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Islanders 30 in 30

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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.


William Morrison
@TheIsleInformer
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

Comments

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1. Nino will make it, he may play fourth line minutes in third line situtations, but they are all but committed to him for this season. Not going to go over the top with 20+ goal predictions, but he will get a better than fair shot.
2. Out of the Eastern basement for sure (since they weren’t even there last year), but the Atlantic is still going to be tough. Jersey and Philly are the great unknowns.
3. Streit and Okposo have any impact? Does the question even need to be asked?  Getting back their best defenseman and seeing Okposo on the line with Nielsen and Grabner is a no-brainer.

I’m sorry to say that I’m still not convinced they make the playoffs this season. There shouldn’t be a tremendous amount of disappointment if they fall into the 9 thru 11 range in the East. This team is coming back from a deep hole and its not like they picked number one overall back-to-back seasons or three seasons in a row of 1-2-1 picks to build up a bankrupt franchise.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 08/18/11 at 02:36 PM ET

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I agree.  If they finish 9 or 10 in the East, it will probably be considered a productive season depending on how competitive the East is and how competitive they are in the tough Atlantic Division.  I think they will be better than 12th in the East as THN predicted.  However, I think they have a realistic shot at the playoffs if everything falls into place correctly, they get solid goaltending, they play good D, and they have no catastrophic injuries.  (I know, that is a lot of ifs)

You mention Jersey and Philly.  You think Bryzgalov is the answer in Philly?  I don’t know what to think of the Devils yet.  We will see.  You think Parise will be named captain?

Posted by William Morrison on 08/18/11 at 02:49 PM ET

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Not sure what to think of Philly, long term stronger, short term worse. Will Bryzgalov be any better than “Bob” was to start last season? Doubtful. Jagr have anything left in the tank? Doubtful, but they are falling from a better spot than the Islanders are digging out from.

Devils question is it the first 40 or last 40 games that show up? Can a coach make that much difference in hockey? Apparently he can. They have the talent although it is loaded on the wing, have a little bit more cap flexibility and will be focused. Does Marty start to wear down even more?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 08/18/11 at 03:25 PM ET

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Brodeur is still Brodeur, but I think his stats from last year have to be little troubling for Devils fans.  His save percentage was only .903 and his GAA was 2.45.

Posted by William Morrison on 08/18/11 at 03:30 PM ET

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His injuries would be what worries me if I were a Devil fan.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 08/18/11 at 07:44 PM ET

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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.

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