Another 1st Round Exit?

The New York Islanders have been knocked out of the NHL playoffs, in the first round, the past two seasons. Many people feel it will happen for a third straight season this year.

It`s pretty much safe to say, the Islanders aren`t a Stanley Cup Team this year. Sure they added Miro Satan and Alexei Zhitnik in the off-season, but they got rid of their captain, arguably one of the best in the game, Mike Peca.

Peca helped get the Isles into the playoffs after years of horrible play. Peca helped re-shape and get rid of the “Islanders Bad Name”. Mike Peca was one of the big reasons why the Islanders have been a better team these past few years.

Not only did the Islanders send away their team captain, but they failed to re-sign Adrian Aucoin, Roman Hamrlik, Kenny Jonsson and Dave Scatchard. These three guys were also keys to the Islanders success in getting into the playoffs.

Sure, GM Mike Milbury brought in Mike York, Brad Lukowich, Brent Sopel, and Alexei Zhitnik to fill these holes. But it`s not an improvement. Or at least not enough to get past the first round of the playoffs.

Yes, Miro Satan is now on the island to help Yashin get his game back on track. But bottom line is that the Islanders this year is still not good enough to get to the Stanley Cup. If you look at the team roster on paper, it just does not look good enough to be the best team in the NHL.

Kvasha Yashin Satan

Hunter Bates Blake

Weinhandl York Parrish

Nilsson Nokkelainen Asham

Zhitnik Lukowich

Niinimaa Sopel

Martinek Campoli

DiPietro

It`s not too late to make changes to this roster. There`s ways to turn this into a Stanley Cup Team. Goaltending is a big part in team success, and the Islanders have a ton of it, in Rick DiPietro. I feel if the Islanders want to make it past the first round of the playoffs and even as far as the Stanley Cup, Mike Milbury should make moves like this:

1) Trade for a big name forward to play with Yashin and Satan. Players such as: Ziggy Palffy, Martin Havlat, or even Alex Mogilny.

For one of these guys, Milbury should package Kvasha and a prospect and/or draft pick.

2) Trade for a stay at home, hard-hitting, defensman. Brendan Witt would do just fine.

There`s been plenty of rumors surrounding the Isles wanting to send Niinimaa packing. Obviously a trade like Niinimaa for Witt would be very good.

3) Fire Steve Stirling. Stirling is a horrible coach. He`s not as vocal as many other NHL coaches. He never disciplines his players. All he`s done was get the Islanders` farm team to a championship. The AHL is nothing to write home about. Coaching an NHL team and an AHL team are two completely different things. One of the biggest mistakes Mike Milbury has ever made was firing Peter Laviolette. Look at what Peter`s doing in Carolina. Enough said.

Making these changes to the Islanders roster isn`t asking for much. It`s VERY do-able. It gives the Islanders a very explosive 1st line, grit, and leadership. If Mike Milbury could do just that, the roster would look much better. It would look more like a Stanley Cup Team.

Palffy/Havlat/Mogilny Yashin Satan

Hunter Bates Blake

Weinhandl York Parrish

Nilsson Nokkelainen Asham

Zhitnik Lukowich

Sopel Campoli

Martinek Witt

DiPietro


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