Despite all the newspapers and tweets still alluding to the Islanders having a chance to make the playoffs—they don't.
They may not be statistically eliminated, but the season is done for the Islanders: They're tied for last place in the Eastern Conference with 69 points, nine out of a playoff seed. And there are only 10 games to go in the season.
So it's time for the organization to start looking towards next season and make preparations.
Like in my last article discussing the issue, I still stand by the my assertion that the Isles should get Nino Niederreiter some playing time with the likes of John Tavares and Matt Moulson.
Giving Nino a chance to play with talented guys instead of fourth-line scrubs like Jay Pandolfo and Marty Reasoner would be a huge boost for him.
After a disappointing rookie season where Nino only scored one goal—also his lone point—it'd be a good thing to end the season on a positive note for him by giving him a chance to rack up a few points. He was supposed to play with JT and Moulson before the season started, by the way, according to Newsday.
In the offseason, the Isles should re-sign Evgeni Nabokov and P.A. Parenteau. Nabby has been instrumental in getting the Isles within hope of the eighth playoff spot. It's not his fault the defense in front of him has five big miscues each game.
Having Nabokov around to mentor the young defensemen on the ice and rookie goaltenders like Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin is also a huge plus.
P.A. Parenteau, despite a lot of people calling for him to be traded, is another big part of the Islanders' core. He led the team in points for a while until Tavares caught fire, and is still second on the team in points with 15 goals and 46 assists.
Another issue on Garth Snow's offseason agenda should be trying very hard to bring in a top-two D-Man. Mark Streit isn't cutting it anymore.
Hey, maybe we could trade Streit for a decent return and make Tavares the team captain? Just a thought.
Reeling in a guy like Shea Weber or Ryan Suter would do wonders for the team. We have enough money in the cap to make it happen. We may need to overpay a top defenseman to convince them to come here, but if that's what it takes, by all means make it happen.
While I'm not encouraging them to throw games, it'd be nice if the Isles end with as low a seed as possible. This may sound like a broken record, but you'll never know just how good a player from the draft will be.
And this is a long shot, but I know all Islander fans want this. Please convince Rick DiPietro to call it a career. The guy has had way too many setbacks, and even he's starting to know it himself. He's just not cut out for the NHL anymore.
It probably won't happen, but it'd be a bonus.
Hopefully, the Isles build success for next season by making some of the things in this article happen.
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