With the hockey season about a month in, the New York Islanders have shown with their play that this is going to be a long season. From the beginning, the team has shown itself to be mixed with aging veterans and inexperienced young players. It is a terrible mix, and the talent level of the younger players has to be a concern.
The Islanders are in a rebuilding phase (again!), and there just doesn't seem to be any hope for the future. The team is still relying on goal scoring from the veterans like Bill Guerin and Doug Weight. The two would make for a lethal combination...if this was 1996.
However, this is the 2008-2009 hockey season and these two players are past their prime. The youth is supposed to be the focus. There doesn't appear to be a nucleus that can take this team to the next level. In the post lockout NHL, any team that contends for the Stanley Cup will include young, fast, skilled players.
The Islanders are missing these type of players. The roster includes too many players like Andy Hilbert, and Richard Park. Players like that will score 10-15 goals a year. They are good 3rd line players on a contending team. But, with the Islanders, they are expecting more out of these players.
Granted the Islanders have a quality goalie in Rick DiPietro, but, the team has relied on him too often and it has resulted in too many injuries to him. He is out again for 4-6 weeks.
Unfortunately, the Islanders are in a difficult situation with their arena. There are not many talented players they could sign or trade for that are willing to play for this team. The arena is old and in terrible condition. Although the Islanders are willing to spend the money to sign free agents, none want to play in Long Island.
The Islanders must build a new arena to contend, and also, they must do a better job drafting talented players. You cannot win in this league with a bunch of 10-15 goal youngsters and aging veterans. This season is lost already, but, the Islanders should begin now looking toward next years draft.