The New York Islanders have called up 21-year-old Swedish rookie Johan Sundstrom from AHL Bridgeport, and he’ll take Michael Grabner’s spot in the lineup tonight in San Jose.
With the move, Sunstrom — who’s making his NHL debut — will be the eighth rookie to play for the Islanders this season. He’ll also give the team a decidedly fresh-faced look up front, joining the likes of Ryan Strome (20 years old), Brock Nelson (22), Mike Halmo (22), Casey Cizikas (23), Anders Lee (23), Josh Bailey (24) and Matt Martin (24).
New York’s oldest forward tonight will be 29-year-old Frans Nielsen. He’ll be joined by fellow graybeards Colin McDonald, Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Okposo who, despite being just 25 years old, is one of the oldest forwards on the active roster.
While this has largely been a lost season for the Islanders, all these young players do offer some hope for the future. Nearly all of them have come courtesy the NHL Entry Draft — Bailey and Martin were ’08 draftees, Lee and Cizikas were part of the ’09 draft (which also netted John Tavares and d-man Calvin de Haan), Nelson was a ’10 draftee, Strome and Sundstrom were taken in ’11.