The struggling New York Islanders made a significant move on Monday, putting veteran forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard on waivers in a move designed to bring Ryan Strome — the fifth overall pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — up from AHL Bridgeport, according to Newsday.
Bouchard, 29, was signed as a free agent this summer to a one-year, $2 million deal. Though his offensive production hasn’t been terrible — four goals and nine points in 28 games — he’s minus-9 on the year and has seen his ice-time dwindle lately (he played a season-low 10 minutes against Pittsburgh last Tuesday.)
Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports that once Bouchard clears waivers or is picked up by another team, Strome will join the Islanders.
For many, this is an exciting development. Strome was part of a stellar top-five crop at the ’11 Draft — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins went first overall, followed by Gabriel Landeskog, Jonathan Huberdeau and Adam Larsson — and the former OHL Niagara standout has been tearing it up with AHL Bridgeport this season.
Strome, 20, leads the league in scoring with 33 points in 23 games, which includes a league-high 24 assists. He’s impressed in each of the last two Islander training camps and now appears primed to make his NHL debut, which could come on Tuesday when the Isles take on the Sharks in San Jose.