By Peter Schwartz
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Islanders Country has been waiting for this since he first slipped on that blue jersey after being taken fifth overall in 2011.
They’ve been waiting for this since he scored that ridiculous goal that went viral in the prospects game later that summer.
Heck, I’ve been waiting for his arrival since September when I thought he might make the team out of training camp!
The Islanders, mired in a 10-game losing streak, will dip into their prospect pool for help on Tuesday when they are expected to call up center Ryan Strome from Bridgeport. He is expected to join the team in San Jose but may not make his NHL debut until Thursday in Phoenix.
Strome has been waiting patiently for this opportunity, but the Islanders figured they were starting the season without room for him.
“You’re trying to take someone else’s job, so it’s pretty serious,” Strome told the team’s official website back in mid-November. “I think if I can continue to do that over the next little while I’m going to get to where I want to go.”
He is about to get where he needs to go.
Needing room on the roster to bring up Strome, the Islanders placed Pierre-Marc Bouchard on waivers Monday.
Strome has been ripping up the American Hockey League. He leads the AHL in scoring with 33 points and has won the last two AHL Player of the Week awards. Strome has been on fire recently with 17 points in his last eight games.
Strome was probably ready to make the jump at the start of the season, but you can’t fault the Islanders for being careful.
There have been too many times when they rushed prospects, so it turned out to be smart that they kept him in the minors for a while until it was time for him to get the call.
What can we expect to see?
“The first thing I see is that he has such a high hockey IQ,” Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach Scott Pellerin told the team’s official site. “Guys talk about that, his hockey sense, his vision on the ice, his ability to see things after a shift.”
The Islanders’ top prospect should provide a spark to the second line and give the struggling team some badly-needed offensive punch. He won’t be the end-all to the Islanders’ problems, but his promotion is certainly a step in the right direction.
The Islanders still need a goalie, help on defense and, in my opinion, a new direction behind the bench. But Strome’s NHL debut is something for Islanders fans to look forward to in what has been a terribly disappointing season.
Captain John Tavares is, without question, the face of the franchise. He is the Islanders’ lone superstar right now. But he can’t do it himself. He is about to get some help. While Strome probably won’t be at the elite level right away, his arrival does mean a couple of things.
Excitement and hope for Islanders fans!
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