Now that the draft lottery has concluded, it is time to take a quick look back at the 2009-2010 New York Islanders. If there is one word to now describe the young Islanders it is promise. There were quite a few breakout years for a some players, and a big reality check for a few of the veterans. But before I move along, if you do not recall what I was hoping from this team in August, please read here first before continuing.
Now that you have a general idea, you should know that I was quite satisfied with the end performance of the Islanders over an 82 game span. We saw players like Matt Moulson, and Rob Schremp come from the AHL purgatory to blossom into quality NHL players, improving the club. We saw the development of Blake Comeau, Josh Bailey and Frans Neilsen this year with the hopes that they can be more consistent next year. Fans got to witness a real star in the making in John Tavares. The Islanders also got major contributions from their farm system of defenseman. One of which, Andrew MacDonald, got a nice contract extension. The Islanders received great goaltending from Dwayne Roloson, and a solid end of the year work from Marty Biron, allowing Rick Dipietro time to heal his injured knee and getting himself ready for the next season. Fans needed to see some kind of overall improvement from the organization and they got it.
As for the veterans, some were already filtered out as the season progressed, but players like Martinek, Weight, Witt, and Sim may have a difficult time getting their jobs back with the Islanders. It is a simple addition by subtraction with these players removed. Richard Park may get another deal, but if he doesn't he was probably the most dedicated veteran on the squad (Weight is a close second).
With the fifth overall pick now belonging to the Islanders, much needed younger talent can be acquired and Snow and Co. could possibly get more than one first round pick (think 2008: Josh Bailey). The Islanders currently hold two third round picks, and two second round picks so expect the Islanders to be busy on draft day to be sure.
But what should fans do now? If they are truly looking at this year as a rebuild/development team this year, then they need to pay attention to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. There could be a number of players who want to prove to Scott Gordon, Garth Snow, and Charles Wang that they finally belong in the NHL. The Islanders future does depend on the Sound Tigers and if there was ever a time to see how progress has been made, now is the time to watch.
Final Thoughts: Watch playoff hockey for possible free agents, watch the Sound Tigers for the Islanders future call-ups. As we move along up until the draft, there will be more stories coming out and as fans enjoy their summer, they will be able to see a clearer picture of the Islanders future once the draft is complete and the free agents have been signed. Believe me when I tell you though, the future does look promising.