Tag: Cory Conacher

Pittsburgh Penquins v New York Islanders

Strome, Nelson giving Isles that all-important cheap production


Prior to the start of the season, much was written about the New York Islanders and the many changes they’d made to their roster.

Looking back, hopes were understandably high that the additions of goalie Jaroslav Halak, forwards Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, and Cory Conacher, plus Stanley Cup-winning defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy could turn a team that already had a superstar in John Tavares into a contender in the Eastern Conference.

But you know what way less was written about? The potential of youngsters Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome to make as big an impact as they’ve made.


As much as anything else, it’s the contributions from Nelson, 23, and Strome, 21, that have given the Isles the chance they’ve got tonight, which is to take over first place in the Metropolitan Division from Pittsburgh. (The two teams are currently tied with 28 points. The Isles host Philly; the Pens are in Boston.)

In a way, what Nelson and Strome have done this season is reminiscent of the boost that Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson gave the Kings in the 2014 playoffs. Remember that, prior to last season, the jury was still out on those two young L.A. forwards. Each had shown they could produce in the AHL; the question was, could they do it at the NHL level? They sure did in the postseason, centered by veteran Jeff Carter. At times, they were the Kings’ best line.

The combined cap hit of Toffoli and Pearson? A mere $1.795 million.

The combined cap hit of Nelson and Strome? Just a hair over $1.76 million. (Not including bonuses, but still.)

This is what the best teams in the NHL have in the cap age — at least one or two young players on cheap contracts who are making significant contributions. Think Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw in Chicago in 2013, Slava Voynov and Jake Muzzin in L.A. the year before that, and Boston’s Brad Marchand the year before that.

That’s not to say the Isles are going to win the Stanley Cup, but when a team’s two youngest players on the active roster are in the top four in club scoring, good times are quite often ahead.

Isles to park Conacher for first time this season

Cory Conacher

Cory Conacher has gone from the penthouse to the outhouse.

Or, more accurately, the top line to the press box.

The diminutive forward, who started the year playing alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, will be dropped from the lineup tonight when the Isles take on the Kings in Los Angeles, replaced by Casey Cizikas. The decision comes after Conacher finished minus-1 in just over 13 minutes in Wendesday’s 3-2 OT win over Anaheim, and with him mired in a four-game pointless streak.

What’s more, Conacher hasn’t scored since a 4-3 win over Carolina on Oct. 11 — a stretch of 10 games.

Tonight’s scratch is a tough one for Conacher, who burst onto the scene during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign and finished sixth in Calder voting. Since then, he’s fallen out of favor in both Ottawa and Buffalo, but did manage to score a one-year, $600,000 deal with the Islanders in July.


Sharks’ late surge powers them past Islanders

Brent Burns, Kyle Okposo
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The San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders spent most of Saturday’s contest tied, but the Sharks stepped up in the second half of the third period to earn a 3-1 victory.

After enduring a four-game losing streak, the Sharks have now come away with seven of a possible eight points.

Antti Niemi has played between the pipes for that recent stretch. He started the season in a battle for the starting gig with Alex Stalock and while that contest isn’t over, Niemi has done plenty lately to reassert himself as the Sharks’ top goaltender.

Logan Couture deserves a lot of credit for tonight’s win too as he was the one that finally broke the 1-1 tie at 11:50 of the second period.

James Sheppard chipped in an insurance goal less than four minutes later.

Although this was clearly a great night for San Jose, Jason Demers might find himself in the department of player safety’s sights. He delivered a check to the head of Cory Conacher in the third period and while there is a height difference there, Demers did appear to elevate his elbow:

Conacher temporarily left the game, but returned before its conclusion.

The Islanders have now dropped three straight games and are 6-5-0 this season.