It was only a few short weeks ago that the Montreal Canadiens and their contingent of rowdy fans stormed into the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and halted an Islanders 4 game-winning streak with a 3-1 victory. Fast-forward to tonight and the Islanders (30-13-1) are on another 4 game winning streak, and once again are set to square off against the Canadiens (27-13-3). Only difference is, the Isles and their raucous supporters are traveling north of the border looking to extend the streak to 5.
Despite the recent success of the Islanders, there is still a major hole that needs to be filled within the team’s lineup.
John Tavares and Kyle Okposo have been the undisputed top two forwards on this team for the past year. Currently, Tavares and Okposo are tied for the team lead in points with 24 each in 27 games played. However, the third member of the top line is not even close.
The Islanders are on a losing streak to start off the month of November and every Islanders fan is clutching their forehead in a panicked frenzy expecting this team to drop to last place in the Eastern Conference standings overnight.
Two words everyone: calm down.
It cannot be denied that seeing the Islanders drop three games in a row is not a good thing. Nor is it good to see a team that started 4-0 suddenly hovering one game above .500. But it is a very long season and it is still very early.
And despite their recent struggles, the Islanders currently sit at third place in the Metropolitan Division.
The New York Islanders begin their 2014-15 season tonight against their Metropolitan Division rival, Carolina Hurricanes, in the first of a back to back home-and-home. Tonight’s contest ends the 6 month slumber for Islander fans and begins the 43rd, and final, season of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. But tonight isn’t about that. Tonight is about the present and the commencement of New York Islanders quest for a 5th Stanley Cup Championship.
It appeared that this rainy Saturday would be nothing but a dreary day on Long Island with every resident hoping for a few rays of sunshine to brighten up the day. Well, the sun may not have appeared from behind the clouds, but things are certainly shining bright after the New York Islanders made some bold trades that have drastically improved their roster.
The New York Islanders have acquired defenseman Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins and Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks.
The New York Islanders were able to pull arguably the biggest steal in the 2014 NHL Draft. They took Joshua Ho-Sang with the 28th overall pick. His talent is heralded and lauded unanimously throughout the ranks of hockey scouts but the jury is still out on ‘character’ issues.(Credit: Flickr/5of7)
Most teams decided that the inevitable headache waiting with his brash nature far outweighed his skill level.
For the Islanders, this was the perfect pick. A damaged draft stock with a player that felt beyond offended that he was passed up on created an immediate bond between a rejected franchise and rejected prospect.
This perceived disrespect from other teams will create a love for the Islanders logo on his jersey. Reason being, they were the only ones that gave him a chance.
Despite the New York Islanders still needing to add a top-four defenseman to their blue line to help ensure themselves a chance at making the playoffs next season, they still have an abundance of d-men that are ready to compete for a regular spot in the line-up.
Travis Hamonic, Calvin de Haan, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Thomas Hickey are likely four guaranteed defenseman to play on a nightly basis. Matt Carkner, Matt Donovan and Brian Strait are three blue liners that will play as well, solidifying six defenseman with one ready to sit and play when called upon.
Today marks the first day of September, meaning that New York Islanders training camp will be opening up in the next few weeks. This time of year gives the coaching staff an opportunity to observe the types of players they have developing in their system, test out line combinations, and see which prospects are prepared to take on full-time roles in the NHL.
Presently, the Isles have 16 forwards and seven defenseman on one-way contracts, including two legitimate NHL goaltenders who do not have to worry about fighting for their job.
That leaves the Isles with 25 players on their roster.
The 16 forwards is the number that got every hockey expert on the twitter-sphere proclaiming that Garth Snow was absolutely going to trade someone in order to bolster his blue line.
The New York Islanders have been sold by current owner Charles Wang to an investment group led by former Washington Capitals co-owner, Jon Ledecky and investor Scott Malkin. Ledecky and Malkin have only purchased a minority stake of the team, leaving Wang in charge for the next two years.
Once the next two years pass, Ledecky and Malkin will become the full owners of the New York Islanders (Photo credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
Without question the Islanders have made strides this offseason by revamping their roster in a very good way. However it remains to be seen if they will have the proper guidance to reach the potential that they now have on paper.