East Meadow, NY–The New York Islanders hosted their first day of rookie development camp at Northwell Health Ice Center on Thursday afternoon, where 22 of the organization’s prospects took the ice to prepare for the upcoming season.
Here are the key takeaways from day one of camp.
Holmstrom Ready to Get Back to NHL:
Simon Holmstrom got an extended taste of the NHL last season, playing in 50 games for the Islanders last season. However, the 21-year-old forward struggled to make the most of his opportunity, recording only nine points with six goals.
With limited space open on the Islanders’s NHL roster this preseason, Holmstrom is back in development camp while still on his entry-level contract.
“I look at him now as a guide to maybe emerge as a leader with this group because of his experience in his NHL experience,” said Bridgeport Islanders head coach Rick Kowalsky, who is in charge of running development camp this year. “I’ve seen Simon, and I know what he can do. I’m just looking for him to go out there and do what we’ve always seen from him and take on more of a leadership role with more of these young guys.”
Holmstrom will more than likely spend most of the season playing for Kowalsky in Bridgeport to continue his development, keeping an eye on the big club while he’s there.
“I’m just trying to do my best to get where I want to be, and that’s to play in the NHL this year,” Holmstrom said. “That’s what all my focus is on.”
Dufour Ready To See Offseason Work Payoff:
Regarded as one of the organization’s top prospects, William Dufour played in his first professional season for Bridgeport last year. Entering camp, the power forward was already well-known for his shot but is ready to showcase the work he’s put into his skating and conditioning this summer.
“I trained for four and a half months almost this summer,” Dufour said. “I’m just way better in shape.”
Dufour posted 48 points with 21 goals for Bridgeport last season. At the end of practice on Wednesday, he led the young Islanders at center ice in the post-practice stretch.
“I was impressed,” Kowalsky said. “He looks a little leaner and, hopefully, stronger. We don’t see all the test results, but so far, so good. He’s a guy that we’re really excited about seeing the growth he’s made.”
Kuefler Not Skating:
Daylan Kuefler, the Islanders’s sixth-round draft pick in 2022, will not be on the ice during development camp this year. The forward prospect is still recovering from an injury he suffered during last year’s WHL playoffs while playing for the Kamloops Blazers.
The Islanders’s prospects will be back on the ice tomorrow for Day 2 of development camp.