The highly anticipated NHL debut of Roberto Luongo came on Sunday night and the highest drafted goaltender ever did not disappoint. Luongo was solid throughout the game and was spectacular down the stretch preserving a 2-1 victory against the Boston Bruins. Luongo recorded 43 saves in his first appearance, a Islanders record. Loungo’s performance ended a three game skid for the Isles. Roberto’s dazzling play throughout training camp caused many rumors that Felix Potvin would be traded to make room for the emerging star. Now that backup Wade Flaherty is out indefinitely, Luongo will get a chance to prove himself without the pressure of being a number one goaltender. This is an ideal situation as Luongo will get to break in slowly and acclimate himself to NHL play. Luongo will most likely return the AHL when Flaherty returns, however Potvin’s trade value continues to climb an account of his strong play this year.
In other news two of the Islanders’ top sniper are both injured. Mattias Weinhandl, who had been tearing up the Swedish Elite League, suffered a serious eye injury earlier this month while competing in a U-20 tournament. Weinhandl was slashed under his visor right after on a face off on a play that seemed intentional. Weinhandl still has blurred vision but the injury is no longer considered career threatening. Weinhandl is hoping to return to action by the new year. Fellow right winger Juraj Kolnik is also out of action with a separated shoulder and should also be returning around new year. Kolnik had 19 goals in 19 games prior to his injury including three hat tricks and a nine game goal scoring streak.
Centerman Justin Mapletoft continues to light it up in the WHL as he rides a 7 game scoring streak during which he has posted 16 points. He is currently third in the league in scoring with 15 goals and 41 points in 28 games. Winger Mike Rupp recently returned to action after a shoulder separation and has picked up right where he left off. He has been a dominant physical force this year and is beginning to show some offensive flair. In 18 games he has 6 goals and 12 points to go along with 53 PIM. Also, Jason Krog has picked up his play after a slow start and has recorded 9 points in his last 11 games. Another prospect to keep an eye on is Bjorn Melin the 6th round pick is one of the top scorers in the Swedish junior league. He is currently 4th in the league with 11 goals and 22 points through 16 games.