Kukla's Korner Hockey
The 2011 NHLPA Rookie Showcase begins tomorrow. Ryan Strome, the NY Islanders prospect who was drafted 5th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, will be among 27 rookies in attendance tomorrow in Toronto. Read more from NHLPA.com.
In prospect news, Scott Mayfield, a highly touted defenseman drafted by the NY Islanders 34th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, confirmed over the weekend that he will be playing hockey for the University of Denver this fall. Read more from The Pipeline Show.
TII Thoughts: It is very interesting that Mayfield mentioned in the interview with The Pipeline Show that he might stay at DU for 3 or 4 years due to the depth of prospects in the Islanders system. Mayfield also discussed how much he values a college education and his connections to the Denver area. Mayfield notes that if he went to play in the CHL for the Kitchener Rangers he would only have two years of eligibility there and he said “I don’t want to mess around with that.” At such a young age, I think it shows a lot of maturity that Mayfield realizes the depth of defense prospects in the Isles system and doesn’t want to rush himself and is willing to spend three or four years in college to develop his game and become a better hockey player.
With rookie camp beginning September 10th and full team practices beginning on September 17th, TII looks at five questions for the Islanders heading into training camp.
1. What will happen with the Josh Bailey contract negotiations?
Bailey and the Isles really need to come to an agreement before training camp begins or it could start getting ugly. Owner Charles Wang will stick to his strategy that no player will be on the team during the season if they are not signed before training camp. One sticking point in contract negotiations may be the length of the deal. The Islanders have a lot of good centers on their team and have a lot of good center prospects in their system. While Bailey is still very young at 21, he needs to begin producing in line with being the 9th overall draft pick or the Isles may be forced to go in a different direction. There has been a lot of trade speculation about Bailey and I think the Isles may still be looking to add a veteran defenseman before the season starts. If the Isles are committed to Bailey, they need to sign him in the very near future or things could get ugly. I think the team and Bailey will come to an agreement soon, but it is not as much of a guarantee as once thought.
From Chris Botta at NYI Point Blank:
“There’s no question in my mind. The Islanders are competitive again.”
This is what one of four NHL pro scouts told Point Blank this week for a preseason poll. Four out of four scouts surveyed were confident the Islanders will contend for a playoff berth in 2011-12.
“They’ll be in the playoff race in the East until the end,” said another. “I don’t see more than five teams running away with playoff positions by the start of March. All of the teams that didn’t make the playoffs got better in the offseason. I think this will be a wild playoff race. I wouldn’t be surprised if as many as 9 teams were fighting for the final 2 or 3 spots in late March. For the Islanders, it’s going to come down to how well their D and goaltending hold up.”
From Dyan LeBourdais and the NY Islanders Official Website:
Waking up every day to do something that has inspired you since you were a child is not something many people can say about their lives. Howie Rose, the Islanders and Mets play-by-play voice, is one of the lucky few.
In the summer of 1961, Rose fell in love with baseball. Just a few miles from his childhood home in the Bronx stood Yankee Stadium. Though, Rose was not a casual or periodic visitor to the historic ballpark. His father and extended family were huge Yankee fans that spent countless summer afternoons and evenings rallying around their favorite team.
From Brett Cyrgalis at the NY Post:
The possibility that any of the aging forwards lurking around the Islanders were going to score contracts was at least temporarily squashed yesterday by general manager Garth Snow.
“Right now, I don’t have any plans to add another forward to our group,” Snow told The Post. “As much as we’d like to add quality veterans, we’re not going to box out our young guys.”
The biggest name that caused a stir was Alexei Yashin, who was recently skating at the Islanders’ practice facility in Syosset. The 37-year-old Yashin is on the Islanders’ payroll through the 2014-15 season, but hasn’t played a game for the Islanders—or in the NHL—in four years.
TII Thoughts: While it is great that Snow allows alumni use of the Isles facilities, it would be a huge mistake for the team to allow Yashin or Satan to don an Isles sweater this season. While he did leave the door open with his last quote, it looks like Snow is pretty set on starting the season with the team he has now. I don’t think it would hurt to bring in a veteran forward to help the young guys mature, but I like Snow’s philosophy of “not boxing out the young guys.”
Below are TII’s Islanders fantasy stat projections for the upcoming season. The lines are obviously speculation at this point and are assumed. Other assumptions that these projections are based on: 1) Evgeni Nabokov is going to be with the team for the majority of the season and starts the season as the #1 goaltender, 2) Nino Niederreiter is going to start the season with the Isles, and 3) Calvin de Haan will either start the season in the NHL or be called up early in the season. The defensemen listed below are in no particular order. Do you guys agree with the stat projections? Do you agree with the lines I have below?
As most of you know, Icethetics.info confirmed the new sweater looks for the 2011-2012 season earlier today. As for my thoughts on the Islanders third jersey, I can sum it up in one word-embarrasing. In reading the message boards and blogs throughout the day, it seems like most everyone agrees with me. I love the Isles regular home and away jerseys, but these third jerseys are horrible. The only thing that I remotely like is that “Islanders” is written across the chest. The color scheme is horrendous. I know when there was a lot of discussion over the summer about colors for the third jersey that fans didn’t want the color black as the main color. So, following sensible logic, the third jersey mostly features the color black.
The three candidates to start this season:
Rick DiPietro-Last season was an injury shortened season for DiPietro and when he did play he put up very bloated stats with an .886 save percentage and a 3.44 goals against. DiPietro is by no means the anointed starter for the Islanders-putting aside his huge long-term contract. DiPietro better look out because if he is outperformed in camp by both Montoya and Nabokov, I think there is a strong possibility that he won’t even be on the team to start the season. The Islanders need to do what’s best for the team here and if they have two better goalies who are performing, they don’t need to keep DiPietro in the NHL just because of his 15 year, $67.5 million contract.
Per Katie Strang at Newsday:
“Soon after the defeat of Nassau County’s referendum to build the Islanders a new arena, Brooklyn arose as an attractive option for the team’s relocation. That possibility is now looking more realistic. A league spokesperson confirmed to Newsday reports that Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner and CEO Brett Yormark met with NHL officials at the league office in Manhattan recently. The spokesperson declined to discuss the nature of the meeting—an additional league source defined it as “very general and conceptual in nature”—but it is likely that the Islanders’ potential relocation to Brooklyn was a topic of discussion.”
Earlier this month, Yormark indicated through an emailed statement to Newsday that the Barclays Center was a viable option for the team.
TII thoughts: If the Islanders have to move from Long Island, I think Brooklyn is the best relocation option. The Barclays Center is going to be a state of the art facility with a seating capacity of 14,500 for hockey. It is in a great location and adjacent to a subway stop. But, hopefully they stay on Long Island.
The Islanders Informer
NHL.com writer John Kreiser wrote a column earlier this week on 15 Eastern Conference players on the hot seat to produce this season. One of the players Kreiser listed on the hot seat is Islanders defenseman Mark Streit.
Kreiser said of Streit:
“The Isles’ season took a turn for the worse when Streit, their best defenseman, was lost for the year after injuring his shoulder in a training camp scrimmage. All indications are that Streit is healthy again; if he is as productive as he was in his first two seasons on Long Island, it would be a major boost for a team trying to end a four-year playoff drought.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org