dal Colle, Joshua Ho-Sang, Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock the only five names so far made public.
With the KHL season now underway (it began August 22), do not expect Ilya Sorokin to be making an appearance as the wait continues for the 21-year-old who could be the Islanders goaltender of the future. He did attend the Islanders summer rookie camp and got his first look at the United States.
The rookies will conclude the camp on Wednesday, September 21 with a morning skate followed by a rookie game against the Philadelphia Flyers at 6pm ET. Tickets are available for a donation to the Islanders children's foundation with general admission seating.
On Friday, September 23, training camp will officially get underway and offer fans their first glimpse of Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera and a refreshed view of P.A Parenteau, back for a second stint.
While the consensus is that Ladd and Chimera will adequately replace long tenured, but now departed Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin, Frans Nielsen is another story. Nielsen's strong two-way game will not be replicated by Parenteau, who will be counted on to click again with captain John Tavares and provide offensive punch and power play success.
Instead, the responsibility of replacing Nielsen will likely fall to Casey Cizikas, who signed a contract extension over the summer that was a boon for the player's bank account but a widely seen risk by Islanders general manager Garth Snow. Coming off a career high 29 points, Cizikas should see his minutes per game increase by two and it will be interesting to see how he responds to not only tougher defensive assignments but increased scrutiny and pressure to live up to his $3.35 million cap hit.
With captain Tavares, Nikolay Kulemin, Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss away at the World Cup of Hockey, Stephen Gionta is being brought into camp on a tryout contract. What that means is that he gets no guarantee of an NHL, or even AHL, contract and receives only daily per-diem that is given to every player. What the 32-year-old can make of this opportunity remains to be seen, but he is thought to be a long shot at best to crack the opening night 23-man roster.
Ryan Strome remains the last unsigned player, and with the rule still in place that all who wish to play the regular season need to be signed and in camp, his agent has 10 days to work something out with Snow. Sources tell SNY that a deal should be worked out in time, with term being the last hurdle to getting a signature.