The New York Islanders visit the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night as the NHL resumes games after its three day Christmas break. The Islanders will look to improve on its 23-11-0 record, good for second in the Metropolitan Division.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are off to a fast start to start the season. A dominant power play, improved goaltending of Kevin Poulin and full team efforts have the Sound Tigers in a 4 way tie for the most points in the Eastern Conference.
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.
With training camp starting in a few days, the Islanders finally have solid competition up and down their roster. New additions on offense, an influx of youth on defense and two new goaltenders means there will be battles everywhere in camp from start to finish.
The New York Islanders had many reasons for not qualifying for this year's quest for the Cup. One of these issues was lacking a steady force between the pipes. Although Evgeni Nabokov has been brilliant at times throughout his tenure with the Isles, he simply was not a strong enough net-minder to handle the starting role (Photo credit: spotboslow/Flickr).
Throw in multiple injuries and two inexperienced goaltenders, and you have added some major ingredients to the mixing bowl of inconsistency. Both Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson proved this year that neither are close to establishing themselves as full-time NHL goaltenders after posting dismal numbers and records.
Garth Snow is currently holding onto the negotiating rights to Jaroslav Halak, who would indefinitely become the Islanders number one goalie if signed to a new contract. However, Halak would not solve the goaltending issues altogether; the Islanders would still be lacking up a back-up keeper.
Goaltender Anders Nilsson said today that he would no longer report to the AHL and is seeking only a 1 way contract as he enters RFA status this summer. This likely means the end of Anders Nilsson's career not only with the Isles but possibly in the NHL too.
The New York Islanders have ended their 2014 season by finishing 26th in the league, good enough for the fifth overall pick in this year's draft lottery and a 34-37-11 record.
At this time last year, the Isles were 24-17-7, a record that was good enough to place them eighth in the Eastern Conference and allow them to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in a first round playoff series match-up.
Clearly, this was not the direction that the Islanders and their fan-base expected them to travel this year.
Below is a collection of names that will either be free agents or that could be in play via the trade market. One item to note is that with many of these names, there is a reason why they are available. That is not to say they are bad or wouldn’t represent an upgrade over the current three-headed monster the Islanders have used this year (for a laugh, check out the league’s goalie leaders and scroll to the bottom of the list).