New York Islanders Season Preview

Team Name: New York Islanders

General Manager: Garth Snow, was named GM on July 18, 2006 after Neil Smith was fired by Charles Wang.

Head Coach: Ted Nolan, was hired on June 8, 2006.

Payroll: $41.103 million

Team Mode

The New York Islanders this year are again rebuilding. After losing trade deadline acquisition Ryan Smyth, fan favorite, Jason Blake, 25 goal scorer Viktor Kozlov, tough guy Arron Asham and clutch goal scorer Richard Zednik to free agency, and captain Alexei Yashin via buyout, the team inked Ruslan Fedotenko, Josef Vasicek, Trent Hunter, Chris Simon, and Wade Dubielewicz to one year deals, allowing for a large turnover next summer as well.

To Take Charge

Bill Guerin, the 17 year veteran brought in to provide leadership and stability was signed to a two year deal, and surprised with the captain’s ‘C’ at the press conference introducing him to the media. Guerin, is expected to be the leader both on the ice and in the locker room. Goaltender Rick DiPietro is the cornerstone of this team. Management has built this team around him, as evidenced by the 15 year, $67.5 million contract he signed. This is his team, and he is going to be the focus of the media and the fans for the remainder of his time on the Island.

On the Rush

Miroslav Satan will find himself again the leader of the offensive charge. Despite his production and shooting percentage decreasing, he had a respectable 27 goals, and 59 points last season. He is expected to start on the second line wing. Aside from being a leader in the locker room, Mike Sillinger will be taking up the charge. Last season, he also had 59 points, and for the past six seasons, he has averaged 0.59 points per game and has been converting on 14.1% of his shots. Captain Bill Guerin, last season tied for 16th in goals (36), is hoped to contribute in a similar fashion to his 56 points from last year. An interesting variable is forward Ruslan Fedotenko, brought on to the Island for an exorbitant $2.9 million. Fedotenko, last season with the Bolts had the second worst season of his career (12-20-32). He is consistently inconsistent, but might prove to be quite a find on the Islanders’ part.

Covering the D-Zone

The Islanders’ defense is best described as unimpressive. Their number one defenseman, Brendan Witt had 131 penalty minutes last year, and was too busy serving time in the box, when he should have been helping defend his goal. Their second blueliner, Radek Martinek, has missed significant time out with injury in the past few years. He would be far better respected if he weren’t so injury prone. The Isles’ offensive defenseman, Marc-Andre Bergeron, appears to be the bright spot in their defensive black hole. The future doesn’t look that bright either – their young defensemen, Campoli and Gervais are a -19, and a -11 respectively. The Islanders lack a shut down defenseman, and their defense is far too weak or inexperienced to get the job done.

Guarding the Net

The Islanders made headlines last year by signing starter Rick DiPietro to a 15 year, $67.5 million dollar contract. DiPi has improved in each of his full seasons in the NHL. Last season, he was 32-19-9, with a 2.58 GAA and a .919 SV%, all three are improvements on his stats from 2005-06 (30-24-5, 3.02, .900). When he’s on his game, he can be very good, but when he’s off, he’s far from impressive. He’s being paid $4.5 million a year, as if he was consistently on the ball. Unfortunately for him, he will be receiving no help from his defense this year. The backup, Wade Dubielewicz, an overage rookie had four victories last year, with a 2.06 GAA and an impressive .934 SV%. Last year in Bridgeport he was 20-21-0, with a .910 SV% and a 3.12 GAA. Islander fans will remember him as the one who maneuvered the team into the playoffs last year. Finally a second string goalie, look for him to have a respectable GAA and save percentage.

Proposed Lines:

Ruslan Fedotenko – Mike Comrie – Bill Guerin

Jeff Tambellini – Josef Vasicek – Miroslav Satan

Jon Sim – Mike Sillinger – Trent Hunter

Sean Bergenheim – Shawn Bates – Andy Hilbert

Brendan Witt – Radek Martinek

Andy Sutton – Marc–Andre Bergeron

Chris Campoli – Bruno Gervais

Rick DiPietro

Wade Dubielewicz

Expectations

Most of the hockey world believes the Islanders will again be pushovers. They are by far, not the best team in the Atlantic Division – and it wouldn’t be too far of a jump to say they are the worst team in the Atlantic. Last season, they allowed 248 goals, and scored 240 – an improvement on a year ago (278 GA and 230 GF). This team is still rebuilding – they were lucky to make the playoffs last year, but wont get that lucky again this year.

Projected

The New York Islanders will find themselves out of the playoff race, looking in, long before the playoffs are set to begin. Last year, the team sneaked into the postseason, but this year they wont be so lucky, as they lost the offense of Jason Blake, Ryan Smyth, and Alexei Yashin, and they still have the $67.5 million man, who is still in the process of maturing and living up to the expectations of being the first overall draft choice. This team is in a rebuilding mode, and they are going to be dealing at the deadline to augment the future as much as possible.


7 Responses to New York Islanders Season Preview

  1. leafy says:

    It seems like the Isles have been rebuilding forever.  They have never been the same since they had Bossy, Trottier, Potvin, Gillies, Nystrom, Tonelli, Goring, Bourne, Brent Sutter, Morrow, Battlin' Billy, etc. 

    This year, it won't be easy to replace Smyth, Blake, Kozlov, Zednik and, yes, even Cashin' Yashin.  That's a lot of talent lost, even if they did add Guerin and Fedotenko.  Looks like a long season on the Island.

  2. chanman says:

    Yes, basically they should suck. What a poorly managed team, going back to trading away Loungo, Connoly, and Spezza (1st rounder, 2nd overall) and Chara. They spend the $ on an unproven rookie goalie, a russian without a heart, and Miro Satan. It's a joke

  3. goldman says:

    Sounds like last years preview with different names on the roster. Everyone and I mean everyone said Isles would be at the bottom of the Nhl last year and look what happened. Just remember Goldman when the Isles make the playoffs again. I love the lucky to make the playoffs comment! How was it luck? Seemed like hard work to me. They would have been in the six spot but they lost DP for the last few games of the season. I guess the luck was them losing their starting goalie with about a few games left in the season. Did you watch any Isles games last year or are you just listening to what everyone else is saying? It seems to me you have no clue. I think it's lucky they let you post this preview.

  4. goldman says:

    By the way the clutch goal scorer Zednik scored a huge two goals for the Isles last year. We are really going to miss those two goals!! They were in the playoffs before they lost Smyth and Zednik so they didn't loss as much as everyone says they did. They did however loss a lot to get Smyth but I still think it was a good move it showed they wanted to win.

  5. TheDonkey says:

    The real problem with this team is that they don't change their uniforms often enough.  Instead of coming out with new uni's every September, these guys should switch uniforms once a month, maybe once a week.  That way, DiPietro could have a closet with all 3,423 different styles of uniforms he wore during his contract. 

    While they are at it, show some pride in your ownership – change the teams name from the Islanders to the Wangs!  Think of the uniforms and the marketing possibilities!  Free advertising in every porno!

    But seriously, this team did beat expectations last year.  Still, my gut says they will suck.  Let's just say I won't be taking DiPietro as my goalie in the HTR pool unless I think he will score about 6 goals himself (10 pts each!).

  6. goldman says:

    Could be worse look at the ownership we had in the 90's. Wang has got us to the playoffs all but once since he has be in charge. He also is the person that is bringing NHL TV to the NHL. If you team has TV on the internet you could thank Wang he has done a lot for Long Island and the future of the NHL on the internet.(being how stupid the NHL is that is saying something) Milbury was our GM when Wang took over give him a chance Snow is doing a pretty good job so far.

  7. turdfergusson says:

      I'd love to see this team make the playoffs. The negatives are obvious but here's some positives.

    1. Rick Dipietro. He IS getting better. Alot. He's got some salt now and really good numbers for a young  goalie  who's career thus far has been nothing short of a trial by fire. He's shown tremendous poise and has emerged from this mess a solid starting goalie that handles the puck like Brodeur.
    2. Ted Nolan. The reason why they made the playoffs last year in the first place. Right ? He's a motivator and ices solid defensive teams.
    3. Change. Sure they lost Blake but let's be real and assume he'll never score 40 goals again no matter where he goes. If anything this team shedded some fat and in this case change is good.
    4. Zero expectation.

      I  see this group givng Eastern teams fits throughout the year and pushing hard for an eighth seed. With the exception of Philly how many teams below them at the end of last year are better than them?

      Gad i'd hate to be a fan of any eastern team.

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