With a very uneventful trade deadline behind us, what can Islanders fans look forward to? Answer: The future. The future is watching Tavares, Bailey, Okposo and a young defensive corp play the final 19 games and really decide if this team is worth the ticket prices for next year. Make no mistake, this team is certainly worth watching, but a really good indication will be how this young team can finish the 2009-10 season.
If the Islanders can finish anywhere in the seventies, this was a good year for a developing club. They will almost assuredly have a top 6 pick in this years draft, and should pick the best player available. For now, it's too early to think free agency, just concentrate on the final games of this season. So far this blogger is liking the future.
Hello Blake Comeau!!!! Where have you been?! The Islanders may end the season with 2-3 players who score 20+ goals (Moulson, Tavares, Okposo), but if the development continues and stay healthy, you can probably add another two (Comeau, Bailey) to that list for next year. This years offensive youth corp will make free agency needs a little easier in terms of how many top 6 forwards the Islanders need.
As for the defense, they're all up in the NHL, including Dylan Reese, who replaces Andrew MacDonald who's out with a broken foot for a couple of weeks. Hillen, MacDonald, and Kohn have developed very nicely and are contributing by playing solid defense, and have the wheels and stamina to log big minutes. If these young players can find a scoring touch in the next 19 games, the Islanders could be spoilers to a few teams. What the Islanders may need for next year is Andy Sutton minus about 10 years and can put in 7-10 goals a year.
Overall the current young Islanders are developing nicely before us. Few players are growing, while a nice crop will be coming in from juniors and the college ranks to fill in the voids in Bridgeport next year. For now, enjoy the rest of the hockey season while it's still here. I'll be having more blogs in the upcoming days concerning the future of the team in terms of players and the remaining 19 games.