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Rising Expectations

by Travis Betts / New York Islanders

Coming off a “prove it” year in the Western Hockey League, forward John Persson is primed to be an impact rookie for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2012-13.

The Ostersund, SWE native tallied 61 points in 2010-11 with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League leading into his draft year. While some may have seen his numbers as a product of playing with 2011 No. 1 overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Persson slipped to the fifth round, where the Islanders took him 125th overall – the winger put any doubts to rest with a team-leading 58 points (23 goals, 35 assists) in 2011-12 sans Nugent-Hopkins.

“I was a grinder, trying to get pucks to him,” Persson said of playing with Nugent-Hopkins. “Last year, when he was gone, I was relied on more for points. I was on the power play and on the half-boards instead of in front of the net. That was really good for my development.”

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