NHL: Around the League in 30 Days, Day Five-New York Islanders
Day 5: New York Islanders
2010 Record: 34-37-11 (79 Points), 13th in the Eastern Conference
2010-2011 Notable Arrivals: D James Wisniewski (ANH), D Milan Jurcina (WAS), C Zenon Kenopka (TB), D Mark Eaton (PIT), RW P.A. Parenteau (NYR)
2010-2011 Notable Departures: D Brendan Witt (UFA), Sean Bergenheim (TB), Richard Park (UFA), Freddy Meyer (ATL), Martin Biron (NYR)
Islanders' Report Card
Forwards: The Islanders made very few changes from a forward standpoint heading into 2010-2011. Their very young top line of Kyle Okposo, Matt Moulson, and John Tavares will look to build upon what was a very solid season for the three most promising young Islanders forwards. However, the major issue that exists for the Isles is a lack of scoring depth up front beyond the top line. The return of veteran Doug Weight should take some of the heat off Tavares, but after that is a question mark. The Isles hope that some of their young forwards will continue to develop and possibly break out such as C Josh Bailey, C Robbie Schremp, and even Blake Comeau. If the Isles can get production from the second and third lines this season they should be able to compete for a playoff spot come April.
Overall Grade: C+
Top Fantasy Forwards in 2010/2011: C John Tavares (24G/30A/54Pts/-15), LW Matt Moulson (30G/19A/49Pts/-1), RW Kyle Okposo (19G/33A/52Pts/-22)
Defense: Fans should expect a pretty solid blueline on Long Island this season. The defense will be lead by veteran Mark Streit, who is a solid two-way defender. The additions of James Wisniewski, Mark Eaton, and Milan Jurcina provide the Isles with some much needed depth on the blueline also. The Islanders also have two very solid prospects, that will have legitimate shots at cracking the roster this year in Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan. Should both make the big club they instantly make the Islanders' top six quite strong.
Overall Grade: B
Top Fantasy Defenders in 2010/2011: Mark Streit (11G/38A/49Pts/ +/- 0)
Goaltenders: The goaltending situation is fairly good in Long Island headed into the 2010/2011 season. The franchise hopes that former No. 1 overall pick Rick DiPietro can finally return to full health, and take over the starting role. However, even if that is not the case Dwayne Roloson is a very solid veteran and will give them a chance to win every night. Roloson minimizes mistakes and though not as quick as he once was, is able to use good position and rebound control to keep pucks out of the net. The goaltending situation, while not the best, is not one that will hurt the Islanders this season.
Overall Grade: B
Top Fantasy Goaltender in 2010/2011: Dwayne Roloson (23-18-7/3.00GAA/.910SV%), Rick Dipietro (2-5-0/2.60GAA/.900SV%)
Prospects Watch (via hockeysfuture.com)
1. LW Nino Niederreiter
Drafted: 2010, fifth overall
Current Team: Portland Winterhawks (AHL)
Key Attributes: Good size and skill. Niederreiter is well developed physically and excels in big games. He rates very high on sheer skill, determination and personality.
2. D Travis Hamonic
Drafted: 2008, second round, 53rd overall
Previous Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Key Attributes: Solid two-way defender. Not a flashy player but can put up good minutes and give any team a solid option on the back end. Hamonic benefited from experience playing in the U20 World Junior Championship for Canada.
3. D Calvin de Haan
Drafted: 2009, 12th overall
Current Team: Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Key Attributes: De Haan is a solid offensive defenseman, who makes an excellent first pass and runs the power play. De Haan's greatest attribute is his outstanding skating. He is not a physical player but his defensive awareness is at a very high level as is his decision making. He could very well make the Islanders this season as a 19-year old.
4. RW Kirill Petrov
Drafted: 2008, third round, 73rd overall
Current Team: Kazan (KHL)
Key Attributes: Petrov has size, speed, and skill. Standing at 6'3" and almost 200 pounds, the young forward is hard to knock off the puck, and can deliver an impressive physical presence, if properly motivated. Petrov is a very strong skater with impressive quickness. He is also a capable puck-handler, and when combining all three elements of size, speed, and skill, Petrov is capable of making the most with very little room.
5. D Andrew MacDonald
Drafted: 2006, sixth round, 160th overall
Current Team: Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL)/ New York Islanders
Key Attributes: MacDonald has above average offensive skills for a blue liner, and a talent for creating quick offensive rushes. It is his ability to make tape-to-tape, up-ice passes and set up for quick shots off the point that make him, if not a true defenseman, a talented offensive-defenseman.
Analysts’ Fantasy Stud: C John Tavares
Tavares’ credentials speak for themselves and instantly makes him the Islanders fantasy stud. Despite a lengthy scoring drought during the middle of the 2010-2011 season, Tavares put up solid numbers as a rookie and should easily increase his production this season. Look for Tavares to post a minimum of 65 pts in 2010-2011. He will also only be 19, making him a very valuable asset in all dynasty and keeper leagues for a very long time. He can likely be had in the middle rounds of most drafts.
Analysts’ Player to Avoid: LW Matt Moulson
With players coming off of breakout seasons, including the 30-goal effort by Matt Moulson in 2009-2010, it is difficult to judge if this production will be permanent. While he has the linemates who can help him to match or possible top his career bests from a year ago, this analyst is not sold on Moulson just yet. He does not have any extreme talent or valuable attributes that point towards a repeat performance and is likely to see his production decline rather than increase. Be wary of drafting Moulson too high, if at all.
Analysts’ Sleeper Special: G Rick DiPietro
This pick is very much a risk and reward type choice. With DiPietro missing the better part of two seasons it is hard to say whether he will be the goaltender he was prior to the injuries. However, he could be quite a steal late in a draft especially as a third goaltender option. If he is able to return to form, then fantasy managers will reap the benefits of having an All-Star caliber goaltender. He will likely be available in the latter rounds, limiting the risk of choosing him over a depth/bench type player.
Expectations and Prediction:
Look for the Islanders to improve on their performance last season, however, they are still a work in progress. Their young players still need time to develop at the NHL level and the speed of this learning curve will definitely determine the overall result for the club this season. However, it is likely that the team will be near the bottom of the Eastern Conference record-wise.
The Islanders will be a very quick team, but have a lack up depth at the forward position meaning that goals will likely be a premium. Nonetheless, New York will be a feisty team that will leave it all on the line and will be tough to play against on a nightly basis.
Prediction: 14th in the Eastern Conference
Overall Grade: B-
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