The AHL’s Bridgeport Islanders have signed a duo of New York Islanders drafted prospects, defenseman Christian Krygier and forward Jacob Pivonka, to AHL contracts for the 2023-24 season. The team also signed undrafted free agent forward Riley Piercey out of juniors from the OHL’s Flint Firebirds.
After finishing their collegiate careers, Krygier’s and Pivonka’s NHL signing rights are set to expire on August 15. While the AHL signings imply the Islanders won’t be offering them entry-level contracts before then, the deals allow the Islanders to keep them within the organization and continue to evaluate them. After August 15, however, Krygier and Pivonka would still be free to sign NHL contracts with any team at any time.
The Islanders selected Krygier in the seventh round of the 2018 NHL Draft. The 23-year-old defenseman played his fifth and final season for Michigan State University in 2022-23, recording a goal and three assists in 28 games whilst serving as an alternate captain. The son of former NHLer Todd Krygier and the brother of Los Angeles Kings prospect Cole Krygier, he is a physical defenseman first and foremost, recording 228 penalty minutes during his 158 games at Michigan State. He appeared in two games with Bridgeport on a tryout after the conclusion of his collegiate season, posting a -1 rating and one shot on goal.
Pivonka, also 23, was selected three rounds earlier in 2018. The 5-foot-11 center transferred from Notre Dame to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for his final collegiate season, hitting double-digit goals for the first time in the NCAA. Known mostly for his speed and puckhandling abilities, Pivonka went pointless in four games with Bridgeport on his tryout to end the 2022-23 season.
Piercey, who will also try and earn an entry-level deal with the Islanders, plays a power forward type game. The 21-year-old winger stands at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds and put up 70 points and 65 penalty minutes in 67 games with the Firebirds this season. After back-to-back 20-goal campaigns in junior hockey, Piercey will try and make an impact in Bridgeport’s bottom-six and impress the Islanders’ front office.