Saturday, December 29, 2012

Isles Talk: Nelson Excelling Under The Radar

I was looking on the TSN site and Craig Button (who I have a lot of respect for when it comes to the NHL draft) released and article showing the top 30 NHL Affiliated Prospects. Of course I was curious so I clicked on it and you can click here to read it. Now the criteria was simple. The player had to be less than 24 years of age and played no more than 10 NHL games. Fair enough. Of course Ryan Strome made the list at number 10 and rightfully so. I had a senior moment looking for Nino, but realized he had “played” 55 games in the NHL so he was out. But the next first rounder from the Islanders I was curious about didn’t make the list......continue

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Isles Talk: My Scouting Report On Bridgeport

Last weekend I had the opportunity to watch in person the Sound Tigers play the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Wilkes-Barre Pa. For me this was a big important game, not because it was a local game for me, but because the AHL Penguins have been nothing short of dominant in the AHL. Ten straight years in the playoffs with a Conference Championship and Calder Cup Champions. This was going to be an excellent test for the young Sound Tigers as they were going up against a Penguins team that should have close to 5 or 6 players playing in the NHL this season, if it happens. My report will not include Travis Hamonic because, he’s been NHL ready. So, he we go!!! Let’s start with the offense. Continue Reading

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Possible Free Agents 2012

As Sunday July 1st, comes this weekend, I will be attending my cousin’s graduation parties on Long Island and possibly enjoying some beach time instead of being glued to the television waiting anxiously for any free agent news. If you’re an Islanders fan, I would enjoy the nice summer weather as well because the free agency signing will not be so hot for the Islanders. The Islanders do need to spend more money this summer, but reaching the cap floor will not be a problem. Also I believe since the Islanders are not really on the radars of the major free agents such as Parise and Suter, the Isles may stay patient and look at all their options some more. Having said that, let’s take a look at what the Islanders needs are and what free agents could help with those needs.
            The most glaring need for the Islanders offense, in my opinion, is a second line center or a 17+ goal scoring one. Heaven forbid John Tavares goes down with an injury and the thought of Frans Nielsen taking over the number one duties just down right scares me. After looking at a lot of unrestricted free agent options your choices are: Ollie Jokinen, Jason Arnott, Rob Schremp, Alexi Yashin and……Ryan Strome. Don’t get me wrong, my first choice is Jokinen, but I don’t see him wanting to come back to Long Island. Ditto Jason Arnott and the Islanders don’t want to bring back either Schremp or Yashin. Look for Ryan Strome to be the number 2 center.
            Now for defense, the Islanders have four players currently under contract. There have been reports that Dylan Reese has been in negotiations with the Islanders and from what I’ve read, a few season ticket holders have been told by Garth Snow that one, maybe two prospects from Bridgeport could make the big club. If Reese resigns, look for only one. That leaves one defenseman needed. I’m not going to insult Islanders fans on what is needed here, I mean, have you seen any other big guy other than Hamonic?  Again, what the Islanders need is a big and nasty, crease clearing defenseman: I’ll take a Bryan Allen (first choice), Bryce Salvador, Shaone Morrison, Sheldon Souray, maybe even Pavel Kubina. But these players may not be bought on July 1st.
            There is also a possibility that the Islanders make a trade or two to get the type of player(s) Garth Snow wants, now that our prospect pool is loaded, anything is possible. So my advice to all the Islanders fans, go out and enjoy your day on July 1st but keep your smart phones handy, just in case.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quick Review Of The Draft & Moving to July 1st

Now that most of the hoopla is over with the draft, I'm just going to give my perspective on what the Islanders have done for their future with this particular draft. First off, the drafting of Griffin Reinhart was certainly the best move the Islanders could do. Many have been cautiously comparing him to Shea Weber. If Reinhart can come close to that kind of potential, big win for the Islanders. But it's what they did after Reinhart that intrigues me the most.

The Islanders went out and drafted 6 more defenseman. Some of them (4 to be exact)  have some size to them, something these fans are not accustomed to seeing. If you were to tack on the current prospects already in the system, you're looking at least 7 players (Mayfield, Pedan, Wishart, and from what I hear Kichton is no slouch either) that could make an impact for the Islanders in the future. So as far as I am concerned, this was a great draft for the Islanders. Do I think all 7 make the big club? Probably not. None of these players, except maybe Wishart, will be in the lineup after 10 games into the NHL season. I would think more along the lines of 2-3 years away. But I cannot help to think the Islanders pulled a "Ottawa Senator" by accumulating lots of defenseman only to trade a good defenseman for some needed offense (hello Rundblad for Kyle Turris?).  So even if two or three prospect defenseman pan out to be future NHL'ers, Garth Snow has a good problem ahead of him. Which leads into July 1st.

Unfortunately, unless the Isles decide to trade another future draft pick, I don't see the Isles making a huge splash in this upcoming free agency. To be honest, I (or for that fact nobody) know(s) what Snow's plans are. He has been true to form in not trading away prospects for quick fixes (for now). Parenteau will probably not be resigned by the Islanders, but I think the more glaring problem will be at center, which could use more scoring from that department. I don't think Cizikas is the answer and I'm not sure if the Islanders will play Ryan Strome this year, but looking at this years unrestricted free agents, it might be wise to make a trade for a center or let Strome do another 9 games and go from there. Comments? Don't forget to follow me @Netminder39.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Draft Day: The Islanders Will Pick........

Islanders fans, welcome to the start of your new season. I'm sure everyone is excited and curious about what Garth Snow and company will do today. Will they pick at number 4 or will they trade down like in 2008? Make no mistake, the Islanders cannot afford to not make a pick in the first round, so rest assurd there will be a first rounder this year. So what should they do? My thoughts.....

As I said, I (along with the rest of you) expected a little more from this team last year. I was hoping for a top 10 pick, somewhere between 7-10 in this lottery, so I would not be surprised if the Isles traded down to that range, only if the team gets a player who could help them now. But I honestly believe it will come down to when the Islanders are on the clock and they look at who is available. The "Draft drama" as I like to call it has rumblings of Murray being available, even Nail Yakupov slipping to 4th. My gut is telling me Murray will be taken before the Isles pick. If "Fail for Nail" is available, the Isles must pick him.

But there are two more reasonable picks that will most likely be available for the Islanders in Forsberg and Reinhart. Both would be excellent additions to the prospect pool, but I'm hoping the Islanders select....Reinhart. Why? Because the Islanders need a draft pick who would be ready for NHL duty this coming year and there seems to be plenty of room for a defenceman rather than a forward. I'm going against conventional Islanders wisdom of them drafting a forward in the first round because Reinhart is too good to pass by. Then again, I was hoping the Islanders drafted Cam Fowler a few years back also.

So Reinhart is my pick, actually he's been my pick for a few months now. But Snow has enough prospects where you could see a trade or two to speed up the development of this young team. For now, I wouldn't be surprised if Anders Lee or a Ty Wishart were traded for either another a pick or for a player or look for a package. Just take a look at the depth of this team by position and you will notice these two and a few more may not be able to get a shot at this teams lineup. For now, enjoy the draft and I'll be back with another article about the draft.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Islanders Season In Review: Offense, Coaches & GM

Part two of the Islanders season in review will begin with what I called the enigma also known as the offense. I was able to watch about 60 games this year and on numerous occasions it was either the "John Tavares Line" or there wasn't any secondary scoring for the Islanders that dictated wins and losses. Even in the post games, secondary scoring was brought up so many times, that it was basically the norm towards the end of the season. When I hear or see the words "Secondary scoring," I automatically think "Who's the center?" That Islanders fans is your pressing need: a 20 goal scoring center. I'll take a 20 goal "bad season" from Grabner and stick either Parenteau or Okposo in there on right wing, but you have to have a scoring threat in the middle for the Islanders to be productive. I love Neilsen, but he's a third line center with great shoot out skills. The Islanders need more during regulation to get pressure off of Tavares. When I hear the "John Tavares Line," I can recall when it was just Nick Andersson, Robert Reichel and Ziggy Palffy as the only scoring threat for the Isles. They needed more, and like this team now, more should be at center.
Having said that, I like the idea of possibly having a third line of Bailey-Neilsen-Ullstrom for a full season. To finish off the fourth line of Joensuu-Reasoner-Martin to start next season. it's better than what the Isles had, which I will get to.

Coaches: The assistant coaches are gone, so addition by subtraction has already taken place. With Thompson coming in as an assistant from Bridgeport, I would take him over Scott Allen. Doug Weight did his job as power play coach, which means Capuano may be on a 20 game leash. Why 20? Because to start the season, the Isles went 5-11-4. Not sinking their season, but certainly not helping their cause. They did manage to go 29-26-7 for the remainder of the season, something Scott Gordon couldn't do, so Cap should be in he hot seat at the start of the season. That is of course, if Snow can deliver the right pieces.....Moving on.

GM: Last summer was by far the worst summer for Garth Snow. After basically not doing anything in the offseason, you know you're in trouble when the owner and GM have their team making the playoffs and everyone else doesn't. Jay Pandolfo, Marty Reasoner, Brian Rolston, Steve guys get the picture. While the Islanders did nothing, their divisional foes got younger and more talented, while the Islanders got older while still nursing the future. Time for Snow to make some smart decisions like he did Moulson, Grabner, Parenteau and find young players who just need a place to show they belong in the NHL, not some once ones trying to resurrect their careers when theirs was over three years ago. It starts at the draft on Friday Mr. Snow.

Coming up later tonight, an article on the draft this coming Friday. What should Snow do with the pick?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Islanders Season In Review: Goalies and Defense

Before I begin, I would like to say that I am a huge fan of winning through the draft and player development. I believe that is how a team should win. I had always admired the Islanders of the late 70's and early 80's when they were winning year after year and then making the timely trades to push them to the Cup victories. Having said that, I have respect in recent times for teams like Detroit, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Boston because they have won in the same manner. Having said that, what I witnessed from this years Islanders team was that patience is a virtue.

At the beginning of the season I had the Islanders playing for 85-90 points, somewhere close to 10th place in the conference. Luckily for me, there were a few bloggers, writers and critics who were predicting the same thing, so I wasn't off base. The Isles ended up with 79 points and once again were in the draft lottery. Speaking for myself, this was a disappointing season and in no way should the Islanders be in the top five of this years draft. Now there are not going to be any grades. I'm not a teacher, but, I will be going over each position, including the management to illustrate where the holes are in this organization. Let's start with the goalies.

Goalies: Once again, the Islanders proved you can never have enough goalies. They dressed six goalies but played five, which is still at least two too many. Evgeni Nabokov started in 41 games winning almost half  of them (19). He went out with a lower body injury a couple of times during the season. Al Montoya started 26 games and could only accomplish 9 wins, but to his defense, it was said that he was playing through an upper body injury and possibly some concussion symptoms. In my opinion, he gets a pass for the last part of his season of troubled times. Rick DiPietro played in only 8 games due to a groin injury. See a pattern folks. If the Islanders want to make it into the mid 80's, there needs to be two goaltenders on the team not three. No team holds three goaltenders.

How to fill in the holes: For next season Nabokov should be the starter and, health permitting, should be able to play 55+ games. Whoever the backup is should be healthy and ready because of Nabokov taking control of the net. The bright spots for the goaltending are Poulin and Nilsson, who are developing nicely in Bridgeport, but to be fair, I think Poulin could use at most half a season while Nilsson could use a full season of development. However, their futures are looking good on Long Island.

Defense: Half of the top six defenseman played in 65 games or less. That's less than 80 percent folks. You're just not gonna win games when your top six only "show up" for 65 games. Steve Staios and Mark Eaton were the worst in giving up goals 5 on 5, while I believe Milan Jurcina did not use his huge size effectively nor was he nasty enough.  Moving on to the core players I believe Captain Mark Streit had very good offensive numbers despite missing all of the 2010-2011 season. I would like to see him with a combination of a better, younger defenceman than Staios and someone who could be a little more grittier than Jurcina. As for MacDonald and Hamonic, I truly believe this could have been a case of the sophomore slump since it was there second full season together. I would expect them to have bounce back years next year, and I'm going on record now, watch for Hamonic because he will be a player on a mission. In the system, Dylan Reese was very good for the Isles defensively in 28 games and looked liked he belonged. Aaron Ness and Matt Donovan got a few games under their belt.

How to fill in the holes: For me, it's simple addition by subtraction as Staios, Eaton and Jurcina are all unrestricted free agents. Let them go. The defense could be improved just by bringing up Donovan, Wishart and Ness and resigning the unrestricted Reese. I don't see that happening, but my point is if the Isles have trouble defensively, there is a good developed defensive pool in Bridgeport to pick and choose from.

Coming up soon on my next blog, we'll take a look at the offense and coaching staff including the General Manager. As always comments are always welcomed.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Have The Islanders Arrived?

I really need to stick to my guns when I make an original prediction. Scroll down a couple of writings (2/29) and you'll noticed I had hoped for 83-88 point from the Islanders. Then, in my last post, I thought for sure 77 was the magic number. Welcome to the enigma and the growing pains (of all kinds) that are the New York Islanders. They currently have 77 points with five games remaining after whipping a Pittsburgh team twice in a home and home series. The Islanders have found life in the form of the Bailey-Neilsen-Okposo line. You all know the numbers and you know the stats, to put it simply, they're on fire. Most important, the Islanders are winning without the help of their first line and their start center John Tavares.

As a fan, I could not be happier getting out of the lottery draft because I firmly believed that the Islanders simply did not belong in that mix. Yes there is still five games left and anything is possible, but my hope is that the Islanders get close enough to 80 points so they can avoid it. I've been reading a lot from fans saying that these games are meaningless and that there is no pressure for the Islanders, win or lose. I see where they are coming from, but only to a point. If you look at the Islanders schedule from this month, there are only two teams (Toronto and Tampa) that really are not playing for anything at this point. Every one else is either in a race for a playoff or even bigger, their division. So there is some meaning for the other team to win against the Islanders, but on the flip side, the Islanders don't want to be beaten down anymore that what they've gone through already, so pride has meaning for players and fans alike. Many fans have come to think that the Islanders did not have an Identity this season, which is true, but they have one right now....spoilers and they're doing a great job of playing that role.

But seeing players excel the way they have recently, is it less pressure or has this team finally turned the corner? Are Islanders fans witnessing a very promising future or just another tease? No doubt, fans expected more in the free agency last summer from Garth Snow than what was done, but what fans weren't expecting was the rise of players Snow drafted such as David Ullstrom, Casey Cizikas and the excitement of maybe having Michael Haley up for a full season along with having Nino Neiderreiter on a scoring line. Make no mistake, this offseason is crucial for Snow, the Islanders and it's fans, but what needs to be seen are the players who are excelling now do the same thing in October and November when the season begins to compliment what hopes to be a good offseason of acquisitions.  That responsibility lays squarely on the head coach, whoever that may be. This team needs to be assembled and ready before training camp, no more invites and sudden signings. The coach must have this team wanting to win and win early. If this all comes together, then it's time the players looked at themselves in their mirrors and show to the rest of the NHL that they, the Islanders, truly have arrived and show that these last games of the season are not meaningless.  

Isles 5 Pitt 3

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Isles sign Grahame

NYISkinny: Eric Hornick's Blog: Isles sign Grahame: The Isles have signed veteran netminder John Grahame to a contract for the rest of the season.  This will allow Kevin Poulin (and Anders Nil...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Isles Win 5-3 over Pens Highlights

Which Draft Number Will The Next 7 Games Bring......

Looking at the remaining seven games for the Isles: two against Pittsburgh, Boston, Ottawa, New Jersey, Winnipeg and Columbus, I can't help but ponder where the Isles are going to end up in the draft lottery this year. Frankly, its upsetting because I did not have the Isles finishing in the bottom five this year, hoping not to have to blog about another lottery, but alas, here we are. Realistically, I could see the Isles winning two out of the seven, maybe throw in an overtime loss if they're lucky. Let's face it, other than the Jets and Jackets, the Isles are up against some of the top 10 in the NHL, all going after playoff positions and division titles. I doubt we will see the backups during this stretch, maybe Hedberg from Jersey.

So tack on four more points and the Islanders end up with 77 points. If you want to be a bottom five team, you need less than 80 points and the Isles will be doing just that. With Toronto and Carolina playing each other tonight, one of them is guaranteed 77 points and if it goes to overtime give the other 76 points. Anaheim just needs one win in seven and they're at 77 points as well. We'll assume that with 5 games left all three teams will surpass the 77 point mark. So will the Islanders end up in 5th? Maybe. I think it's safe to agree that Columbus will be in the number one, but I'm not sure Montreal will be picking behind them. A season ending injury to Taylor Hall of Edmonton  may actually put the Oilers at the number two position in the draft by seasons end. Number 3? This is where it's close. Only Minnesota could beat out the Isles in points while I think Montreal could finish with 77 points as well. Both have more home games than away and have more winnable games than the Isles. Unless there is tanking involved, Minnesota could very well end up with 78 points and there would be a tie with the Islanders and the Canadiens, giving the edge to Montreal, leaving the Islanders in third place. So even after the lottery, the Isles should be picking 3rd or 4th in this years draft. So my predictions goes as follows:

1st: Columbus
2nd: Edmonton
3rd: Islanders
4th: Montreal
5th: Minnesota

Who the Islanders should pick will be discussed after the actual draft lottery, but for now, let's see who tanks the final 6-7 games. Bring on Bridgeport!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

There's Still Optimism To Look For In The Islanders

     Having been on vacation all of last week, watching the trade deadline come and go (Isles fans should thank Boston fans when you see them) and watching the Islanders lose a heart breaker to the Caps last night, the feeling around the web was one of a lot of questioning and doubt. Why Neilson  took the faceoff and not Reasoner; why is Reasoner still on this team if not used in the right situation, like last night; Bailey trying to do too much; Capuano's decision making etc. When you sum it all up it's called growing pains and that's what the Islanders are going through right now, even the coach. Everyone will learn from this mistake(s) and hopefully move on. I'm sure Islanders fans have seen enough of this year that most are happy for spring training but I wouldn't put away your Islanders gear just yet. There is a combo that people should look at for the remainder of the year which may be a good sign in 2012-13: Josh Bailey and David Ullstrom.
     I'm not sure if people have seen the stats on these two, but when Ullstrom and Bailey are on the ice together, it makes you wonder what could have been if Ullstrom were here all year long playing with Bailey. In the 15 games both Ullstrom and Bailey have played together the Islanders are 6-5-4. Ullstrom has 2 goals, 2 assists for 4 points, while Bailey has 3 goals 4 assists for 7 points. That's almost a point every two games for Bailey, imagine a full season? Now by no means am I proclaiming the Islanders have solved the secondary scoring, but fans need to see if this duo can continue this nice pace for the remainder of the season and with Frans Neilsen playing center for a little while, it may have been that Bailey just lacked the talent around him to support the third line all of this year. Having said that, I would not be against sending Cizikas down to Bridgeport and having Nino Neiderrieter on the third line with Ullstrom and Bailey for the remainder of this year, just to witness. I also wouldn't mind seeing Bailey on the second power play unit and maybe contributing more from that end. The playoffs may be a stretch, but for me, 85-88 points is still a reachable goal if Bailey and Ullstrom can find and bring some needed support to the first two lines.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Eaton Demanded Trade

I would have to find a you tube link, but it came from Dennis Potvin during the Senators/Islanders game that I overheard. He basically said that Eaton has demanded a trade from the Islanders. Unfortunately that's all I have, but I do know that some of the Canadian media had put Eaton as a trade possibility. It also makes sense with Ty Wishart up on Long Island. If Eaton were to be traded (probably for a draft pick) and Travis Hamonic returns from injury, Aaron Ness would be the only one sent down and Wishart could be here for the remainder of the season. Thoughts?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Isles Big Week

     So since my last post, the Islanders have gone 3-3. The good side to that is having the Islanders six points out of  a playoff spot with plenty of time left in this season. In my opinion, the Islanders should have been buyers three weeks ago. Instead, they have made call-up after call-up hoping for a spark or just filling in for an injured player. The Islanders are down to one week to determine if they'll be buyers or sellers, but it will probably take a 3-0 or an 2-0-1 record to really make a case for Garth Snow to add payroll.
     What position should the Isles improve on? Who will be given up to get that player? Well that really depends on the this week, the next two days to be exact. With games against Ottawa and Buffalo coming up, the Islanders need to win both to make Snows decision an easier one. Give up a draft pick or two and get whoever is needed to make that push for the playoffs. Keep Parenteau, Nabokov and the rest of the vets and really put it together in March, then deal with contracts later. I don't care if the Islanders play the Rangers in the first round, actually, I would welcome that. There is nothing like a little television exposure and playing in New York City for a couple of days would be perfect to get some bigger, nationwide exposure for these young Islanders.
     The harder questions will arise if the Islanders lose the next two games. Yes, they could be sellers, but who really goes? Parenteau is now the number one favorite forward amongst other GM's  in the League, what kind of a price tag could he fetch? Nabokov certainly would be of interest to other teams, even Mark Eaton could be had for a decent 5th rounder (sarcasm).  With payroll being as low as it is, I would imagine that Snow would want a player in return, at least for Parenteau, maybe Nabokov. All these rumors, questions and conspiracy theories will be answered soon enough, especially if the Islanders could take the next two games. For now, they're in the playoff hunt. It's been a while since most Isles fans could be able to say that. It starts against Ottawa tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Hockey News' Boylen: Four GMs given an unnecessarily hard time

The Hockey News' Boylen: Four GMs given an unnecessarily hard time

Snow has built through the draft, but it remains to be seen what comes from drafting them. We'll probably get a better glimpse starting in this years playoff push in Bridgeport and on the Isles team next year. As far as diamonds in the rough, some of those diamonds are now part of a young core that is going to be here for a while and prosper on the Island.

Don't forget to follow me @Netminder39

Nielsen Signs Four More

From New York

The New York Islanders announced today that Frans Nielsen has agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension. Nielsen’s new deal extends through the 2015-16 season.
“We’re thrilled that Frans has committed to the Islanders for the next four years,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said.  “He has been a key part of our young core for the past six seasons and become one of the better two-way forwards in the league.”
That takes care of any and all Nielsen rumors. Nice to see him signed and on board. The Islanders now have Parenteau and the older veterans to work with, but signing Nielsen helps with stabilizing the organization.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Aaron Ness Called Up

Aaron Ness Called Up

This should be an interesting sight to see. I'm not doubting Ness and his speed nor vision, but his size will certainly be a concern. However, he has a booming shot, which may prove useful. We'll find out tomorrow against Philly.

Nielsen Could Be Odd Man Out, Nabokov to Detroit?

From the Ottawa Sun:

Isles GM Garth Snow has been busy working the phones. He’s fielding offers for G Evgeni Nabokov, along with RW P.A. Parenteau and C Frans Nielsen. Sources say the Isles have held talks with Parenteau and Nielsen, but it’s likely they both won’t be kept. Expect the club to sign Parenteau and move Nielsen.

From ESPN on Nabokov to Detroit.
BURNSIDE: You are right about the Red Wings’ goaltending depth issues. Conklin has played in only 10 games this season and has an .886 save percentage. Even though Howard’s injury doesn’t sound that serious long-term, do you think this hastens the urgency to find a more suitable backup for the Red Wings? It was GM Ken Holland, after all, who tried to nab Nabokov a year ago when the former San Jose mainstay cut short his experience in the Kontinental Hockey League. The New York Islanders grabbed him, however, and Nabokov has been OK with a pretty mediocre Islanders squad. But he’s not the long-term answer there. (Kevin Poulin appears to be the heir apparent with Al Montoya still looking to get a shot at the No. 1 job, too.) So, Nabokov to Detroit does seem a logical move and perhaps even more so with Friday's news.
Also around the Internet, Staios, and Eaton are available, but those were gimmes. I've said this before, If the Islanders are still in contention, no one will be traded. But to play along for a moment, this will be a very interesting trade deadline for the Islanders. Would they really trade Neilsen? Personally I see both Parenteau and Neilsen resigned, but if a trade were to occur, I would hope for a player in return and not another pick. The only exceptions would be of the older free agents, including Nabokov.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Rumor: Isles Should Go After Wolski

I see a potential problem for the New York Rangers, something that the Islanders faced in the beginning of this season: Possibly losing a player to the waiver wire. Garth Snow could not trade Blake Comeau for a bag of pucks, no less a draft pick. So they had to put him on waivers, only for him to be picked up by the Calgary Flames, thus losing a third line forward. Granted, Comeau did nothing for the Islanders this year, but neither has anyone else on the third line.

Enter Wojtek Wolski, a player who has not seen a lot of time on a stacked Rangers team due to a groin injury and quite frankly has not developed a role with that team. His contract is big for a 25 year old (4 million per), so the Rangers hope is that he'll clear waivers and spend the rest of the season on the Connecticut Whale AHL team. If the Islanders want to make a push for a playoff spot, then they should pick him off waivers. A few reasons why:

1. Wolski can score. He's put up decent numbers in the NHL and like a few other players the Isles have on this team, he may just need a change of scenery and some real playing time. Plus with a young team, he may be more inspired to pick up his game. The Islanders could use more help in the scoring department then relying on just the first line and power play unit.

2. His salary. Yes it's 4 million, but if the Isles are out of the playoffs by the end of February, Garth Snow has more flexibility in payroll and could possibly move a few more players at the deadline.

3. He'll replace at least Tim Wallace in the lineup, who also has not scored a goal this year. I know most would love to see him replace Rolston, but that's up to the coach.

4. If Wolski does not perform well, the Islanders can release him in the off season. If he does find success on the Island, he would be at least 4 million to resign (probably for 1 year, see Grabner, Parenteau) so the Isles could reach the cap floor easier without getting Scott Gomez in the offseason and/or struggling/failing to make an attempt to get Dustin Penner.

5. It's the waiver wire, why wouldn't the Islanders. We've seen this before haven't we (Grabner)?

6. It would be nice to see the Islanders brass at least make some kind of an attempt to improve the roster this year to show fans that management is trying to improve the team during the season, not just in the summer.

So I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the Islanders will take a stab at Wojtek Wolski if/when he goes on the waiver wire by the Rangers.

Isles To Play In Brooklyn; Tavares Gets Star Of The Month

From New York

The National Hockey League announced today that New York Islanders center John Tavares was named the First Star of the Month for January, 2012.

Tavares, 21, led the league in scoring last month with nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points. He recorded a point in 12-of-13 Islanders games and had a hand in 62.9% of the team’s goals (22 points on 35 goals). Tavares’ month also included four game-winning goals to help his club to a 7-5-1 record.

This is just a taste of things to come Islanders fans. It's only going to get better because Tavares is going to get better. The Islanders are now going to be in the spotlight more often from here on out, and eventually, the free agents will come.

Also from New York

The New York Islanders will play the first-ever NHL game at Barclays Center on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 when they take on the New Jersey Devils at 7:30 p.m. The preseason game will mark the first hockey event at Barclays Center, the new major sports and entertainment venue, which will officially open on September 28 with the first of multiple JAY-Z concerts.  The game will also mark the first NHL game to be played in Brooklyn.

“We’re extremely excited to play the first NHL game in the new, state-of-the-art Barclays Center,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said.  “We already have some of the most passionate fans in the league supporting our young team, and we are looking forward to expanding our base into Brooklyn.”

“We feel Brooklyn is an untapped hockey market that offers the Islanders with an exciting opportunity to grow its fan base,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said. “Barclays Center will also afford current Islander fans with great accessibility, as the Long Island Rail Road and nine subway lines will come directly to the arena at the Atlantic Terminal transit hub.”

 I'm personally going to go to this game, just to check out the new arena, however, I'm not going to get too excited about the Islanders playing regular season games there. I found this great article by Stu Hackel  that basically shuts the door on the Islanders ever moving to Brooklyn when the Islanders lease is up in 2015. The Islanders are only looking to expand the fan base, and they have Tavares to showcase. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rumors 1.29.2012

From a few Canadian outlets an some minor credible sites:

As of now the following players are available to be traded before the deadline:

Parenteau, Nielsen, Staios, Eaton and Nabakov.

Out of these players, Parenteau has been showing up the most as a possible trade bait. We all know that Neilsen's agent is already in talks with Garth Snow on a contract extension, but until it's finalized, he'll be in the rumors. Nabokov has been in the rumor mill all season, so I believe he'll be traded when I see it (probably around the end of February); Eaton and Staios will prob fetch a lower round pick(s) for the Islanders.

The Islanders are, for now, still in a playoff race. So I wouldn't expect a trade just yet. I am however surprised that Parenteau has not resigned to an extension the way he was last year. He should have been resigned, like yesterday, to a decent contract along with Neilsen. Thoughts?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Don't Bring Up The Kids From Bridgeport

     I've been reading a few blogs with fans almost ready to call it a season. Personally, if you thought the Islanders were going to be in the playoffs, you were already thinking about the 2012 draft and not the 2011 Islanders. This years squad was predicted by most to hit 10th place, some where in the mid 80's possibly 90 points max. That's not enough for a playoff spot, but close. What most fans aren't seeing this year are the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who have made an impressive run so far this season (just one point behind Connecticut for the division lead and two points out of a playoff berth in their Conference) and if they continue this pace, could really go deep in the AHL playoffs.
     Assuming this organization can stay healthy for half a season  (asking a lot I know) the Sound Tigers would be able to make the playoffs and by NHL season's end, could bring in Nino Neiderrietter and possibly Kirill Kabanov from his junior team and you have folks, a pretty deep Bridgeport team. Think about it: Ullstrom, Rakhshani, Kirill, Nino, and a healthy Bridgeport team....Sounds good to me. Other than making a playoff run, keeping the kids down could solve the free agency problem that the Islanders seem to encounter every year.
     Say Bridgeport does go deep and a few players really stick out in the AHL playoffs, what would you rather have, that player or a "should have retired 3 years ago" player that the Islanders found last summer? That's my point. Look at what happened to Ottawa. After missing the playoffs last year, they brought up the farm from Binghamton after winning the Calder Cup and now Ottawa is in strong position for the playoffs this year. That is what the Islanders are close to doing folks. All those draft picks are starting to mature and improve so the Islanders have something they haven't had in a long time.....depth.  But the key is to keep them down, at least for the remainder of this year. If Bridgeport goes deep, let the players battle it out at training camp where those exhibition games would mean a great more to them.
     There is a light at the end of this tunnel folks, but you have to watch it come to it's fruition first. It starts with Bridgeport, not the Islanders. But this season you should be watching both. Even if you predicted 85 points for this team and they hit 85, you have reason to be optimistic about next season because of what Bridgeport is doing now. This organization is slowly growing back to what it used to be, what we as fans all come to expect.

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