The Islanders signed Steve Bernier to a professional tryout. After struggling in ’13-14, the 30-year old ex-Devil forward bounced back with 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points in 67 games. The 16 markers were a new career best and 32 points matched a career high.
Despite a strong ’14-15, he drew no interest. Bernier will attend Islanders training camp next week. He’ll get the chance to earn a roster spot. That won’t be easy considering the Isles’ forward depth. Led by captain John Tavares, they boast deepest forward crop in the Metropolitan Division. Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome, Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen, Anders Lee, Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski, Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck and Michael Grabner all return. Only Brock Nelson remains unsigned as a Group II.
The Isles also signed former 2008 third round pick Kirill Petrov. Now 25, the Russian spent his pro career in the Kontinental Hockey League starring for Kazan Ak-Bars. It’s anyone’s guess what he’ll bring.
With the club finally relocated to Brooklyn where they’ll play at Barclays Center, there’s plenty of reason for excitement. Fresh off a first round appearance, the franchise is on the upswing. Expectations are high.