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Back in Bridgeport

by Travis Betts / New York Islanders
Travis Hamonic began his pro career with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2010 (Photo: Rich Stieglitz)

The Islanders made a number of roster moves Friday to accommodate the possible work stoppage that may come into effect Saturday, Sept. 15 at midnight if the NHL and NHLPA are unable to come to terms on a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Nineteen players on two-way contracts were assigned to the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, including 2011-12 roster fixtures Travis Hamonic and Nino Niederreiter. Five other players, Sean Backman, Ty Wishart, Matt Watkins, Nathan McIver and Colin McDonald, were placed on waivers at Friday’s noon deadline; due to their age and professional experience, those players need to clear waivers before they can be assigned to the Sound Tigers.

Finally, the Islanders assigned 2012 first-round draft pick Griffin Reinhart back to his junior club, the Edmonton Oil Kings and 2011 first-round pick Ryan Strome back to his junior club, the Niagara IceDogs.

The 22-year-old Hamonic began his professional career in 2010-11 with the Sound Tigers, but was called up to the Islanders after 19 games. Although Hamonic’s last 135 games have come at the NHL level, he is looking at the situation as a chance to continue playing and build upon his leadership qualities with the organization.

Niederreiter is coming off a rookie season with the Islanders in which he struggled at times, scoring one goal in 55 contests. Before this season, he was ineligible for AHL duty because of age restrictions. In 2010-11, too young for AHL competition, Niederreiter followed a nine-game stint with the Islanders by playing the remainder of the season with his junior team, the Portland Winterhawks. Niederreiter just reached his 20th birthday, qualifying him for the first time to get extended work in Bridgeport.

Other players assigned to Bridgeport who saw NHL action last season include Casey Cizikas, Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness, Anders Nilsson, Kevin Poulin and David Ullstrom. They will continue developing within the Islanders system, beginning on September 28 when the Sound Tigers Training Camp is set to open.


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