Looking to be Respected Once Again PART 1
There is a buzz around the Island. With 2 Marquee players on the roster(soon to be signed).Yashin and Peca will bring the fans back to the coliseum. For once I think Milbury has done the right thing. I know people have there pros and cons on the changes to the Islanders but I will give you my opinion on how the Isles will fair.
POWER PLAY: Adding Yashin and Aucoin will greatly improve the Islanders powerplay. A lot of the games last year were lost by 1 goal. Special team plays a big role on the direction a game will go. The Isles did not fair well on the powerplay last year. Adding Yashin in center will make Isbister and Chow that much better and give a little confidence to the powerplay. Now add Aucoin, and his rocket’ gives the Isles a 2nd line Pointman to make there powerplay a little more of a threat.
PENALTY KILL: This was another area the Isles did not fair well in. Adding the work horse Mike Peca to the mix alone will better the Isles PK. Milbury also added the very versatile stay at home defensemen Ken Sutton. Late in the 2000-2001 season the penalty kill started to get better. With guys like Scatchard and Blake along with Lapointe we are a very speed and aggressive PK with the threat to go offensively. We also got back Mats Lindgren who if he can stay health is also very good on the penalty kill. Isles also added Boston’s Shawn Bates who is a very Versatile player who is good on the PK. The way I look at it we can run 3 offensive lines on the PK and 2 lines defensively.
GOALTENDING: This is an area a lot of people think we will be week at. I Don’t know how Snow will do but going by the start of last year with Pittsburgh, Snow did pretty well till he got the groin injury. We have a very talented player in Valiquette. The 24-year-old is playing very well down in the AHL. He was to be called up last year but the day he got the call, he was in a freak accident in the locker room. One of his team mates step on his hand with skates on causing Him to lose the rest of the season. Look for Salficky to make a splash in camp. The 29 year old decide to test the waters of the NHL after playing his whole career in the Czech league. Salficky has put up some impressive numbers in the Czech league over the past few years. But the question is if he can adapt to the NHL. My prediction for the start of the year will be Snow and Salficky sharing the time up on the Island while DiPietro and Chiodo will be in Bridgeport.
OVERALL SUMMARY: The only week area I see in the Isles would be a 2nd line winger. This might not be a problem if Kvasha finally puts his game together. Kvasha is a very talented player, if he can only put it all together on a daily basis. Another area the Isles need improvement in is there training and conditioning. They lost a lot of players last year due to injuries. Milbury did a good job at adding a lot of depth in the farm looking over seas to stockpile players to play in Bridgeport I see the Isle making the 7th place seed in the playoffs and going to the 2nd round.
BRIDGEPORT SOUNDTIGERS: The Isles never had there on farm team till this year. The sound Tigers will host our deep farm team only 3 hours from the Island. The upside to this is we get to monitor our prospects a lot better. They can also teach them the type of game that they will be playing if in the event they are called up. This is very important to be successful with raising prospects and adapting them to your type of game.
YASHIN:I know a lot of people think it was crazy trading Chara but the fact is Chara is not the same player he was a year ago. Talking to a lot of Isles fans they al felt the same way. The 6’6 225 pound Mezei is filling the hole Chara will leave. During the end of last year he got a lot of ice-time up on the Island and proved to be very solid. And believe it or not he has a lot more grit and hits harder than Chara. Muckalt I will miss but we have plenty of Utility players. As for Spezza, a prospect is what it is a prospect. There is no way of telling how he will turn out until a few years go by.
PECA: This was a very well needed trade. In Peca we get a true Captain, something we have missed for a some time now. Some people say he is the next Messier in the locker room, one of the best defensive forwards in the league and one of the best open ice hitters in the game. We gave up Connolly who is the big thing we will miss but we would have to wait for him to gain his confidence, which could take a few more years. The kid has some set of hands. Good luck Connolly. As for Pyatt, this kid should do well in a few years. How far he will go only time will tell. He is a very tough kid.
JONSSON: Only time will tell Kenny’s future. There is a dispute between Mike and Kenny’s agent over his value. In my opinion I am not sure if it would be good or bad to trade him. On the upside he is a very talented defensemen who has a great shot from the point. But the downside is his Injuries an concussions. Over the past 2 years he has been very inconsistent. If he goes I will miss him. I don’t think Pittsburgh will take a trade for Kasper as Kennys contact is almost the same value. We will have to wait until camp to find out what will happen with KJ.