It's been repeated dozens of times before: the Islanders defense is not as good as it needs to be, and the goaltending between the pipes is a major area of concern. But what hasn't been acknowledged is that the Isles offense, which has more or less been excused, needs improvement as well (Photo credit: THEFANBLOG/Flickr).
There's no denying that Matt Carkner's play has been less than superb, and that Matt Donovan has continued to make the expected rookie mistakes. Both of these players have led to Travis Hamonic and most notably Andrew MacDonald being forced into accepting more minutes and responsibility that is perhaps too much for this duo to handle on a nightly basis.
Add that Lubomir Visnovsky's veteran leadership has been missing for quite some time now and you have every hockey pundit saying "ya think?!" when asked if the Isles defense may be one of the reasons why they have slid in the standings.
But see if you can answer this: aside from John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Thomas Vanek (while healthy) and Frans Nielsen, where has the offense come for this team?
After falling behind 2-0 and 3-1, the Islanders came back to tie the game at 3 against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins, but Sidney Crosby put in the game deciding goal with less than 2 minutes to play in the 3rd, preventing the Islanders from at least getting one point, which they deserved.
Ryan Strome has been developing with the New York Islanders organization for the past two years, playing with their AHL farm-team affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Photo Credit: mandelux12/Flickr).
In 10 games with the Sound Tigers in 2013, Strome scored seven points in 10 games (two goals and five assists). He has continued the high scoring pace this season as well, notching 14 points in nine games played (three goals and 11 assists) as the team's top scorer.
He also was cited as the best player in the Islander rookie camp before the puck dropped for this season as well.
...But this trade signifies that GM Garth Snow is ready to strike a deal that can be made in order to benefit his team. He's no longer building for the future. He's looking to win right now (Photo credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
And he should be. The rebuild has been over for at least a year now. The Islanders made the playoffs last year and played a series against a much better Pittsburgh Penguins team that could have gone either way had there been better goaltending.
The expectations deserve to be raised, and Snow has to make moves for the present. But at what cost?
The New York Islanders have signed veteran defenseman Radek Martinek to a one-year deal for the remainder of the 2014 season. Martinek has spent the majority of his career with the Isles, who were the team that drafted him back in 1999.
With the Isles having lost offensive d-man Lubomir Visnovsky to a concussion, this move comes hardly as a surprise (Photo credit: photogirl__2984/Flickr).
Going into camp this season a majory story line for the New York Islanders was who was going to step in on defense for the recently departed Mark Streit. Streit wasn't only the team's captain, but power play quarterback and large contributor on offense. The void that he left made for competition in camp among Islanders prospects as Garth Snow elected to not sign or trade for any defensemen. The clear cut front runner for the position was Matt Donovan who was figuring to be challenged by Calvin de Haan and Aaron Ness. Donovan put up huge offensive numbers in the AHL and as expected he eventually won the spot in camp. As expected he has been able to contribute offensively but has also found himself a healthy scratch multiple times this season. The reaction from fans has been mixed but I don't think it is as bad as some people are making it seem.
The Islanders began the first 39 minutes of the game against their divison foe Carolina Hurricanes, by playing weak, uninspired and just plain bad hockey. They ended up finishing the contest with some fight, but it ended up being too little too late as they fell to the 'Canes by a final of 4-3 in front of 13,008 fans at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
The Islanders will look to rebound from their first regulation loss of the season with a match-up tonight against the Nashville Predators.
The Isles fell 3-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night in what was a somewhat sloppy game that saw a few of the team's defenseman out of position, leading to multiple scoring opportunities for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Tonight, the Isles will look to rectify these mistakes and get back to their winning ways.
The 2014 season is only two games old for the New York Islanders, but there is already reason for cautious optimism.
Out of a possible four points, the Islanders have started off the year by taking three of them, tying them with the Carolina Hurricanes for second place in the Metropolitan Division, and putting them good enough for seventh place in the Eastern Conference (Photo credit: spotboslow/Flickr).