New York Islanders: 7 Bridgeport Sound Tigers You Should Know

Christopher Benini@@TheRealCBeniniContributor IDecember 22, 2012

New York Islanders: 7 Bridgeport Sound Tigers You Should Know

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    At this point, the NHL season seems to be all but done with the lockout still going on.

    However, there is plenty of quality hockey going on in Bridgeport, Conn. While the Sound Tigers keep playing, here are seven guys you should know who could make an impact for the New York Islanders if this lockout ever ends.

Nino Niederreiter

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    Nino Niederreiter is a no-brainer. Despite a flop of a rookie season that saw him score just one goal in 55 games for the Isles, his star has not yet faded.

    In case you don't believe me, Niederreiter is having no problem proving so in the AHL this season. Niederreiter has 13 goals and 27 points in 27 games with the Sound Tigers this season. Both of those statistics are good enough to rank in the top 10 of the entire league.

Kevin Poulin

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    Kevin Poulin is another player Islanders fans should be familiar with at this point. He's likely the future of the goalie position of the New York Islanders.

    His numbers have not been overwhelming in the AHL this season. He's 7-5 with a 3.22 goals-against average in 12 starts. Arguably, he has been outplayed thus far by Anders Nilsson.

    Poulin has shown he can handle the NHL level, though. Poulin is 6-6-1 at the NHL level with a 2.67 goals-against average.

Travis Hamonic

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    Travis Hamonic is the third and final name that even just the causal Islander fan should know from this list.

    Hamonic has the most NHL experience of anyone on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He is also the man who is expected to anchor the D-line of the Islanders when Mark Streit says farewell.

Brock Nelson

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    Only Nino Niederreiter has been more impressive than Brock Nelson in the AHL this season.

    Nelson has 11 goals and 11 assists for the Sound Tigers this season. Nelson, who was selected later in the first round (30th) in the same draft as Niederreiter (2010), has nearly as much potential. He bulked up and put on some muscle in the offseason, and it is clearly showing.

    With a year of development under his belt (and Niederreiter's as well), the Isles may get the scoring punch they've been lacking in 2013.

David Ullstrom

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    David Ullstrom won't be challenging Steven Stamkos for the scoring title anytime soon. He does not have that type of ceiling—not even close.

    However, Ullstrom should not be written off just because he's not the next Stamkos. Ullstrom has a knack for finding the back of the net and has done just that with the Sound Tigers this year. Despite only having three goals in 16 games, expect Ullstrom to eventually be a good source for goals on the third line.

Kirill Kabanov

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    At the time, Kirill Kabanov was a pretty risky draft pick for the New York Islanders. He was known more for his off-the-ice antics than his play.

    He quickly impressed with some sweet moves in the shootout challenge during the Blue and Orange scrimmage in 2011.

    Kabanov possesses massive potential and could be a big-time scorer. As with a lot of high-ceiling players, he needs time to develop. If all the pieces fall in the right place, he has the potential to be a star in the NHL.

Casey Cizikas

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    Yes, another center. John Tavares, Ryan Strome, Frans Nielsen, Brock Nelson and now Casey Cizikas. The Islanders are going to have some major strength up the middle. (They may even want to trade a center for a defenseman.)

    Cizikas probably has the least potential of the players mentioned. However, that doesn't mean he doesn't have the potential to be good for this Isles team.

    He has eight goals and six assists through 21 games for the Sounds Tigers this season, so he is no slouch. With the centers in front him, who knows where he is going to end up on this team.

    However, one thing is for certain—he's definitely a Sound Tiger you should know about.