NILSSON MAKES THE JUMP TO THE ISLANDERS
The Islanders have signed right wing Robert Nilsson, the team's 2003 first round draft selection, to a three-year contract. Nilsson, selected 15th overall in the draft, will come to Long Island in time for the team's prospect camp that will be held on Sept. 10 and 11 at Islanders Iceworks in Syosset. He will also take part in the Islanders' training camp beginning Sept. 12 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
"Robert adds another offensive dimension for us," said Islanders general manager Mike Milbury. "I like our forwards a lot, but I would consider Robert -- even though he's just 20 years ago and still developing -- as gifted a playmaker as anyone on our team. He opened the eyes of a lot of people at the World Junior Championships. We have monitored his progress closely and feel Robert has the physical ability to make the jump right into the NHL."
The 6-1, 185-pound Nilsson was regarded as one of the top European forward prospects in his draft class. In 2002-03, he broke Swedish Elite League records set by NHL All-Stars Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund by tallying 21 points (8+13) in 41 games as a 17-year-old in the SEL. Nilsson is the son of former NHLer Kent Nilsson, who starred for Atlanta/Calgary, Minnesota and Edmonton.
"I feel I'm ready to test myself against the NHL, so I'm really excited about signing a contract, coming to Long Island and being part of the Islanders," said Nilsson. "I'm coming to camp with the goal of making the team. I know it will be a challenge, but I'm ready for it."
In 2004-05, Nilsson had two goals and four assists for six points in 23 games with Djurgardens of the SEL. Nilsson also spent time with Hammarby of the Swedish Tier-2 league and recorded four assists in seven contests.
At the 2005 World Junior Championships, Nilsson ranked second on Team Sweden with four points (1+3). In 2004, he led Sweden at the WJC by going 2-5-7.