Jeff Tambellini, who was one of the main reasons Chris Simon was moved which thus allowed him a full-time position, has been sent down to the Islanders Bridgeport affiliate once again this season.
I really have to wonder what the organization's feel for Tamby is at this point in his career. He was the first round pick of the L.A. Kings back in 2003, picked at 27th overall. He's now 23, entering his prime, and only has 4 points in 31 GP (1g, 3a). If the team was so intent on keeping him up here for the remainder of the season, why is he being sent back down to Bridgeport?
It's hard to say what the team may be really thinking. It was announced that he was sent back down to the minors in order to help Bridgeport push for the playoffs as they are just outside of the AHL Playoff picture. Being that he dominated the AHL while he was down there, it makes sense why the Isles would send down their proven AHL all-star to help their farm team.
But why only Tambellini? Nielsen comes back from an injury that sidelined him for weeks and has less GP in the NHL than Tambellini, and he gets right back into the lineup. I do understand why Tambellini was sent down, but I'm trying to read between the lines and I think I may see something here.
I have always been one of the Tambellini supporters, saying the kid was not given enough ice time and probably lacked any confidence within himself since he was being shuffled back and forth from Bridgeport. It reflects in his play, at least from my perspective. I've noticed him carry the puck and get in a prime position in the slot and instead of shooting, he'll pass to someone off to the side - that right there is a prime case of not having enough confidence in yourself. The following play he did shoot, but it was from the wall about five feet away from the goal line - a nearly impossible angle.
Maybe management is beginning to notice this and feel he's just not ready. Perhaps he'll never be ready, and that's the concern of most Islander fans. I've heard some predict that he'll be nothing more than an AHL all-star for the rest of his career. If that's what the organization thinks of him I have a feeling you may see him traded this summer. It's very hard to guess on this since the organization had committed to him playing up here but then send him back down to the minors with a legitimate reason.
All I know is that whenever he is back up here, if he wants a permanent place to stay, he has to start burying that puck or we may see him trying to crack another lineup elsewhere.