My Islanders Account

NEWS

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

New Faces Looking to Make Impact in Sound Tigers Camp

Sound Tigers look to repeat as Northeast Division Champions; open Training Camp with eight rookies

Friday, 09.28.2012 / 5:00 PM ET / News
By Travis Betts
X
Share with your Friends


New Faces Looking to Make Impact in Sound Tigers Camp
Forward Kirill Kabanov celebrated a Memorial Cup victory in May with his junior team, the Shawinigan Cataractes (Photo: Getty Images)

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers opened their 2012 Training Camp on Friday morning at Islanders Iceworks in Syosset. Players gathered for the first time as a unit, taking medical exams and shaking hands with new teammates. First-year Head Coach Scott Pellerin the reigns of a team that won the Northeast Division in 2011-12, and is equipped with enough talent to repeat.

The 2012-13 version will feature many carryovers from last season’s team, but also plenty of new faces. For Brock Nelson, Kirill Kabanov, Johan Sundstrom and five other rookies, their North American professional hockey careers begin with this year’s Sound Tigers Training Camp.

This year marks Nelson’s first professional camp after playing the last two seasons at the University of North Dakota. Nelson appeared in six regular season and playoff games for the Sound Tigers last spring after concluding his collegiate season. That experience should benefit him as he tries to make an impact in his first year in the AHL.

“It was good to get out there and get a taste for the pro game, get used to the pace and meet some of the guys,” Nelson said. “Now I want to prove that I had a good summer and develop as a player mentally, physically and work on all aspects of my game.”

Nelson added that while young players can take many different routes to get to the pro ranks, playing in the WCHA was the best path for him.

“College was definitely a great decision for me,” Nelson said. “I think the coaching staff at North Dakota was the best of anywhere. There’s a lot of great players that come out of college. The level of competition in the WCHA is very high, with teams like Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Denver. The style of play is fast. There’s slight differences from there to the AHL, so hopefully I transition well.”

Kabanov played Canadian junior hockey, the more “traditional” route to pro hockey, although his path had its twists and turns. After moving from Moscow in 2009 to play for the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, he was traded one season later to the Lewiston MAINEiacs, who then folded after the 2010-11 season. In 2011-12, he suited up for the Shawinigan Cataractes, who won the Memorial Cup, the Canadian Hockey League’s biggest prize. At the beginning of his first Sound Tigers camp on Friday, he had one goal in mind.

“I just want to try to make the roster and try to help the guys win every game and do my job on and off the ice,” Kabanov said. “I’m expecting a lot of myself in the pros.”

Kabanov says he wouldn’t be the player he is today without his unique past. Through the ups and downs of playing on four teams in as many years (including a brief stint with the KHL’s Moscow Spartak in 2008-09), Kabanov improved his play each season and matured off the ice.

I want to earn a jersey here and earn a nice role. Center is my natural position, but I don’t care where I play. - Sound Tigers forward Johan Sundstrom

“I really liked it there (in Lewiston), but I went to the team that won the Memorial Cup this year in Shawinigan, and it was real exciting,” Kabanov said. “It was a great opportunity. I got tired of moving, but I liked the cities I got to play in and I learned something everywhere I went. This year, I want to try to make the big club when everything gets worked out, but in the meantime, do what I can to help the Sound Tigers.”

Sundstrom has taken yet another path to his first camp with the Sound Tigers. After two full seasons in the Swedish Elite League, the Islanders second round pick in 2011 is determined to play full-time in the United States. He played twice on the smaller North American rinks, at the 2010 and 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships, fueling his hunger to play in the NHL.

“I’m so excited to be over here and to get to know this game,” Sundstrom said. “I know the [North American] game, but I’d like to know it better, and to see the style of play for a whole season. I think it’s going to be good. I want to earn a jersey here and earn a nice role. Center is my natural position, but I don’t care where I play.”

Sundstrom arrived early on Long Island to join teammates for informal skates and get acclimated to his new environment. As far as his play on the ice, the Gothenburg, SWE native doesn’t have any glaring holes, but wants to improve all-around.

“The coaches told me I’m pretty good at being a two-way player, but I need to raise my play everywhere,” Sundstrom said. “I want to work on all aspects of my game to get better.”

Sound Tigers Training Camp runs through Oct. 11, before the team heads to Hartford for Opening Night against the Connecticut Whale on Oct. 12. With eight of the 27 players in camp listed as rookies, there will be a lot of competition in the meantime for roster spots.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 46 17 19 -4 36
K. Okposo 47 12 24 -9 36
B. Nelson 49 20 11 1 31
F. Nielsen 49 15 16 -2 31
M. Grabovski 49 9 15 2 24
J. Bailey 48 8 15 5 23
A. Lee 49 7 14 1 21
N. Leddy 49 3 16 -12 19
R. Strome 38 5 13 -6 18
N. Kulemin 49 5 9 6 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 12 10 4 .921 2.18
T. Greiss 13 6 2 .927 2.32
Transportation
Pro Shops
Islanders TV
Iceworks
NewYorkIslanders.com is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and NewYorkIslanders.com are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy |  AdChoices |  Terms of Use |  Contact  Us |  Employment |  Webmaster |  NHL.com Terms of Use