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Ullstrom continues to make impact

The Isles rookie may switch from wing to center for Tuesday's game against Buffalo

Monday, 11.28.2011 / 2:48 PM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Ullstrom continues to make impact
Rookie forward David Ullstrom continues to impress. The Swedish skater has played in four games since his Nov. 20 recall and though he’s yet to score his first NHL goal, he’s been a welcome addition to the Islanders roster.

“He didn’t need to get called up for me to know that he’ll be a difference maker,” Josh Bailey said of his linemate over the last four games. “I’ve seen him play since he came into rookie camps and in Bridgeport. He’s got high-end skill, lots of speed.”

Bailey added, “He’s a very heady player with a good shot. He’s got all the tools. He’s a great player. Adding him to our lineup is good for everyone.”

Ullstrom is a very versatile player. In his first few games, he averaged 10:53 of ice time playing on Bailey’s wing, opposite of Kyle Okposo, while the last two games he’s been opposite of veteran winger Brian Rolston.

David Ullstrom plays the puck against the New Jersey Devils during the game at the Prudential Center on November 26, 2011. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
“The two games there, we moved the puck well, used our speed and got the puck deep,” Ullstrom said. “We outworked them down there and I don’t think they got a lot of chances against us because we worked hard in both ends, especially our back check and helped our D out. So I think we played real good.”

But with the loss of veteran forward Jay Pandolfo (broken foot), Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said the Swedish rookie could get some playing time at center, a position he’s very familiar with. Capuano had Ullstrom center Nino Niederreiter and Rolston in practice at Iceworks on Monday.

“He played center last year,” Capuano said. “He’s a guy that we just wanted to give a few reps just in case.”

Ullstrom said, “It will be fun to go back to center if that happens, but I’m comfortable playing both wing and center. I’m real excited for tomorrow.”

Even though he’s played on the wing in his first four NHL games, he’s taken five faceoffs and won 60 percent of them.

“It’s something you work on,” Ullstrom said of his success on the draw. “I improved a lot last year, so I’m pretty comfortable getting in. It’s different to work on your faceoffs in practice than it is in a game because it’s all about reading the player. It’s a mental game and I love taking draws. It’s a fun part of the game for me.”

Capuano has liked more than Ullstrom’s versatility.

“He took some faceoffs for us, but I just like his urgency, his desperation,” Capuano said. “He’s been strong on the forecheck, he’s been good on our back pressure and tracking the puck. He’s made some skilled plays. He doesn’t look like a rookie. He came into our lineup wanting to stay and help our team.”

So whether Ullstrom is on the wing or flanks Niederreiter and Rolston in Tuesday’s game at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, he’s bound to make an impact.

“I try to play the same way at center as I do at wing,” Ullstrom said. “I use my speed and play good defensively, but try to come with a lot of speed through the neutral zone, feed my wingers and drive the net. I just want to use my speed and my skill set, so I’m just going to keep skating.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 48 23 25 -1 48
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 48 9 25 16 34
B. Nelson 48 15 15 5 30
F. Nielsen 48 9 17 4 26
J. Boychuk 38 4 21 16 25
J. Bailey 36 8 14 7 22
N. Leddy 48 7 14 14 21
N. Kulemin 48 11 9 0 20
A. Lee 42 13 5 6 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 26 10 0 .912 2.42
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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