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Roster still to be trimmed by three

Islanders management have tough decisions to make within the next two days

Monday, 10.3.2011 / 5:55 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Roster still to be trimmed by three
With less than 48 hours until rosters have to be set for the 2011-12 season, Islanders management and coaching staff have some tough decisions ahead of them. Twenty-six active players remain on Long Island, so the team will need to cut three players by 3 p.m. on October 5, which is the time the league mandates all teams have their 23-man rosters finalized.

“There’s really no way around it,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said about making cuts. “They are all tough because kids come here with a dream to start the season with the Islanders. Just because there were transactions made, a lot can happen from now until Saturday night.”

The Islanders trimmed the roster by 19 players Sunday, assigning them to Bridgeport (Transactions). On Monday, forwards Nino Niederreiter and Trevor Gillies were placed on injured reserve retroactive to Sept. 30 and will be out seven to 10 days, but it sounds like Capuano is expecting to keep Niederreiter around.

Nino Niederreiter and Matt Taormina play for a loose puck along the boards during the first period of a preseason game at Nassau Coliseum on September 24, 2011. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images for New York Islanders)
“Nino was having a great camp,” Capuano said. “If he had continued on that pace that he was going to go, then obviously he would have been where he needed to be for opening night.”

Placing the forwards on injured reserve could give management a little extra time to evaluate a few remaining players.

“(General Manager) Garth (Snow) has always said if there is an option out there to go and make our team better, then we’ll look at it,” Capuano said. “I’m pretty happy with the guys that we do have. They work hard, but it will be tough in the next 48 hours.”

Veteran winger Jay Pandolfo, who is at camp on a tryout basis, and center Trevor Frischmon are two players making management’s decision difficult.

“They gave me a great chance, played me in every game and gave me good ice time,” Pandolfo said. “I felt pretty good, I hadn’t played games in a long time so it was good to get back in there and get my timing down and all that stuff, it felt pretty good and we’ll see what happens now.”

Frischmon said, “I’m just happy to still be here right now. It’s great to get this experience and go out there and do whatever I can to help the team and know that if I’m doing my best that good things will happen.”

Both have been given a lot of time in the Islanders preseason games and both consider one of their strong suits the penalty kill. Each saw shorthanded ice time in every game they played, while Pandolfo earned as much as 3:26 in one game and Frischmon earned 4:00.

“I’ve always been a penalty kill guy,” Frischmon said. “It’s something I take pride in, something I enjoy doing. I’m also good on faceoffs, good defensive centerman and someone who can play on the third and fourth line, play with anyone.”

Pandolfo said he’s hoping to bring more than just his penalty killing abilities, but also his veteran presence and leadership. However, without a contract, he’s feeling a little anxious as the deadline looms.

Jay Pandolfo skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on September 30, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
“I’m definitely thinking about it,” Pandolfo said. “They have to have the rosters in by Wednesday, so I’m just trying to keep going day-by-day and see what happens. It’s all I can really do right now. It’s out of my control at this point so we’ll see what happens.”

If the Islanders sign Pandolfo or keep Frischmon up top, this doesn’t mean that Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen, who combined for 15 shorthanded goals last season, will be replaced on the penalty kill. However, Capuano has said he’d like to have a few different looks when it comes to special teams units since so much of the game is not dependent on 5-on-5 play.

Management’s final decision will ultimately be made by who has impressed the most at camp.

“The guys that want to play hard every shift for 35-40 seconds are the guys that are going to play,” Capuano said. “I told them that it doesn’t matter what happened last year, what your stats were the second half of last year or what your record is, it starts in the first period Saturday night against Florida. The guys that do what the coaching staff and their teammates ask them to do, play within the team concept, they are going to play.”

The clock is ticking. Who will make the final roster?




1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47


J. Tavares 50 20 23 -2 43
K. Okposo 51 15 28 -9 43
F. Nielsen 53 15 19 -1 34
B. Nelson 53 20 11 -1 31
M. Grabovski 53 9 16 3 25
A. Lee 53 9 15 0 24
J. Bailey 52 9 15 4 24
N. Leddy 53 3 21 -7 24
R. Strome 42 6 15 -4 21
C. Cizikas 53 5 12 5 17
J. Halak 13 11 4 .918 2.27
T. Greiss 15 6 2 .929 2.24
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