From Ryan Kennedy at the Hockey News.
"Which brings me to John Tavares and the Islanders. Looking up and down the New York roster right now, I’m not sure what GM Garth Snow’s master plan is. Tavares is a preternatural goal-scorer, but he can’t do it himself and the forward corps on Long Island is looking pretty thin."
There is no question that the Islanders, entering the second year of a rebuild, must now filter out some young players who will not be able hold their own on this team. This is the year where the Islanders offense will be looking for an identity: Who will score, who's the playmaker, who's going to crash the net, so on and for forth. The Islanders are thin (literally) in size, and this year will determine whether or not the Islanders are thin in quality.
Doug Weight mentoring Tavares this year will be beneficial for him, as he gets to know what goes on in the NHL for an entire year. But even Weight probably won't be around the whole time. Okposo, and Bailey will have to be healthy to make any kind of impact and make their names in the NHL. More should be expected from Okposo than Bailey, but at the same time, more goals from Bailey is needed.
The young core in Bridgeport are not yet ready. Believe this, the talent is there, it is just not developed enough for any of them to make the jump to the pros. Again what Bridgeport needs to do is show management that they can make the playoffs, and then go deep. Once that happens, then the Islanders can boast having very strong depth in the minors, waiting for their chance.
Having said all this, I agree with what Kennedy said: " Alex Tanguay, Maxim Afinogenov and Vaclav Prospal are all still out there and the Isles have loads of salary cap space." You can add Zherdev (my choice all along) to that list as well.
The Islanders will have plenty of players being moved during the season to make a trade for prospects, picks, or get a decent player in return. However, if the Islanders don't want to be in the cellar again, then signing another forward with some scoring potential, is necessary for both Tavares and the Islanders.