Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter sent back to his junior team

Yesterday we looked over the case of whether or not Islanders 2010 draft pick Nino Niederreiter should stay with the Isles this season or head back to his junior team in the WHL, the Portland Winterhawks. Today, Isles GM Garth Snow and head coach Scott Gordon made the decision on what to do. It turns out that the Isles are going to send Niederreiter back to junior hockey and let him develop there. For what Niederreiter was going to bring to the team if he stayed, Gordon spoke plainly.

“I think he could have success not being on the power play and being in a third line situation,” said Islanders head coach Scott Gordon. “He could work his way into that role, but we already have guys that are playing on the power play that have been successful. It’s not like we’re in a situation where you have a struggling power play and you need someone with some offensive abilities to add to the power play.”

Forcing a talented offensive player into a different role is the sort of thing that can jumble his development. Adding to the Isles mix is the eventual return of Rob Schremp and Kyle Okposo to the lineup. Their return would force Niederreiter down the depth chart and into an even more grinder-like role and less time on the ice. The keys the Islanders had when bringing Josh Bailey and John Tavares is that they had the opportunity to be top line players immediately. For Niederreiter, it’s not that simple and the Islanders do have the depth on the wings to not need Niederreiter right now.

Niederreiter will get his chance next year as you have to think that after a year of dominating the WHL and getting tons of playing time there, he’ll be ready to kick things into high gear next season for the Islanders. That’s something to be excited about on the Island should the Islanders hot start not hold up through the season.

Stars 2010 first round pick Jack Campbell sent back to his junior team

Thumbnail image for Campbell2.jpgWhile it’s not surprising at all it’s news that we should keep you updated on. Team USA 2010 World Junior Championships star and Dallas Stars 2010 first round pick Jack Campbell was sent back to his junior team in Windsor today.

Campbell is a guy with a lot of hope attached to him and we’ll likely see more from him at the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo that starts in late December. For now, you’ll have to watch Windsor Spitfires games to see Campbell in action. Best of luck to you in doing so if you’re not living in southern Ontario or Detroit.

Getting sent to junior made Blue Jackets prospect Dubois a ‘more mature’ player

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Pierre-Luc Dubois is back with the Canadian contingent at the World Junior Summer Showcase. In September, he’ll try to take the next steps toward making the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Selected third overall by the Blue Jackets in 2016, Dubois can play center or the wing, bringing great size at 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds, and skill up front. He didn’t make Columbus last season out of training camp, but was instead sent back to junior where he played for Cape Breton in the QMJHL before getting traded to Blainville-Boisbriand.

His overall production dropped from the 42 goals and 99 points he registered in his draft year to 21 goals and 55 points split with those two junior clubs.

“If I made Columbus [in 2016-17] it wouldn’t have been a bad decision, but I don’t think getting cut was a bad decision either,” Dubois told NHL.com. “I think it all comes down to what I did after I got cut, and I think I did all the right things to learn from it and become a more mature player.”

The Blue Jackets are hoping so. It’s already been noted in the Columbus Dispatch that Dubois, who just turned 19 years old in June, isn’t eligible for the American Hockey League next season, which means he either makes the NHL squad or faces another year in the QMJHL.

The Blue Jackets have a group of young players like Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, Boone Jenner and Alexander Wennberg, stacked with talent. They took a big step last season, making the playoffs and setting franchise records for wins and points, before getting eliminated in the first round.

There has been talk dating back to June and the expansion draft that Dubois could challenge to make the Blue Jackets in a bottom-six role next season, according to Aaron Portzline last month.

“Pierre-Luc can not only make our team this coming season,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told the Columbus Dispatch at the time. “He can make our team better.”

Devils’ Hischier back to work after ‘living the life’ of a first overall pick

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) At the end of the second of three practice sessions Friday at the New Jersey Devils’ development camp, top overall pick Nico Hischier, was on his hands and knees, scooping up pucks, just like everyone else.

The novelty of being the No. 1 draft pick is rapidly wearing off for Hischier, thanks to the three-day developmental camp at the Barnabas Health Hockey House, the Devils’ practice facility next to the Prudential Center.

“Right after the draft, I was living the life a little,” said the 18-year-old Swiss player who had 38 goals and 48 assists last season for the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “I was doing all these fun things, like going to a baseball game and a soccer game. I was in Times Square and was on television. But now, I’m here and I’m working hard on the ice.”

Hischier doesn’t want special treatment.

“I don’t want to be known as the guy who didn’t pick the pucks up,” Hischier said. “I’m still one of the younger guys here. I want to fit in. I’m going to focus on that.”

Hischier went through the hour-long instructional drill session with ease. He was wearing No. 33 on with other players donning obscure sweater numbers like 59, 67 and 78. He was just one of the guys, doing the intense stick handling and skating drills.

“I’m taking it all step by step,” Hischier said. “It’s only been a couple of days on the ice. I was able to meet the (coaching) staff and the players. But I’m just another player here. My practice skill set has to get better.”

Hischier said that his first line of importance was getting more comfortable with being property of the New Jersey Devils – even though he has yet to sign his rookie contract.

“It’s getting better and better every day,” Hischier said. “I’m going to take as much as I can out of this camp, because I’m still learning and I’m trying to improve my game.”

The Devils’ coaching staff has already been impressed with the teenager.

“One of the things that we really liked about him when we did our research was his passion for the game,” coach John Hynes said. “He trains hard and is a very good teammate. It’s what we were looking for with the first pick.”

But Hynes would not go as far as to consider Hischier a lock to be on the Opening Day roster come October.

“It’s still too early to judge that,” Hynes said. “I would say at this point that he has the skill level and the ability to play. But there’s still time before our training camp. He has some work to do, but we’re going to give him an opportunity to win a job.”

Kings bring back Cammalleri, sign Folin and Petersen

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What’s old is new again in Los Angeles.

Per TSN, the Kings have signed former Devils forward Mike Cammalleri, who was drafted by the club in 2001 and spent the first six years of his career in Hollywood. Among Cammalleri’s old teammates is the Kings’ new GM, Rob Blake.

Earlier this week, New Jersey bought out the remainder of Cammalleri’s five-year, $25 million deal. The decision came after the 35-year-old scored 10 goals and 31 points in 61 games.

Cammalleri’s deal in L.A. is for $1 million, with performance bonuses.

That wasn’t the only deal Blake orchestrated today. He shored up the club’s blueline by inking former Wild d-man Christian Folin to a one-year, $850,000 deal. Folin, 26, appeared in 51 games for Minnesota last season.

The Kings also made their acquisition of Notre Dame goalie prospect Cal Petersen official.

Petersen, 22, is coming off a great junior year for the Fighting Irish. He went 23-12-5 with a .926 save percentage and 2.22 GAA, helping the club advance to the Frozen Four. Petersen was also named a finalist for this year’s Mike Richter Award, given annually to college hockey’s top goalie.

He was originally drafted by Buffalo in 2012, but opted against signing for the Sabres.