Five New York Islanders Who Will Have Bounceback Seasons in 2012-13
Hockey is a team sport. And while defense and goaltending are very important to a team's success, a balanced offense is vital as well.
The saying goes, "Your best players need to be your best players."
The Islanders might have gotten a little closer to the playoffs if some of their offensive talent produced some more goals.
If they're going to contend next year, there are some players that will need to step up their point production next season.
We all know certain players on the team are capable of great things in terms of goal production. Whether they've done it before, or they just have it in them.
The following players are poised to have big years in 2012-13.
1. Kyle Okposo
In hindsight, Kyle Okposo had a decent season. He had 24 goals and 21 assists, some pretty solid numbers.
However, there's no doubt he can be a 30-goal scorer.
He had a power outage at the beginning of the season, where he really struggled to produce.
However, his turning point was when Jack Capuano placed him on a line with John Tavares and Matt Moulson.
Okposo cooled down again when he was moved off the top line in favor of P.A. Parenteau.
At the end of the season, Okposo went on a rampage and finished with 24 goals as mentioned above. The line of Okposo, Josh Bailey and Frans Nielsen really clicked. Okposo finished the season with four goals in his last five games.
It shows Okposo is capable of so many more goals in 2012-13.
2. Josh Bailey
Josh Bailey had a similar season to Okposo. The difference is that he never got quite as hot as Okposo.
Bailey finished last season with a respectable 13 goals and 19 assists.
The thing that frustrates many Isles fans with Bailey is that he shows flashes of brilliance and then just goes into an ice-cold streak.
Bailey has scored some highlight goals via break-aways and nifty plays.
If he can play like he did when he heated up at the end of last season with Okposo and Nielsen, Bailey could be a 20-goal scorer.
3. Travis Hamonic
Travis Hamonic had a great season last year. He played solid on defense, and scored an decent 24 points at the age of 21.
There is a lot to like about this kid. The only thing fans wouldn't mind seeing more out of him are goals. He only had two last year, but did have 124 shots on net.
The goals will come. He had five in his rookie year. Hammer also has that booming shot from the point.
While there is still a lot to be proud of with Hamonic, fans should be confident that he will produce more goals next season. Maybe the seven to ten range.
4. Nino Niederreiter
If there is anyone looking for a rebound year, it's Nino Niederreiter. He only scored one point the entire season in 55 games.
I will defend him though. He had a groin injury that hampered his play earlier in the season.
He also played on a line for most of the season with the likes of Marty Reasoner and Jay Pandolfo. How the heck does anyone expect Nino to score goals like he's supposed to playing on a line with them?
It was still a pretty disappointing rookie season for Nino. If Capuano smartens up and gives him better linemates, Niederreiter could be poised for a nice bounce-back season.
If I had to make a prediction, I think Nino would be able to score 10-15 goals.
5. Michael Grabner
As you could probably tell by my cover image, Michael Grabner was my inspiration for writing this article.
In his rookie season, he led all of his fellow newcomers in goals with 34 for the Islanders during the 2010-11 season.
Many Islander fans were optimistic about Grabner's sophomore season, but it seems he was a victim of the curse.
He only scored 20 goals this past season. Pretty disappointing for a player we all thought would continue to burst on the scene. At least he salvaged his season with three goals in his last five games.
Grabner relies on the break-away to score a lot of his goals, but only scored a few times in numerous chances. He would either lose the puck or get stopped by the goalie nearly every time.
But the truth is, if Grabs converted half of his break-aways, he'd be close, if not at a 30-goal season.
He suffered a groin injury earlier in the season. While he didn't miss a lot of time, it may have had a negative effect on his play for a majority of the season.
But you'd have to believe Grabner will have a comeback year in 2012-13. He gets so many chances, and just has to focus on burying the puck.
Expect at least a 30-goal season for Grabs. Maybe 35 if he makes like his rookie season.