It seems Parker Wotherspoon did enough in his brief eight-game professional hockey career to impress the New York Islanders.
The Cloverdale native has signed a three-year entry level contract with the Isles, the National Hockey League (NHL) team announced Monday. Wotherspoon, 18, was drafted by the Islanders in last summer’s NHL Entry Draft in the fourth round (112th overall).
His brother Tyler Wotherspoon, also a defenceman, is currently playing in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Stockton Heat, the top farm team of the Calgary Flames.
“Beyond excited to have signed with the @nyislanders! Proud to be a part of the organization,” Wotherspoon tweeted Monday evening.
For the past three seasons, the six-foot, 171-pound defenceman has played for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. He played in 71 of 72 regular season games this past season, scoring 11 goals and adding 45 assists.
Wotherspoon has 22 goals and 94 assists in 210 career games in the WHL, and has also won two medals while playing in international competition.
He won a bronze medal playing for Canada at the 2015 Under-18 World Junior Championships and a silver with Team Pacific at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Americans failed to qualify for the playoffs this past season, and five days after their final game, Wotherspoon signed an ATO (Amateur Tryout Contract) with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
He played in six regular season games and two playoff contests, recording a pair of assists. He also racked up 15 penalty minutes, all accumulated in a fight April 16 against the Albany Devils.
After the Tigers were eliminated from the AHL playoffs Friday night, Wotherspoon was among a group of seven prospects called up to the NHL team by the Islanders.
While he won’t see any game action while the Islanders face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL playoffs, skating with and being around NHL players will help his development.
“You get an idea of where your game is and what you need to do,” said Islanders each coach Jack Capuano said. “It’s a great learning curve when they come up. A few guys that we’ve had in the past, whether it’s one game or five games or 10 games, they know exactly what their deficiencies are and what they have to do to work on in the offseason.”
As a 19-year-old, Wotherspoon won’t be eligible to play in the AHL next season, so unless he surprisingly makes the Islanders team, will likely be back in Kennewick, Washington for a fourth season with the Americans.