We knew they had potential, but Casey Cizikas and David Ullstrom look like mainstays for the New York Islanders. The two have combined for three goals and four assists in the Islanders' first seven games of the season.
Though Ullstrom has always had a knack for finding the net, he struggled a little bit with his first experience in the NHL last year.
This season has been a different story.
Ullstrom has come out like a ball of fire with five points in the first seven games for the Isles. He has developed some great chemistry with linemates Keith Aucoin and Cizikas. Ullstrom was no slouch even before the NHL season started. He had five goals and 14 assists in 26 games with the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Cizikas—one of the Islanders' better prospects—has also looked very good this season. He started strong with the Sound Tigers, scoring 10 goals and earning 11 assists in 31 games. The only thing that could have been seen as a negative was his minus-15 plus/minus rating.
Cizikas wasted no time making an impact in the NHL, though. He scored the first goal of his young career on a wraparound play against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game in which the Islanders went on to win 4-1.
He has shown more than enough playmaking ability and toughness to warrant consideration to stay with the Islanders once players like Josh Bailey get healthy.
It seems like every game you watch, all you hear are Islanders announcers Howie Rose and Butch Goring giving nothing but praise to the two young forwards. The pair continues to make smart, productive plays both on the forecheck and the backcheck. Hopefully, the Islanders are smart enough to keep the two rising stars for the duration of the season.