Sunday, May 12, 2013
Thanks For Coming Out, 2013 New York Islanders
While they kept it close with one of the Cup favorite, two OT losses and two blow-out shut-outs is what killed the New York Islanders hopes to pull off the upset special and continue their trend of beating the Penguins in the playoffs. And while many people believe this young team finally put themselves on the map, I don't know if I'm so optimistic.
One of the big things that will need to get fixed for stability of this team is between the pipes. Despite acquiring Tim Thomas('s salary) and sending down Rick DiPietro, you have to wonder if they believe Evgeni Nabokov and/or Kevin Poulin is the answer. The good thing is that the Islanders will have a low payroll and could be a destination for a team trying to sell off a goaltending controversy on their roster. Considering both goalies who ended out the season on Long Island are free agents, it makes you wonder if the Isles will go for the trade market or if they'll pin their hopes on Nabokov for one more go-around.
From one of the unstable things to one of the stable things for the Isles, the forwards. John Tavares finally is stepping into the national scene and has taken this team on his back to get them to this point. Odds are the future captain of this team will be given more of a look in a full season and get the press he deserves as a former #1 overall pick. Plus, he has a solid cast around him in Michael Grabner, Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo, and so on. That's pretty much one thing that the Isles don't have to worry about, unless they want to bring a veteran onto the roster for the youngsters.
Defensively is pretty hit or miss. Mark Streit is 35 and while an offensive contributor; not so good in his own end. Lubomir Visnovsky, though much maligned, was very solid and has two more years on the Island, which could prove to be the best for him to shine. Andrew MacDonald, Travis Hamonic, and Thomas Hickey are going to be the new wave, but they'll be more on their own end than leading the rush-- at least at this time. With their six defensemen drafted in the 2012 Draft, the Islanders know it's a weak area and are trying to address as much as they can.
While they did make strides in advancement, who knows if this is a team that could keep up to the full grind of a season. If they tie up the loose ends, they could be in the hunt-- though they'll be in one of the tougher division in the NHL, which could be quite the challenge for this growing team.