NHL New York Islanders: 4 Ways They Can Turn Around Their Season
But when we fans thought the team would carry over some of their play into last night's game against the Boston Bruins, we were wrong.
Last night, the Islanders looked more than flat in a 6-0 defeat at the hands of the Bruins.
The Islanders' "everything will get better" mentality is starting to fail them. The Isles find themselves dead last in the Eastern Conference with a 5-9-3 record.
It's still early, but some drastic changes must be made on the island of the Islanders want to keep any hope of making the playoffs alive.
1. Trade Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo or Blake Comeau for an Established Player
One big way to make a statement is to trade a player. And who better to trade than Blake Comeau, Josh Bailey or Kyle Okposo?
There's the "they're still young" excuse, but their time has got to be running out. So far this season, 17 games in, these three players have only combined for six points.
Okposo looks lost. Comeau can't score. Bailey keeps giving the puck away. It's time for a change.
Garth Snow needs to ship one or two of them and maybe even a draft pick for a more established player in the league, whether it be a top-six forward or a solid defenseman.
The Isles could use both. They need a scorer who can lead the team and put some pucks in the net. Rene Bourque of the Calgary Flames could be a decent option. Or they could also use a puck moving defenseman on the more elite side.
I'd rather go the forward route, but, hey, anything to turn the team around.
2. Don't Trade Evgeni Nabokov or Any of the Three Goaltenders
Do not trade any of the three goaltenders.
We need Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya. Why? Because the injury bug loves to bite into the skin of all Islander goaltenders.
All three goaltenders have been day-to-day or on injury reserve at one point this season.
And why trade Nabokov? Granted, he's injured, he's still arguably the best goaltender on the staff.
If the Islanders want to get through the season without having to call up their younger netminders (they've already had to call up Nilsson), they need to keep all three goalies in the rotation.
We need all three for when one of them goes down with an injury.
3. Change the Coach If the Losing Streak Continues
Last season, when the Islanders fired Scott Gordon and hired Jack Capuano, their fortune reversed, and the Isles became one of the best teams in the second half of the NHL.
I like Capuano, but if the losing streak continues for about another five games or so, someone needs to warm up his coaching seat.
The Islanders can't remain consistent, and they've been looking pathetic lately. And this is coming from me, who's usually pretty optimistic.
If the team can't start gathering wins soon, it may be time for a coaching change before the roof of the cellar caves in on the team.
4. Force the Islanders to Earn Playing Time and Make Necessary Call-Ups
If Jack Capuano values his job, he's going to need to do to other players what he's done to Kyle Okpso. Recently, he had Okposo sit for a few games as a healthy sratch.
He's going to need to force players to earn their ice time with a "nobody is safe" mentality.
Well, Capuano is doing this right. Some reports say that David Ullstrom, Bridgeport's leader in goals and points will play tomorrow night against Pittsburgh.
Other possible candidates the Isles should consider recalling are Tim Wallace and Justin DiBenedetto. Wallace has six goals and eight assists, and DiBenedetto has nine goals.
Those guys could be ideal replacements for Comeau and Bailey, and should definitely be considered. Those guys deserve a chance, and could very well be key in turning the team around.