Being Patient With Matt Donovan And Sound Tigers Weekly Update

Going into camp this season a majory story line for the New York Islanders was who was going to step in on defense for the recently departed Mark Streit. Streit wasn't only the team's captain, but power play quarterback and large contributor on offense. The void that he left made for competition in camp among Islanders prospects as Garth Snow elected to not sign or trade for any defensemen. The clear cut front runner for the position was Matt Donovan who was figuring to be challenged by Calvin de Haan and Aaron Ness. Donovan put up huge offensive numbers in the AHL and as expected he eventually won the spot in camp. As expected he has been able to contribute offensively but has also found himself a healthy scratch multiple times this season. The reaction from fans has been mixed but I don't think it is as bad as some people are making it seem.
There has been an outcry that having Donovan with the team but scratched here and there is not good because it is hurting his development, but I disagree. Donovan is still getting valuable playing time when he is in the lineup and the experience that he is gaining while with the team is invaluable. Learning how to operate at the NHL level, being with the team on trips and going through practices does more for players than many realize and when he is scratched, it is for good reason. Jack Capuano has a method to his madness and when Matt Carkner is dressed in place of Donovan it is because Carkner adds much needed size and grit on the relitively small blueine for the Islanders. As much as Isles fans like to rip on Carkner, he has played well overall and sometimes that size and experience is just as valuable to the team as when you have Donovan in against the smaller teams for speed. Matt Donovan is progressing just fine in my eyes and I think we as fans just have to be patient, let the coaches and GM make the decisions they deem necessary and let the plan that this franchise has had for a few years now just work itself out.
Patience and persistence with the rebuild has been the motto of this team and none of us should expect nor want that to change. It is easy to get ahead of ourselves after we got a taste of the postseason last year, but doing things like forcing the younger guys into the lineup just for the sake of doing it will not do any good (see Niederreiter). No team will win every game so it will be easy after losses to blame it on things like Carkner playing over Donovan. It will be the same when Brock Nelson sits (or gets sent to Bridgeport which he just did, but has been recalled). But as cliche as they saying is, slow and steady wins the race. There is still A LOT of regular season left to be played and all we should be doing is looking at it one game at a time.
Prospect Report From Bridgeport
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers featured only one game this weekend, Sunday at home vs. the Binghamton Senators. Following his assignment to the Sound Tigers on Saturday, Brock Nelson appeared in the lineup for Bridgeport that ultimately saw them lose 6-5 in overtime. John Persson continued to impress early in the season, putting 2 goals and an assist on the score sheet, the first 3 point game of his professional career. Ryan Strome also added a goal and an assist for Bridgeport as they found themselves playing catch up from early on in the game which saw the Senators go up 2-0 just over 6 minutes into the first period. Once Binghamton went up 3-0, Anders Nilsson was pulled in favor of Ken Reiter.
The Sound Tigers were resilient as they faught back all game tying the score, then losing it repeatedly to ultimately lose their grip in overtime after a penalty to Scott Mayfield lead to a power play goal. The other goal scorers for the Sound Tigers were Mike Halmo and Johan Sundstrom. Bridgeport is now 1-4 to start this season as it seems they are having trouble keeping pucks out of their own net. There are new additions to this team from last season and it will likely take them a bit of time to gel together, but I can't see this inability to win lasting as this team has a ton of talent on it, but we will see.
Up next for the Sound Tigers is the Tampa Bay Lightning farm affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch on the road Saturday, October 26th at 7pm. The Crunch have some exciting players in their lineup including the Russian forward duo of Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov. Forward Brett Connolly is also a threat offensively as he spent a large amount of time with the Lightning last season and was one of the players that I was surprised to see not make the Lightning roster this season. Lets see how the Sound Tigers handle these guys in their first road game of the year.
Thanks for reading!
Bryan Curran
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Rob McGowan's picture

I still think Donovan will be great with the Isles and a mainstay by the end of the year. At times he makes his expected rookie mistakes but I overall like what I have seen from him so far.