On Saturday morning, Cole Bardreau was taking morning skate with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. By Saturday night, he was making his NHL debut for the New York Islanders in Columbus, filling in for a sick Leo Komarov.
Life comes at you fast.
It was a whirlwind day for the 26-year-old rookie, who didn't even have time to pack and had to borrow a blazer from a Bridgeport trainer, but it was a memorable one. If you don't know much about Bardreau, we've got you covered in this edition of 7 Facts.
1. HE WAITED A LONG TIME FOR HIS NHL DEBUT:
Bardreau is 26-years-old, so a little more senior than your average NHL rookie. He played 230 AHL games over six seasons, five with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and part of one with the Sound Tigers. He's got 98 career AHL points (41G, 57A) on his resume.
2. HE WENT UNDRAFTED AND PLAYED IN THE FLYERS SYSTEM:
Bardreau went undrafted, but signed with the Philadelphia Flyers as a college free agent in 2015. He immediately went to Lehigh Valley and played there for five seasons, serving as an alternate captain in 2016-17. He reached the 30-point plateau twice in 2015-16 and 2017-18. He signed with the Islanders on July 2 and started the season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
3. HE PLAYED FOUR YEARS AT CORNELL:
Bardreau is an Ivy League man, playing four years for Cornell from 2011-15. Bardreau recorded 53 points (18G, 35A) in 103 NCAA games. He served as an alternate captain for the Big Red in 2013-14.
Bardreau had a career-year in 2014-15, leading Cornell with 22 points (7G, 15A) in 30 games, winning the ECAC's Best Defensive Forward award, while being named to the ECAC's Third All-Star Team and the All-Ivy League First Team.
He studied Applied Economics and Management at Cornell.
4. HE WAS NEARLY PARALYZED DURING A GAME:
Bardreau suffered a C-7 fracture in his neck after being hit head-first into the boards during his sophomore season with Cornell. Bardreau didn't know the extent of the injury - the vertebrae was cracked in two places - and finished the game, not knowing how close he'd come to being paralyzed. He spent three months in a stiff neck brace following his surgery, but made a full recovery.
Read more about his injury and the recovery here.
5. HE WON A GOLD MEDAL AT THE 2013 WORLD JUNIORS:
Bardreau won a gold medal at the 2013 World Juniors with Team USA. Bardreau was an alternate captain on a loaded team that included: Johnny Gaudreau, Seth Jones, Vincent Trochek, Shayne Gostisbehere, Jacob Trouba and John Gibson. Bardreau had three points (1G, 2A) in seven games.
Bardreau won a gold medal at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge in 2010 and a gold at the U-18 World Juniors in 2011.
6. HIS TALE OF THE TAPE:
The 26-year-old is 5'11, 182 lbs., shoots right, plays center and is from Fairport, NY. He's the first New York State native since Stephen Gionta to play for the Islanders in 2018-19. He spent two seasons in the US National Team Development Program from 2009-11.
7. HE WORE 34 IN HIS NHL DEBUT:
Bardreau wore 34 in his NHL debut. He becomes the first Islander to wear the number since goalie Yann Danis in 2008-09. Bardreau wore 51 in preseason action with the Isles, 21 in Bridgeport nine in Lehigh Valley and 22 at Cornell.