The trade deadline is still a few weeks away in the NHL, but it is never too early to think about what your favorite NHL team needs to take the team to the next level.
Some NHL teams need an extra scorer to push the team over the hump. Some teams need some toughness or some defensive help.
Some need help in the net or on the penalty kill.
This slideshow will explore what the New York Islanders need to take it to the next level.
Let's begin with...
Jethro would be very useful on the current Islanders as well.
Islander fans universally love John Tavares. He epitomizes everything that you want to see on your hockey team. He has class, talent, scoring touch, passing ability and that star power the Islander have craved for so many years.
The one thing Tavares cannot do is protect himself from all of the cheap shots he has been receiving on the ice.
Enter Islanders' need number one. A protector for John Tavares.
No one will confuse the modern day NHL with the way the NHL was in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The Islanders had many Hall of Fame players like Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier and Denis Potvin. In that time, you had to have someone that could and would, when necessary, intimidate opponents into leaving your top-flight players alone. The difference between then and now is protectors or enforcers did not have to do anything but fight.
Today, great players still need protection but the game moves too fast for an enforcer who can't do anything but throw fists.
The thing about Clark Gillies that separated him from the everyday NHL enforcer was that he could play and carved himself out a Hall of Fame career in his own right. Gillies did not like to fight, but if you dared to push him to the point where he would, well then let's just say that unless you were an Islanders fan, you would not like the results of that fight.
John Tavares does not have enough protection right now. The Islanders need a protector cruising around the ice to make anyone who touches Tavares pay dearly.
The Islanders do have Matt Carkner on their roster now. He's jumped to Tavares' defense but the problem is he cannot stay healthy.
Tavares has the ability to be to the Islanders what Derek Jeter was to the Yankees. I only hope he can stay healthy as the cheap shots build up over time.
Sorry Radek, you could not cut it two years ago and you still are as soft as butter.
Defense. Every team in the NHL could use more capable NHL proven defenseman. In the Islanders case, it's more of a fact now than it ever was.
The problem is defensemen in the NHL are a tough commodity to come by, especially in mid-season.
Right now the Islanders have four NHL-ready defensemen healthy in Mark Streit, Lubomir Visnovsky, Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic. It appeared that Garth Snow struck waiver gold again when he picked up Brian Strait but he is out for the season with an injury.
Matt Carkner is nearing a return to the lineup, but he has been fragile this season and the way he plays, the Islanders cannot be guaranteed he will be healthy the rest of the way.
That has left the fifth and sixth defense positions to Thomas Hickey and Radek Martinek.
Garth Snow needs to get creative and get another defenseman on the Islanders immediately.
Roman Hamrlik would have fit in very nicely but he was picked up by the rival New York Rangers.
Another option could be Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ian White.
In any case the Islanders are scary thin on defense especially when you consider that Radek Martinek is actually playing on the team again.
Right a Wrong Garth
I know what you're saying. The Islanders had their shot with P.A. and blew it. Well, never say never people. The Colorado Avalanche are not having a great season and one of the only things that have worked out for them this season is signing P.A. Parenteau to a four-year contract.
The Islanders were justifiably gun shy in giving the career AHL player a long-term, big-money contract but Parenteau has silenced everyone who said he only had those breakout seasons because of John Tavares.
His stats? 25 games, 10 goals and 15 assists.
I do not even know if he is available, but I do know that the Avalanche are underperforming and may be looking to dump a player contract or two. Maybe Parenteau will be made available.
Isn't it worth at the very least finding out?
Streit like most Islander fans shows frustrations with the officials.
The Islanders continue to be maddening to watch. Part of that is that their wild inconsistency seems to know no bounds.
The other is that when you compile the evidence, no court of law would say that the Islanders have gotten what anyone would consider equal treatment from the officials.
Part of it is their own fault. They have been bad for so long that the referees do not respect them and if they see someone in orange and blue getting interfered with, tripped, punched, cross-checked, slashed or high-sticked they appear to look the other way.
Playing against a marquee, big market opponent? Then the effect is tripled. No one in their right minds will call the New York Rangers or Toronto Maple Leafs clean teams. The Islanders played them both in one week and the total power plays the Islanders received equaled exactly zero.
I was at the Toronto game and watched every second of the Rangers game and I will keep it politically correct when I say that the games were officiated horribly right down to the questionable (yes, I said questionable) call on Michael Grabner in overtime that resulted in the Rangers' winning goal.
Maybe once the Islanders gain some respect and yes, they have to earn it, officials will call some of those infractions that always seem to go their opponents' way.
Im looking at you Jack
The Islanders have clearly been two separate teams this season. Every time you think they have broken through to take their play to the next level and stay there, they turn in an effort like against Pittsburgh this past Sunday and get blown off the ice.
Maybe it is time for a new coach to come in and lead the Islanders. Coach Capuano has done his best and I do believe he wants to succeed in the NHL. This being said, if the Islanders cannot solve their wild inconsistency and solve it soon, then Capuano needs to be replaced.
These players the Islanders have on the team right now are good enough to make a push into the playoffs. If they don't, it's not going to be injuries or lack of talent that derails their playoff bid. It's going to be inconsistency and that, in my mind, falls directly on the coach.
Who can replace him? How about Lindy Ruff? Marc Crawford? Doug Weight?
What was missed that the Islanders need? Please post your thoughts below.