Islander and Sound Tiger Seasons At the Crossroads

By Bill Bennett


The Islanders worked very hard to get back in the playoff race after being six games under 500. early in the season.

Several players have been out or playing injured and many of the prospects from the Sound Tigers have been called to take some minutes with Trent Hunter, Eric Godard (both sent down) and now Raffi Torres getting a look.

Peter Laviolette wanted to reach 500. by the new year and finds his team two over today and looking for answers.

With an injury to Chris Osgood that will keep him out 3-4 weeks, Rick DiPietro was called up and this is his best chance to impress the organization and prove he can carry a team and is ready to stay in the NHL for good. It should be noted DiPietro was shaky after returning to Bgpt after his December call up and two weeks without playing. He did have a forty three save win recently, but has been bothered by a bad hip, which may force Peter Laviolette to be very careful because the organization is out of goaltending depth.

With the one and done look at Brandon Smith against New Jersey, Sven Butenschon and now Ray Schultz will be counted on to fill the roles of Adrian Aucoin, and Eric Cairns.

Sound Tigers:

DiPietro’s call up could not have come at a worse time for the Isles farm team in Bridgeport and has made for some interesting subplots as they finally come home from a long three-week trip that has dropped them out of first with a loss to Binghamton.

Steve Valiquette is on the shelf and is expected out for at least another week. David St.Germain had to leave his first game with leg cramps which looked to be an injury and now the Tigers basically are putting their goaltending hopes into St.Germain, who has put up solid numbers for Trenton, but has no AHL experience and in an interesting twist, Scott Stirling, Sound Tigers Coach Steve Stirling’s son from Atlantic City of the ECHL.


On the prospect front, Sean Bergeinheim was a standout for Finland at the WJC and anyone who watched on YES locally got a look at him in the game where Finland won the Bronze Medal against the United States and matched his seasons production in Finland on a powerful Jokerit squad.

2000 Fourth rd pick Cory Stillman has started to put up the numbers for Kingston after being hampered by injuries from last season that kept him out early. The Isles have to make a decision on whether to sign him or he can re-enter the draft.

Andy Chiodo and Brad Topping have had standout seasons with St Michaels and Brampton, with the Isles having to make a decision on Chiodo.

Ryan Caldwell has had a standout year at the University of Denver.

Eugene Belashchenko, who has an excellent profile of Isles sixth pick Alexei Stonkus on the Isles HF page was kind enough to let me know the
following as to why he has not been playing:
” Stonkus has not been making the team – it’s as simple at that. However, he has been kept around as a reserve and practices with the main squad. He mainly plays for the Lokomotiv 2 team. Grot – who he has been playing a lot with – was loaned to an Upper League team, but Stonkus was not – as Loko wanted keep him around. I am not sure if he will get a chance with loko this year – the team is really deep on defense. But who knows”.


Mattias Weinhandl was named to play in the Young Stars Game at the All-Star Weekend in Florida.

Trent Hunter (Canada) and Rick DiPietro were named to the AHL All Star Squard.

The earlier January Update on the prospects is no longer available, as was some updated info on the Isles prospect page, which is in the process of being updated with re-rankings and some additions.

There have been some problems on this end trying to find out the exact status of Juha Pekka Ketola, who was injured but to this point has been playing.

My thanks as always to everyone for their comments and questions.

National Hockey League:

Mattias WeinhandlNew York IslandersNHLRW/LW23310136-3

Marcus PaulssonSaskatoon BladesWHLLeft Wing347111814-4
WJCSweLeft Wing60336-1
Mike Bray Montreal RocketQMJHLDefense904471E
Cory StillmanKingston FrontenacsOHLCenter22101222181


Andy ChiodoSt, Michaels MajorsOHLGoaltender34171032.850.918
Brad ToppingBrampton BattilonOHLGoaltender32151423.000.908

U.S College:

Brian CollinsBoston UniversityHockey EastCenter255498-1
Byran PerezMichigan TechWCHALeft Wing228111954-9
Ryan CaldwellUniversity of DenverWCHADefense23410142418


Raffi TorresBridgeportAHLLeft Wing32991852-3
New York IslandersNHLLeft Wing1204410E
Justin MapletoftBridgeportAHLCenter3561117224
New York IslandersNHLCenter81232-1
Trent HunterBridgeportAHLRight Wing3716183425-1
New York IslaandersNHLRight Wing804445
Mattias WeinhandlBridgeportAHLRight Wing1459148
Eric GodardBridgeportAHLRight Wing33224124-7
New York IslandersNHLRight Wing800034-3
Blaine Down Bridgeport AHLForward2342620-5
Jeff HamiltonBridgeportAHLCenter349817141
Marco CharpentierTrentonECHLRight Wing1336947
Graham BelakCincinattiECHLLeft Wing2010147-4
TrentonECHLLeft Wing200015-1
BridgeportAHLLeft Wing1600031
Tomi Pettinen BridgeportAHLDefense43033325
New York IslandersNHLDefense10000E
Dustin WoodTrentonECHLDefense381171814-7
Daniel TetraultTrentonECHLDefense2136922-8
Matt HigginsBridgeportAHLForward391071730-11
Rick DiPietroBridgeportAHLGoaltender30121082.230.923
New York IslandersNHLGoaltender21102.020.920
David St.GermainTrentonECHLGoaltender2171223.090.892


Sean BergenheimJokeritsm ligaForward2933645
Franz NielsenM.I.F RedhawksSELForward3725710-6
Arto TukioJokeritsm ligaDefense365914165
Juha Pekka KetolaLuko RaumaFNLCenter14
Dimitri AltarevDizenlist PenzaRHL1Forward3117183568
Johan HalvardssonHV-71SELDefense2801114-1
Radek MatejovskyKeramika PtzenCze ExtraRight Wing347101783-1
Jan HolubLiberecCzeDefense140002-4
Per BraxenholmMorrumSwe Defense250006-2
Alexei StonkusLokomotiv YaroslavlSuperleagueDefense90002
Roman KukhtinovSalavat YulaevSuperleagueDefense3645946
Dimitri UpperSpartak MoscowSuperleagueCenter29571245
Vladimir GorbunovMoskova VysshayaRHLRight Wing2123534