The New York Islanders are best known for their young talent. But those who are not Islanders fans or do not follow the team as closely may not know about the tons of talent the Isles' prospects have.
To name some, there are forwards like Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Kirill Kabanov.
On defense, there are guys like Calvin DeHaan, Ty Wishart, Aaron Ness and Matt Donovan.
Between the pipes, Kevin Poulin looks like the goalie of the future.
Here are what I think the Islanders offensive lines will look like in about five years:
Yeah, I believe that the current first line will remain intact over the next five years. The first line is playing really well right now, and once the Isles get more depth, the top line will have even more room to work with. Other teams will have more than just a line or two to shut down.
Ryan Strome will come into the NHL as the second center under Tavares. Nino Niederreiter will get a chance to play with more talented players like Strome and Michael Grabner. Playing with two other talented players will help Grabner as well, and perhaps make him an even better player than he was in his rookie year.
Brock Nelson could move to the wing to play on a line with Anders Lee and PA Parenteau. Lee is a superior faceoff winner. Parenteau has proven himself to be a real solid playmaker. Another talented scoring line for the Isles.
The fourth line could pass as a third or maybe even second line. Call this the enforcement line, but Frans Nielsen, Kirill Petrov and Kirill Kabanov would be a good fourth line.
Nielsen has speed, and Petrov and Kabanov can score. The Isles' enforcement line will also have solid scoring capabilities, if you can even call them enforcement.
Now for the defense:
Andrew MacDonald is a great shutdown defenseman, and Calvin DeHaan is a great offensive defenseman. This will be a great future pairing. Mark Streit will either be lost to retirement or be traded to another team to make room for the young guns.
Matt Donovan and Travis Hamonic would make a good second pairing. Hamonic has a booming shot.
At least the third pairing would be Aaron Ness with Ty Wishart will accompany him.
As for the goalies, I believe Al Montoya and Kevin Poulin are the tandem of the future. Al Montoya has already proven he's a decent NHL goaltender. And Poulin has impressed me and other Isles fans in his NHL action so far.
Evgeni Nabokov will have surely retired in five years, and hopefully Rick DiPietro's contract is dumped with the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement in the NHL.
You may say "The Isles need some veteran players on their team" like they do now. But Tavares, Moulson, Grabner, Nielsen, Okposo, Hamonic, MacDonald, etc. will all be completely broken into the NHL by that time.
It's funny that we're imagining a fourth line of Kabanov, Petrov and Nielsen. Most teams would love them as a second or third line.
But if the Isles play their cards right, that's the kind of fourth line we could have.
I can't see us giving away many of these bright young prospects in trades.
The Isles have a bright future ahead of them.