New York Islanders after 10 Games: Is the Island Sinking?

Steve WelliverContributor INovember 3, 2008

A 2-7-1 record after 10 games, good for last place.  On pace for 41points.  Too bad there is not a default for first overall pick, as the way the Islanders have fared through 10 games they will probably lose the lottery for the chance at Backlund or Tavares.

The last time the Islanders were faced with the leftovers from the first overall pick, they got (drum roll please)...David Chyzowski.  There was a choice for Quebec to make between two can’t miss prospects, Chyzowski and Sundin.  Well, I guess they both weren’t “can’t miss.”


There are a few bright spots to this team though.  The investment in Streit is paying off.  He is on pace for a career year, with nine points in the first 10 games.  Also, Doug Weight and Bill Guerin seem to have recreated their magic from days past.  With Weight at a point per game, and Guerin having scored four goals in the 10 games, both are good signs that all is not lost. 


The youth movement is in full swing.  The contributions of Bergenheim (10 GP, 2 G, 2 A), Nielsen (10 GP, 1 G, 3 A), and Okposo (10 GP 1 G, 3 A), have not been overwhelming, but they are worth noting. Only Bergenheim is getting more than 15 minutes of ice time per game, allowing the other two to ease into the NHL game.  This is an important step in the development of this franchise’s future stars.  And with the addition of Bailey in the near future from IR, that should further provide some youth to the lineup, if only for nine games (as the Islanders may opt to return him to Junior).


Finally, as far as pluses go for this year, the fact this team has yet to play its full roster could be considered a plus, as they can only get better.  With DP on the shelf until December, and the much anticipated debut of josh Bailey on hold until sometime this month, there has to be a tiny bit of optimism. 


Furthermore, Joey MacDonald has not been the problem; rather it is the revolving door on the blue line.  With only two defensemen having played all ten games, they have yet to play their top six all in one game.  Speaking of MacDonald, his time starting has shown the fans that management made a good decision in signing him to be the team’s backup.


As for disappointments, there are a few aside from five points in 10 games.  The play of Jeff Tambellini (8 GP, 0 G, 1 A) has to be a disappointment.  Part of the reason Ted Nolan was ousted over the summer was the playing time given to Tambellini, et al. 


Based on the ten games this season, maybe there was a reason Nolan was reluctant to play Jeff.  Maybe he is in fact a career point-per-game player in the AHL, and not the NHL.  Let’s wait a few more months before throwing all the dirt on to his NHL career. 


Also, I think management has to take a hit here too.  Having DP as backup for the first four games when he clearly was not ready to contribute was a mistake.  Why not leave him on the injured list so Yann Danis can get some valuable playing time and DP’s injury the proper time to heal.    


Are Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo, Jeff Tambellini, and the rest ready for full time NHL careers?  Only time will tell.  Are the playoffs even a possibility?  I think the organization would be fooling itself to think a playoff berth is a reality, but to equal their points from last year would be considered a successful season.


Is the Island sinking?  Not yet, but it is starting to retain water.