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?

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