Four months later… The Islanders’ camp roster included seven players who were (at least technically) with Bridgeport when the world shut down: Christopher Gibson, Jakub Skarek, Sebastian Aho, Thomas Hickey, Grant Hutton, Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom. (Otto Koivula was up at the time.) They were on the ice on the Island today. (Well, most of them, and the league isn’t going to be divulging much of anything but “unfit to play” the rest of the way.) Actual skating with actual reporters in the stands. It was fun but sorta bittersweet following them from afar. Less than three weeks to the playoffs, maybe.
Meanwhile, at long last, 2014 draft pick Ilya Sorokin has signed with the Big Club, his agent tweeted. If you’ve not followed the saga, it’s a little confusing: He has signed for this year — a one-year, entry-level contract that, since the regular season is over, will pay him no money — but he can’t play in these playoffs. “But,” you cry, “draft picks have always been eligible to play in the playoffs; they were on the reserve list!” Exactly. The NHL said stuff about “ringers” (stud Minnesota prospect Kirill Kaprizov and Montreal’s Alexander Romanov are in similar boats for these playoffs), and reports said the league used those guys as a bit of a bargaining chip in settling return-to-play guidelines and extending the CBA last week. Ultimately, the league allowed those players to sign for this year but not play. In Sorokin’s case, one year is enough to get him out of the entry-level system entirely and provides them a chance to negotiate a larger and longer contract for the future. Edit: Well, they’ve got him an extension at the very least: The Islanders announced a one-year extension for Sorokin on Tuesday morning, locking him up for next season.
Elsewhere, tip of cap to Wayne Dean, retiring from Yale.