Goal scorer returns to Bridgeport
The Islanders have re-signed free agent forward Jeff Hamilton, who scored 43 goals for Bridgeport two seasons ago, and sent him to the Sound Tigers.
Hamilton helped lead the Sound Tigers to a strong playoff run while racking up some impressive individual achievements during his first stint with the team from 2002 through 2004. He also returns to the state where he has spent almost his entire playing career.
"I am thrilled Jeff is rejoining our team," said Sound Tigers head coach Dave Baseggio who, like Hamilton, played his collegiate hockey in Connecticut at Yale University. "He is an elite player in the AHL, and I truly believe he can play and thrive in the NHL under the new rules. He will get every opportunity to work hard and prove he can play in the NHL."
"I am very excited to be back in the US and to have re-signed with the Islanders," said Hamilton. "The positive direction the Sound Tigers are heading was a big part of my decision, and I am anxious to continue my development with the help of Dave Baseggio and his staff. As always, the Islanders have assembled a great group of guys in Bridgeport that will no doubt lead to success in the AHL this season."
Hamilton, 28, was an AHL All-Star two seasons ago when he led the Sound Tigers in scoring with 43 goals, 25 assists and 68 points in 67 games. He also made his NHL debut with the Islanders, appearing in one game the same year. During that 2003-04 season, Hamilton set Sound Tigers records for most goals in a season (43) and a career (65), most power-play goals in a season (20), most first goals in a season (13) and most shots on goal in a game (11) and in a season (295). He also set an AHL mark for most game-winning goals in a season with 15. Hamilton's 2003-04 accomplishments are made even more impressive by the fact that he missed 13 games with a serious eye injury.
In addition to his individual accomplishments, Hamilton was a big part of a pair franchise-record streaks in 2003-04 when the Sound Tigers went 20 games in a row without a loss (17-0-3 from October 25th through December 14th) and 22 straight games without a loss in regulation (18-0-3-1 from October 19th through December 14th). He also had three goals, three assists and six points during the 2003 Calder Cup Playoffs when the Sound Tigers upset the Manchester Monarchs in a three-game sweep before losing a hard-fought series in six games to the East Division Champion Binghamton Senators.
Hamilton has totaled 65 goals, 41 assists and 106 points in 134 career games as a Sound Tiger. He spent the 2001-02 season playing for Karpat in Finland and skated for Yale University from 1996 through 2001, also dealing with a severe abdominal injury that kept him out of the line-up for all but two games in 1999-2000.
Hamilton began this season playing for Kazan Ak-Bars in Russia, notching 16 penalty minutes in eight games. He had 23 goals, 29 assists and 52 points in 60 regular-season games, as well as four goals, three assists and seven points in six postseason contests with the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack last season.