With the season only a few months away and a feel that the Islanders are done shopping in free agency it seems like a nice time to take a look at possible opening night line combinations.
Moulson – Tavares – Boyes
This line doesn’t show too much difference from last season besides the addition of Brad Boyes. It is believed that Boyes was bought in to fill the spot left by PA. Playing with Tavares and Moulson should hopefully bring out Boyes old scoring touch from a few seasons ago.
Marty Reasoner was signed to a two-year deal during last summer's off-season to replace the recently departed, Zenon Konopka. "Z" instilled toughness and leadership in the locker room and gave Islanders fans, as well as his teammates, a reason to stick up for themselves when getting the brunt of the NHL's toughest teams and officials. But due to some rumored internal issues, Konopka was let go to free agency and Reasoner was signed to be his replacement; a less threatening, but more productive fourth line center that could kill penalties.
To everyone's dismay, it did not take long for Reasoner to quickly become the scapegoat for most Islanders fans. He was constantly making defensive mistakes, out of position and didn't score his first goal of the season until March 29th against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He finished the year with five assists to go with that solo goal for at total of six points in 61 games played. He was also a whopping -25, the worst +/- score of his entire career.
Not exactly the type of defensive play you want from your penalty killing, depth forward, especially when he was a +2 with 32 points and 14 goals the season before.
It is no lie that the Islanders are in need of some secondary scoring. Of the many forwards left on the free agent market two names, Alexander Semin and Shane Doan, should be sticking out to Islanders GM Garth Snow and Owner Charles Wang. (Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated)
Today PA Parenteau officially become an unrestricted free agent for all 30 teams, including the Islanders, to try and sign. I think you can assume that Parenteau will go wherever he gets the biggest contract and if the past, under Garth Snow, has shown us anything, Parenteau has played his final game in orange and blue.
Lets be honest the Islanders aren’t going to be able to get a top-6 forward in this free agent class and even though many Islanders fans would like to see Snow make a run at Bobby Ryan, it’s probably not going to happen. Snow is on the right track with drafting, grooming players and signing role players in free agency. So Parenteau’s successor on the first line will come from within the organization, the question is who will it be?
P.A. Parenteau went from cheap free agent pick up to first line winger in only two seasons, finding a nice niche alongside of John Tavares and opposite of Matt Moulson. The trio headlined the Islanders as the top scorers with Parenteau recording 18 goals, 49 assists and 67 points. He also was 12th in the league in assists.
This was a guy that could barely scratch the New York Rangers line-up despite averaging more than a point per game in the AHL four consecutive seasons in a row. At 29 years old, Parenteau is definitely going to want to cash in on a long-term deal that will reward him for his services.
Can you blame the guy? He's spent a long time trying to make it in the big league and finally has proven that he is more than capable of playing in the NHL.
But are the Islanders preparing to part ways with one of their most important core members?
As speculation over P.A Parenteau's desire to hit the free agent market continues to grow, so does the restlessness of the Isles' fan base.
With David Jones of the Colorado Avalanche receiving a $4 million a year deal for four years, the money and market for Parenteau may have grown that much stronger. While David Jones and P.A Parenteau were statistically far apart during the 2011-2012 NHL season, the former amassed 30 less points than Parenteau and was given a contract that might just make it that much harder for the Islanders and Parenteau to come to terms.
Some might argue that the contract that David Jones received from the Avalanche was a bit overpriced, but getting Parenteau at the same rate would not be such a bad signing for the Islanders. Parenteau spent the majority of his time between the first and second line during the 2011-2012 season and managed to register 67 points (18 Goals, 49 Assists) in 80 games played. Even though some may think that it is not worth overpaying for Parenteau, the forward plays an essential role for the New York Islanders and would be hard to replace if he chooses to sign with a different team during free agency.
With the playoff picture narrowing by the day, Matt Martin gave me a call yesterday afternoon to discuss some playoff hockey as well as to take a look at the Islanders as they prepare for next season.
Martin is currently waiting for a new contract with the New York Islanders and has been training a lot this off-season in preparation for 2013. He set an NHL record in 2012 with 374 hits in 80 games played to go along with tying his career high of 14 points. Along with his explosions along the wall, Martin has become one of the biggest fan-favorites for the New York Islander. In fact, his hard work, fisticuffs and willingness to stick up for his teammates earned him the Bobby Nystrom Award for 2012.
But apparently all that hard work takes it's toll. The guy didn't even do to much for his 23rd birthday that just passed on May 8th.
The New York Islanders are gaining attention in the media once again as Gary Bettman recently announced that Brooklyn would not be a viable option for the Islanders to move to in 2015. With all of the question marks surrounding the Isles' arena situation, the Islanders will still have to finish out their lease agreement under some uncertainty. (BridgetDS/Flickr)
However, some late season secondary has left fans wondering if the Islanders can sustain the type of chemistry that helped the team finish on a 6-5 note in their last 11 games. Josh Bailey closed off the season on a tear and has constantly left fans wondering if he has finally put everything together, but it seems as though the pivot was very comfortable playing on the wing alongside talented playmaker Frans Nielsen. Nielsen didn't seem to mind the adjustment as the pair combined for 24 points in the last 11 contests for the Islanders. Nielsen registered 11 points (3 Goals, 8 Assists) while Bailey outdid him with 13 points (3 Goals, 10 Assists). However, the most important part about their streaks was the fact that the two players were gelling together and looked very comfortable playing on the same line.
Of the many perks offered to season ticket holders, my favorite is the end-of-season, Port Jeff Ferry cruise with the players. It also seems to be an event equally enjoyed by the players as well, and what’s not to enjoy? Free food and drink provided by the Sound Tigers organization and their sponsors and 3 hours of relaxed mingling of players and fans, priceless. This years’ cruise took place Monday evening and was once again a huge success. I was fortunate to spend a good bit of time talking to goalie Anders Nilsson, still on the mend from an ankle injury he sustained in the March 18 game against the Worcester Sharks.
After allowing seven goals in an onslaught of a hockey game, the final buzzer at the Nationwide Arena would not only sound the ending of a massacre, but also signify the end of what was a disappointing season for the New York Islanders.
It was a disappointing year for many reasons. With the rebuild entering its fourth season, many expected this team's fortunes to change. For plenty, that meant making the playoffs instead of falling into the draft lottery. For yours truly, that meant climbing out of the cellar but not high enough to reach 8th place. I am sad to say that we were both wrong. The Islanders finished the year out of the playoffs and 27th overall in the league, giving them the fourth overall pick going into Tuesday night's draft lottery for the second year in a row.
On paper you can call the 2012 season just the same as any other. At 14th place in the Eastern Conference, the Isles finished the season with a 34-37-11 record with 79 points. That's only a six point improvement over last season and the SAME exact record as the year before that in 2010. It would almost appear that the rebuild has established a trend of not going up or down, but rather staying put.