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Oliver Wahlstrom Loaned to AIK in Sweden

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Oliver Wahlstrom

Oliver Wahlstrom will join Simon Holmstrom in Sweden’s second-tier pro hockey league, HockeyAllsvenska.

The Islanders announced Monday afternoon that Oliver Wahlstrom will be loaned to AIK to start their 2020-21 season. Wahlstrom can return whenever training camp opens for next season.

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The Swedish league is scheduled to being play on Sept. 11, according to a translated version of the league website. The NHL is hoping to open up camps for next season at some point in December.

The Islanders prospect appeared in nine NHL games this past season and appeared in 45 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL. He recorded 10 goals and 12 assists for the Sound Tigers.

The loan overseas will give Wahlstrom a chance to continue to develop his game, while the Islanders compete for a Stanley Cup. Wahlstrom was part of the group of players that participated in the Islanders summer training camp prior to leaving for the Toronto bubble, but he did not make the final playoff roster.

Wahlstrom was drafted 11th overall by the Islanders in the 2018 NHL draft.

Oliver Wahlstrom is now the second Islanders prospect to be loaned to the Swedish second-tier league. On Friday, the Islanders loaned Simon Holmstrom to Vita Hasten HC of HockeyAllsvenska.

Holmstrom spent this past season in Bridgeport as well. He recorded 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 46 games.

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Bridgeport Sound Tigers to Play Condensed 24 Game Schedule This Season

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers home hockey arena
Photo Courtesy: Greg Vasil/Bridgeport Sound Tigers

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers will play this season, but like their NHL counterparts, it will be in front of an empty arena.

The AHL released its 2021 schedule on Friday for what league president Scott Howson described as “a season unlike any other in our 85-year history.” The Sound Tigers will play 24 games this year and only face the Providence Bruins and Hartford Wolfpack.

The Sound Tigers are playing in the smallest of the five AHL divisions this season, with only two other teams in it.

Bridgeport will play all of its home games at Webster Bank Arena, but no fans will be allowed in the building. The team is providing season ticket holders with complimentary subscriptions to AHLTV this season, the Sound Tigers said in a press release.

“While we would be thrilled to have an arena full of cheering fans watching the Sound Tigers play, the health and safety of our fans, players and employees remain the organization’s top priority,” Bridgeport President of Business Operations Brent Rossi said in a media release. “In accordance with state and local protocols regarding public gatherings, the team will play without fans in attendance. All games will continue to be broadcast live through the AHLTV platform and the team’s online radio network.”

The Sound Tigers will open the season on the road against Providence on Feb. 5. They won’t play their first home game until Feb.13 when they host Providence at Webster Bank Arena.

“Our priorities are first and foremost health and safety,” Howson said in a statement about the upcoming season. “Our main objective is to provide a safe environment for our players to continue their development towards a career in the National Hockey League.”

The AHL had been working towards putting together some form of a season for some time now. Three of its member clubs relocated for the 2020-21 season, including Providence which will play in Marlborough, Mass.

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

New York Islanders Make Depth Signing, Ink Goaltender Francis Marotte to Deal

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Francis Marotte

Goaltender Francis Marotte signed with the New York Islanders, the 25-year-old announced on his Instagram page Friday night.

Marotte is a former goaltender at Robert Morris University and Clarkson University. During his senior year at Clarkson, Marotte had a .938 save percentage and a 1.78 goals-against average. The 6’1” goalie went 23-8-3 during the 2019-20 season.

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It was Marotte’s best collegiate season since his freshman year at Robert Morris, when he went 17-8-3 and posted a .931 save percentage.

“Words can’t explain how grateful I am for every single one of you,” Marotte wrote in the post announcing the signing. “I wouldn’t have been able to go anywhere in hockey if it wasn’t for all the support.”

Francis Marotte had been a three-year starter at Robert Morris before transferring to Clarkson using his graduate transfer option. He was invited to the Washington Capitals development in 2018.

It’s unknown the terms of the deal or if it’s an NHL two-way contract or an AHL deal. The Islanders already have four goaltenders at training camp on Long Island.

Ilya Sorokin, Semyon Varlamov, Cory Schneider and Jakub Skarek have all been on the ice this past week in East Meadow.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are light on goaltenders so adding more depth to the organization would make sense. The Sound Tigers will take part in the upcoming AHL season, which is expected to begin in February.

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Simon Holmstrom Records Two Assists for Sweden in WJC Opener

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Simon Holmstrom
Photo Courtesy: Greg Vasil/Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Simon Holmstrom got off to a good start in his first appearance at the IIHF World Junior Championships.

The Islanders prospect and Bridgeport Sound Tigers forward had a pair of assists in Sweden’s 7-1 tournament-opening win over the Czech Republic. Holmstrom’s first assist of the game came on Sweden’s second goal of the game.

Simon Holmstrom’s shot from the faceoff circle went wide of the net and then bounced right to Albin Sundsvik for the goal. He finished off the two-point afternoon with an assist on Sweden’s final goal of the game with 2:23 left in the third period and Sweden on the power play.

“For (Holmstrom) he knows the small rink may be better than most of our guys,” Sweden’s head coach Joel Ronnmark said. “He has been playing over here in North America, so he has a lot of experience he can share with the group. I think he’s a skilled player. Fun for that unit to have a goal on the power play as well and for him I as well I think it’s a good start.”

Holmstrom’s familiarity with the smaller rink comes from his time with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers last season.

The win helped Sweden extend their unbeaten streak in the World Juniors preliminary round to 53 games. It is a particularly impressive feat considering Sweden has had to deal with a rash of COVID-19 related issues, which included not being able to play any pre-tournament games.

Sweden spent a mere 32 seconds trailing the Czech Republic all game.

“At the beginning (of the game) perhaps some parts a bit rusty,” Ronnmark said. “The longer the game went I liked the way we started to play. … Good start and we’ll go from there.”

Fellow Islanders prospect Matias Rajaniemi appeared in Finland’s first game on Christmas day. Rajaniemi appeared in 3:51 of Finland’s 5-3 win over Germany.

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