New York Islanders: 5 Players Who Need To Step Their Game Up Now

Jim Gillespie@@commajimContributor INovember 16, 2011

New York Islanders: 5 Players Who Need To Step Their Game Up Now

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    The Islanders are a young talented team but are struggling on the offensive end of their game.

    Even with top scorers like John Tavares and Michael Grabner, the issues are still apparent. 

    The Islanders finally broke their six-game losing streak by beating the Washington Capitals, but lost their next game to the Boston Bruins.

    The Islanders are a big up-and-coming team and have a lot to work on for the months that come if they want to show themselves in the playoffs.

    There are a few key players who need to start to show their real potential on the ice if they want to be the team they really can be.

5. Josh Bailey

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    The ninth overall draft pick in 2008 is getting off to a not-so-strong start to this 2011-2012 season.

    Josh Bailey should be a player who can put up a 40- to 50-point season, and with the start he is having now my doubts are rising.

    Bailey is a young player who needs to prove himself on a team who could use all the offensive help they can get at this point.

    Bailey needs to pick up his game right now. He is a solid third- or fourth-line center who should have much more than a whopping zero points so far into the season.

    If Bailey wants this Islander team to succeed, he will get his act together.

4. Blake Comeau

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    A player similar to Josh Bailey is Blake Comeau.

    Comeau finished last season with 46 points in 77 games with the Islanders. Comeau is a very capable forward who also needs to start to show his skills again this season.

    The Islanders are struggling and they need all the offensive help they can get.

    Comeau has proven himself before and needs to do it again. The team is struggling and Comeau is a guy the Islanders need to put up the points when he can and so far—he hasn't.

    So please, Blake Comeau—score a goal or two in the next few games? Please?

3. Rick DiPietro

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    Rick DiPietro, our good ol' reliable netminder.

    Rick, you've been injury-prone in the past and started off the season with a concussion (all applause goes to Brian Rolston). If you want to prove yourself as the true starter on this team, please pick your game up.

    DiPietro is a very talented goalie, but his game has clearly slipped over the years.

    Now, whether that's due to injury or whatever the reason might be, that doesn't mean he can't turn himself around.

    So far into the season DiPietro is 1-1-2 with a .911 save percentage and a 2.67 GAA.

    I've never had much faith in Ricky, but he if he wants to start for this team he needs to pick his game up to another level and please stay healthy.

2. Nino Niederreiter

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    In Nino's defense he has yet to play a game with the Islanders this season, but the Islanders need more scoring threat and Nino just might be the guy who can step up to the plate.

    Nino just finished his conditioning stint with the Sound Tigers after facing a groin injury which delayed his start to this season. 

    Niederreiter is expected to get his first start November 15th against the Rangers where I'm sure he is eager to show his worth to the team.

    The Islanders are in desperate need of some scoring threat and Nino needs to show his place on the team. Jack Capuano trusts what he has seen Nino do thus far, and I'm sure is eager to see him go above and beyond expectations. 

1. Kyle Okposo

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    Kyle Okposo is one of the team's leaders and was expected to have a breakout season. But so far, he's whiffed.

    Okposo is capable of much more than he has put up over the years mainly due to injury, and this season was his time to shine. But unfortunately for him and everyone, he is having a very rough start. 

    I still have faith in Kyle even though he has played 14 games and has a lowly three assists and zero goals this far into the season.

    Okposo is most likely a future captain of the team, unless John Tavares proves a better leader than Okposo, and he needs to show what he truly can do on the ice. It's still early into the season and Okposo still has time to show his true presence on the ice.

    He is a very strong power forward who has shown his toughness, but now it's time for him to show his scoring threat.

    If Kyle Okposo can start to put up his true numbers and show his true potential, it could give the team a second wind from one of their leaders.

    So please Kyle, I've got faith in you. The Isles always tweet before the game who is going to score the first goal. Every game so far I've guessed you.