The preseason is great for making predictions about our teams future for the year. The in-depth analysis from all the major magazines and web sites, makes for great reading for the fans who cannot wait for the hockey season to start. The Islanders have to be one of the more difficult teams to predict this year due to having 600 man games lost to injury last year. From what I've seen/read many columns have the Islanders finishing 12th. I can live with that number if I wasn't a fan of the Islanders. However, I think it's more of the idea that no one really knows how far the Islanders can go because they're always injured. Entering this season, the Islanders are in fact, healthy, including their goaltender Rick Dipietro who was an all-star the last time he was healthy. But this team has improved while he's been gone, so let's take a quick look at the team in front of him:
Offense: This team should be able to score 240 goals, there is enough talent on this team for it. That amount should be enough for a push or a long run into the playoffs, watch for Tavares to improve his numbers and make others around him better. If Nino Neiderrieter explodes into the NHL with 20 goals or more, the Isles will make the playoffs.
Defense: With Streit coming back, the defense improves greatly. Powerplay numbers will improve and overall defense. Andrew MacDonald in my opinion will be the next Paul Martin and will have a breakout year along with Travis Hamonic. If the rest of the defense remain healthy and the Isles do sign Steve Staio, we're looking at a solid defense for the season.
Goaltending: As stated before, Dipietro and the other goaltenders are healthy and ready to go. Three healthy goalies should be a luxury for this team who went through an assembly line of goalies last year. Solid goaltending keeping there team in every game will be key. If that happens, a lot of people will be shocked by seasons end.
Final note: It really comes down to health. If the Islanders stay healthy, they're making a push and will be really close come April. If a few young players have breakout years, they're in and will be looking to upset a few teams. If I had to come up with a final season point total, for now, I'm looking at 85-90 points. Lots to be excited for, time for the preseason to end.......Your thoughts?