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Speed up front

On the first day of free agency, the Islanders added a pair of solid skaters who look to make a difference

Friday, 07.05.2013 / 7:41 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Speed up front
On the first day of free agency, the Islanders added a pair of solid skaters who look to make a difference
Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Photo: Getty Images)

The Islanders wasted no time bolstering their roster for the 2013-14 season, adding a pair of new forwards within the first few minutes of the NHL free agent signing period Friday. The club inked Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin, each to one-year deals.

“Pierre-Marc is a very dynamic offensive talent, with great hands and great vision,” Islanders Assistant Coach and Sr. Advisor to the General Manager Doug Weight said. “He certainly is a water bug – he’s quick, great in the corners, and shows a lot of offensive ability. He’s played under a couple of different coaching regimes in Minnesota, and he’s done a great job at the 200-foot game. We expect great things from him.”

Bouchard, who played all 10 of his NHL seasons with the Minnesota Wild, eclipsing the 50-assist plateau in 2007-08, decided on Long Island based on the team’s ascension up the Eastern Conference standings last season.

“I picked the Islanders because they’re headed in the right direction,” Bouchard said. “They made the playoffs last year. They have a great bunch of young guys that are really talented. I think my type of game fits pretty well with the way they play.”

Minnesota selected Bouchard eighth overall in 2002. He ranks second in Wild history with 565 games, fourth with 106 goals and second with 241 assists, but the 29-year-old says he is ready for a new challenge.

“We have a lot of friends in Minnesota,” Bouchard said. “I had some great years with all the people and the fans there. At the same time, I’m really looking forward to a fresh start, and I’m really happy it’s with the Islanders.”

Regin comes to the Islanders from similar circumstances. The 27-year-old is a veteran of five NHL seasons, all with Ottawa.

“Peter is fast, and we think his best hockey is in front of him,” Weight said. “His ceiling is very high. We wanted to get faster, and we certainly did with that move.”

Peter Regin (Photo: Getty Images)

In addition to the Islanders recent success, Regin’s decision to come to New York was influenced by another player from his hometown of Herning, Denmark.

“I’m going to play with one of my best buddies, Frans Nielsen,” Regin said. “We grew up together and played together, both in Herning and in Sweden. I’m excited to play with him again. He said a lot of good things about New York, and that’s a big reason why the Islanders were at the top of my list.”

Nielsen is 29, two years older than Regin. The new Islander’s first professional season came in 2005-06 with Timra IK in Sweden. That campaign was Nielsen’s last in Europe before heading full-time to North America.

“We work out together, so I’ve actually been doing the Islanders workout program this summer,” Regin said. “Even before all this came up, we talked a lot, and obviously talked about how fun it would be if we got a chance to play together one day in the NHL. I think it’s exciting for both of us to get a chance to do that now.”

Bouchard, a key contributor to the Wild’s power play during his tenure there, wants to play a big role in the Islanders future.

“I definitely want to go there and try to be a factor, and help this team win some hockey games,” Bouchard said. “Obviously, I’m an offensive-minded guy, and I’ve been a playmaker, so I want to be able to produce.”

Regin, who was limited to 92 games over the last three seasons due to injuries, played a key role at even strength, the power play and penalty kill for the Senators. His best season in Ottawa was 2009-10, when he set career highs in goals (13), assists (16), points (29) and plus/minus (plus-10). Regin says heading into the 2013-14 season, his goals are simple.

“I want to prove myself over again,” Regin said. “I’ve had some tough luck for a couple of years where things haven’t gone my way due to injuries. I really want to get my career back on track and prove to everyone that I’m still a good player. And I obviously want to prove to the Islanders that they made the right decision to sign me.”

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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