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.
As of now, the New York Islanders do not have a forward that is undeniably the top line winger to play alongside of Kyle Okposo and John Tavares. Last year, the Islanders started the season with Matt Moulson on JT’s wing, who was soon exchanged for Thomas Vanek.
Both Moulson and Vanek fit perfectly on the top line. But with Moulson staying in Buffalo and Vanek currently preparing to wear a Minnesota Wild jersey in 2015, the top spot is once again vacated.
The summer of Snow is upon us. For better or worse, the fate of the New York Islanders rests in the hands of General Manager Garth Snow over the next three months. His goal is simple even if the process is complicated: put the finishes touches on a “rebuild” started six summers ago and create a sustained contender for the last season at the Nassau Coliseum and the future of Brooklyn. (Photo credit: Official New York Islanders/flickr).
Heading into the Islanders' final season at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, they have many holes to fill, but an over paid winger that doesn't play both ways is not something they should be in the market for.
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.
The Islanders wrap up the home slate of the season Tuesday night when the Ottawa Senators come to town. The Islanders will try to improve on their 13-18-9 home record before closing out the regular season on the road for their final three games. The Islanders have played better at home recently (3-0-1) but their failure to take advantage of home ice earlier in the year is a big reason why the Islanders will be watching the playoffs at home next week for the sixth time in their last seven seasons.