Monday, October 10, 2016
New York Islanders 2016-17 season preview (updated)
The New York Islanders' off-season was like no other. They lost 3 major free agents in C Frans Nielson (DET), RW Kyle Okposo (BUF) and LW Matt Martin (TOR). To replace them, the Isles signed LW Andrew Ladd to a 7 year deal and LW Jason Chimera to a 2 year deal. RW P.A. Parenteau returns to the Isles on a one year deal. Ladd might be a left winger but he's still a solid replacement for Okposo. Chimera is a solid replacement for Martin on the infamous 4th line with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck. To replace Nielson, the Isles will need Ryan Strome to have a bounce-back year or C Matthew Barzal to have a good rookie season. LW Anthony Beauvillier is also making a push to make the team this year and prospects Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang are still coming up in the system.
Defenseman Ryan Pulock is looking to have a nice full season after playing a little of last season. Defenseman Brian Strait went to Winnipeg so the spot for Pulock is open. The Isles also acquired D Dennis Seidenberg. Captain John Tavares remains as one of the league's best players and Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk lead a solid defensive core. The goaltending is a little shaky with Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak fighting for a starting spot. In the first round of the 2016 NHL draft, the Islanders selected LW Kieffer Bellows with the 19th overall pick. Bellows adds scoring and a little bit of grit to a future Islanders' lineup. Bellows should play with either Matthew Barzal, Ryan Strome or Brock Nelson in the future.
The Islanders' projected lines look like this:
Andrew Ladd- John Tavares- Ryan Strome
Anders Lee- Brock Nelson- Josh Bailey
Nikolay Kulemin- Matthew Barzal- Anthony Beauvillier
Jason Chimera- Casey Cizikas- Cal Clutterbuck
On defense is:
Nick Leddy- Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan- Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey- Ryan Pulock
Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss are in net.
D Dennis Seidenberg, C Alan Quine and C Shane Prince are scratched and Mikhail Grabovski is injured. Plus after 9 games G Jean-Francois Berube will be called up if Beauvillier and Barzal are sent back to juniors.
Finally, for my prediction, the New York Islanders, a team slowly on the rise, will make the playoffs in 2016-17.