As the result of a miserable 3-14 start for the Windsor Spitfires (OHL), the Spitfires have fired their head coach. How does this effect Jeff Zehr, who was indefinitely suspended by the team you may ask? The new coach wants to play his best available players which means that Zehr is back in the picture. He was suspended because of disobeying team curfew rules. Interim GM, Dave Pripick on Zehr “perceived character flaws” said, “I had Jeff play for me for two years, and I never had a problem with him.” His first move was to summon Zehr back to the starting lineup. Through 9 games played this season, Zehr has compiled 3 goals, eight assists and 38 penalty minutes.
Jeff Zehr , who was selected in the second round with the Islanders third choice 31st overall in the 1997 Entry Draft, improved at the midpoint of last season just enough for Central Scouting to rank him to go in the middle of the first round. By fortune for the Islanders, this future power forward, who has been compared to Brenden Shanahan, was available early in the second round. Last season he played 57 games, 27 goals, 32 assists, totaling 59 points and 196 penalty minutes. He is a big guy at 6’3″, 195 lbs. Some observers have justified the Islanders decision to select a goaltender and a defenseman because of the selection of such a highly touted power forward. Most scouts feel that he has the talent to become a first line superstar, but he has to harness his talent. If he is unable to complete that feat, he might only be a third line checking forward.
Several reports from around the NHL say that the New York Islanders have been
shopping former first round selection of the 1996 NHL ENTRY DRAFT (3rd
overall) as trade bait. The 19 year old forward of Val d’ Or in the QMJHL is
playing only so-so after his first 12 games with 18 points. His junior team
has experimented with him by using him as a center due to a lack of centers on
their roster. His stats suggest that he has not made the transition very
well. An interesting side note, Dumont is the only top ten pick from the 1996
draft whom is still unsigned. If not signed by June, he will reenter the 1998
draft. He is asking for similar money to that of what 1996 3rd round
selection Zdeno Chara is receiving. Rumors that are currently circulating
involve Dumont going to the Hurricanes in a package deal for Geoff Sandersson,
whom some hockey writer feel is the best LW in the game. It will certainly be
interesting to see how this thing unfolds. Other hot trade rumors concern the
Vancouver Canucks. “One site out of Vancouver claimed that an area sports
radio station had Canucks GM Pat Quinn on as a guest, and that he confirmed
that he was indeed talking trade with Islanders GM Mike Milbury. When asked to
divulge who was involved, obviously Quinn
declined, but did offer this response “It’s a big deal”. If there’s one team
that is the ultimate match (as trading partners) with the Isles, it’s the Read more»
Former Toronto Mapeleaf prospect, Sean Haggerty, is this season’s Islander Sleeper Prospect. He had a tremendous training camp. He has played very impressively already for Kentucky (AHL). Haggerty’s game is centered around playing right around the goalie. Haggerty, is considered to be a pure goal scorer with the grit and determination to make it big in the NHL, with the New York Islanders. He was acquired in the infamous deal that sent Matthew Schneider, Wendell Clark, and D.J. Smith to Toronto for Kenny Jonsson, Darby Hendrickson, Sean Haggerty, and a first round pick in 1997 (Roberto Luongo).
Last season, in Kentucky, Haggerty was a victim of a poor affiliation plan with the SJ Sharks. He saw mostly third line checking line duty, a role he was unfamiliar with. However, this allowed Haggerty to learn the defensive aspects of the game.
Due to a couple of departures from last season’s roster, Sean Haggerty has been spending his time early on playing on the top lines of his Kentucky club. He has scored two goals and three assists in his first two games of the season, that is nice for a guy who scored around fifteen goals last season.
Sean Haggerty has a very good chance to see NHL ice a little later this season as it becomes apparent that Warren Luhning is incapable of providing the Islanders with what they need. Haggerty already has played one game with Toronto, but none with the New York Islanders.
Warren Luhning, the sole rookie on this seasons’s Islander roster, is in jeopardy of being sent down to the minor leagues, probably Kentucky (AHL). His play has shown that he is either not ready to play this season at the NHL level, or he simply does not possess the talent many thought he did. It could simply be a case of the jitters. Who knows? One thing for sure, he is not doing himself a favor with his poor play. Luhning, who played for Michigan University, last year appears to be shell shocked by the level of play in the NHL. Luhning is not a flashy player, but he has the ability to score twenty goals a season and throw his body around. He has played two of three games and has registered no points on three shots and no penalty minutes while playing mostly on the third line with Sergei Nemichinov and Mike Hough, two veterans with scoring and checking ability, a similar makeup to that of Warren Luhning.