Kukla's Korner Hockey
by William Morrison on 08/18/11 at 10:27 AM ET
NHL.com’s 30 in 30 takes a look at the New York Islanders today. The introduction to Brian Compton’s piece:
“The time is now for the New York Islanders. For a franchise that still doesn’t have a deal in place for a new building, it is imperative that the Islanders accelerate what has been a slow and steady rebuilding process and qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007. GM Garth Snow believed he had assembled a playoff team last summer, then watched his top defenseman Mark Streit and power forward Kyle Okposo suffer serious shoulder injuries before the puck even dropped on the 2010-11 season.”
Compton further states:
“Snow wasn’t a big player in free agency, but he did improve his club up front. The Islanders signed Marty Reasoner to replace Zenon Konopka on the first day of free agency and more recently acquired Brian Rolston from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Trent Hunter. Both Reasoner and Rolston are quality veterans who are expected to contribute both on and off the ice. Now fully healthy, the Islanders boast a young, talented core that is eager to put the franchise back on the map. With their top blueliner back in the mix, this group—headed by John Tavares—could be one of the surprise teams in the Eastern Conference this season. Let’s not forget that New York went 25-21-8 over its last 54 games.”
Greg Picker adds 3 questions for the 2011-2012 season: “1) Does Nino Niederreiter make the team?, 2) Can the Islanders break out of the cellar of the Atlantic Division?, 3) How will the return of Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo impact the team?”
TII answers: 1) YES. See my post on Nino’s possible impact this season here. 2) Absolutely. See my discussion on the Islanders potential for a breakout year here. 3) The return of Streit and Okposo cannot be underestimated. Streit is one of the most underrated defensemen in the league. He was poised for a huge season last year before coming down with two serious shoulder injuries and missing the entire season. All indications are that Streit is close to 100%. Streit is a leader on the Isles blue line and is very important in helping the Islanders young defensemen in their development. Okposo is arguably the Isles best power forward and is a leader up front. The return of two players who have worn the “A” in the past will be huge for this team.
Compton also notes the departure of Radek Martinek and retirement of Doug Weight. I agree with Compton that the additions of veterans Brian Rolston and Marty Reasoner will be huge in the locker room and it will be important for the youth of this Islanders team to see how they carry themselves both on and off the ice throughout the season.
Compton concludes with this: “It’s time things go right for a franchise that is desperate for good times.” I couldn’t agree more.
For the entirety of the preview, click here.
The Islanders Informer
Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, William Morrison, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brian+rolston, john+tavares, kyle+okposo, mark+streit, marty+reasoner, nino+neiderreiter, radek+martinek, trent+hunter, zenon+konopka
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