Here are the top 5 questions the New York Islanders face this preseason:
1. Location/Management - Will Wang stick to his guns? Will Charles Wang attempt to pull the trigger if Murray does not lead the way to clearance of the Lighthouse project on October 3rd? Does Murray really want to see the light?
2. Star Player - How to use Tavares? It’s not a question of how good is Tavares, but more of a question of how to use Tavares to best improve the Islanders. Do you put him on a line with Okposo? Do you play him with Dougy Weight? Throw him in with Bailey, boosting Bailey’s assist total? A Tavares – Okposo combination could become one of those legendary line combinations. For Tavares to rack up points, he needs a solid supporting cast. But do you want to create one great line for the future or spread the talent?
3. Defense - Who is going to protect the new goalies? At least they can protect the net. Defense is a big question this year. The Islanders don’t have a workhorse like good old Aucoin. Much of the solid D is injury prone. Defense can be sufficient or it can be non-existent. Of course there is always Streit to rack up the offense on defense.
4. Draft Pick Potential - What is the best strategy for the 2010 draft? Will one of the new goalies be used at the end of the year to pick up a first rounder at the end of the season? Will Tavares’ talent not be enough to let the Isles finish last again and get another great draft pick? Will the team focus on wins with young players or just improving and developing the talent with a blind eye towards winning?
5. Fans – Will the fans show up this year - thanks to Tavares? Will there be buzz in the crowds without wins? How will the fans measure success this year? Will a new fan base be part of this season’s picture?