New York Islanders Season Preview

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.

Team Mode

The New York Islanders this year are in a rebuilding mode. Changes have come from the top down, with Mike Milbury stepping down as GM and firing Steve Stirling as coach last season on January 12, 2006. On June 8, 2006 Milbury named a successor and a permanent head coach to replace Stirling. After 40 days on the job, Neil Smith was forced out and Garth Snow was named his replacement. If the team wasn’t a laughingstock before then, it was after that appointment. The owner, Charles Wang has made headlines recently for more than just naming his backup GM. Last Tuesday he signed goaltender Rick DiPietro to the longest deal in NHL history. Where the Isles are concerned everyone is paying more attention to the happenings off the ice than what’s going on, on the ice.

To Take Charge

The player most likely to take charge of this team is ‘the goalie of the future’ Rick DiPietro. He is a leader in the dressing room, and his face is the face of the NYI and will be for the next 15 years. He is well liked by his teammates, and management alike. He stands up for his teammates, and has earned their respect. Another player likely to take charge is Shawn Bates. He is very vocal in the locker room. Last season, after coming back from injury, he called a players only meeting and tried to set the team on a more successful course.

On the Rush

The Islanders offense looks like an average group of forwards. Heading this list is their captain, Alexei Yashin. Yashin last year, was tied for 53 among forwards in points (with 66). Last year was his 9th 20+ goal season. He was tied for third on the team with 2 game winning goals. He had a shot percentage of 11.1 percent, which had him as third on the team. Yashin also had 10 power play goals (also third on the team). His 66 points (28 goals and 38 assists) had him tied for the team lead with Miroslav Satan. Satan, had 35 goals and was tied for eighteenth in the league for goals. His shot percentage was second on the team, at 13.8%. He was first on the team with 17 power play goals. Shawn Bates, is another offensive threat. He is coming off his fourth consecutive season of 30+ points. He ended the year with 15 goals and 34 points. If he stays healthy and plays a whole season, his numbers would be higher. He had the highest shooting percentage on the team (15.8%). A final notable offensive threat is Jason Blake. He finished the year out with 57 points (a career high) and 28 goals (also a career high). Like, Alexei Yashin, he was tied for 53rd among forwards in goals. Last year, he compiled his third consecutive 20+ goal season. He led the team with 2 shorthanded goals, and should still be looked at as a shorthanded threat (nine percent of his goals come on the penalty kill). He was also tied for third on the team with 2 game winners. He had the most shots on goal for the team (304 shots).

Covering the D-zone

The Islanders were impressed with Chris Campoli’s play in his rookie season last year. He was sixth among rookie defensemen in points (34), fourth for goals (9), and seventh for assists (25). He found time on the power play, and had the third highest time on ice for defensemen. He also had the most shots for a defenseman on the NYI team. Another rookie defenseman proved to be very valuable to the Isles was Bruno Gervais. Gervais found himself at points matched against other teams’ top players. His point production was inferior to that of Campoli, but he still managed to net 3 goals, and assist on 4 others. He averaged 16:46 minutes on the ice. Alexei Zhitnik was one of the outstanding defensemen on this team, but his season was cut short by an ankle injury. In 59 games, he managed to amass 29 points. He was 55th in the league among defensemen in assists. He averaged 24:30 per game of ice time. The addition of Tom Poti will help the defense. Last season, he finished the year with a career high +16 rating. He had 23 points, and 67 percent of his goals last year were on the power play.

Guarding the Net

The Isles signed AHL starter Wade Dubielewicz to back up NHL starter Rick DiPietro on July 19. Last season, Dubielewicz played in 7 games, won 2 and lost 3. He had a 2.9 GAA and a .897 save percentage. Meanwhile, starter Rick DiPietro has signed a contract that makes him the eighth highest paid netminder in the NHL. His 15 year, $67.5 million dollar contract will pay him around $4.5 million a year. This deal isn’t good for either party involved. Either he turns out to be a bust, and is untradeable, or he sees no purpose in trying to compete. Last season, DiPietro had 30 wins, one shutout, a 3.02 GAA, and a .900 save percentage. Those stats had him tied for 11th, tied for 28th, 25th and 31st in the league, respectively. The first overall choice in the 2000 entry draft set a career high in wins.

Talking About My Generation

  1. Luch Aquino – This seventh round draftee of 2005 spent last season splitting his time between the Sound Tigers of the AHL, Trenton of the ECHL and Brampton of the OHL. He tied for second on Brampton with 72 points 32 games. While in 11 playoff games he notched 13 points. Overall, in the OHL he has a 1.47 points per game. He finished the year with a +27.
  2. Dustin Kohn – This defenseman was drafted in the second round of the 2005 entry draft. Last season he notched 29 points for the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. Islanders’ Amateur Scout Harkie Singh said: “He’s a puck moving defenseman who makes the first pass well and doesn’t hesitate to jump up into the play. He’s a guy who has quality offensive skills and not afraid to compete. He also doesn’t hesitate to play the body as well.”

Left Wing Center Right Wing

Miroslav Satan Alexei Yashin Jason Blake

Jeff Tambellini Mike York Trent Hunter

Shawn Bates Mike Sillinger Arron Asham

Chris Simon Robert Nilsson Viktor Kozlov

Rob Collins Andy Hilbert Petteri Nokelainen

Matt Koalska Jeremy Colliton Blake Comeau

Defense

Chris Campoli

Alexei Zhitnik

Brendan Witt

Tom Poti

Sean Hill

Radek Martinek

Joel Bouchard

Bruno Gervais

Goaltenders:

Rick DiPietro

Wade Dubielewicz

Expectation

The Islanders are not the best team in the Atlantic Division. The most likely outcome for this franchise is to barely miss the playoffs. Last season the team allowed 278 goals, while they only scored 230. This trend likely isn’t going to change with DiPi still as the man between the pipes. The team is still rebuilding, look for a serious playoff push within the next few years, once management has settled down a bit.

Projected

The New York Islanders will find themselves once again left out of the playoff race, looking in. The lack of an experienced backup could make it very difficult for the coach to give DiPietro the night off, which could mean that his play would suffer. The offense needs to pick up to cover for a bad goal here and there. The defense should be a bit better as it wont be anchored by rookies this year but, the playoffs are still barely out of reach for this franchise.


24 Responses to New York Islanders Season Preview

  1. kamullia says:

    I am curious as to the mass perception of this team. Would it shock anyone if this team came in last in the East?

    You may put me under the column of “Not shocked” if it turns out that way.

  2. thegoalie1976 says:

    The problem with this franchise has always been management. It was the worst in the league with mad mike, and now it is even lower with wang.

    I don't see playoffs in the near future for this team.

    Nolan was the wrong man for this team. He is being put in a position to fail, and will be outspoken when the eternal struggles begin. I see him quitting or fired within 2 seasons.

    If this team ever succeeds…..it will be in SPITE of it's management.

    It's actually to bad, DiPi is a really good goalie, but now with zero motivation to play, I see this team going on a multi-year run at the 1st overall pick.

    Sorry Isles fans, I love some of your players…….but Wang, Snow, and Nolan will be the downfall of the next bunch of seasons.

  3. BlueOrangeWhite says:

    I think this is a pretty accurate analysis, and predicted finish – except the part about the goaltending. Mike Dunham will be backing up DiPietro, giving the Isles
    the experienced back up the author felt they needed. As a result, the DiPietro/Dunham combo is actually one of the better tandems in the league.

    I think the Isles strengths are the coach, goaltending, and defense. The big problem is going to be a lack of goal scoring, and weak power play. A trade or 2 could fix that, and make this team pretty good  – if they quickly realize that they need to make such a trade. (HINT to Mgt: YOU DO)

  4. wingerxxx says:

    His wild and crazy moves aside, Charles Wang loves his hockey team. I’d much rather have him running things, than his embarrassing, penny pinching predacessors.

    DiPietro is now the man in Long Island, not Yashin. All of their hopes rest on him. If he can become an All Star goaltender, that’s one thing…but nothing in sports is guaranteed.

    If Kozlov and Yashin can find some chemistry, this might be a surprising year for them both. They should have some good chemistry, because they have played together previously.

    IF their defensemen stay healthy and play up to their ability, and IF Yashin finds some chemistry with Kozlov and Satan, and IF guys like Campoli keep developing, and IF DiPietro finds his game, they might make the postseason. I don’t see all of it coming true though, and I doubt they will make the playoffs.

    They have guys like Nilsson that can make a good impact in the future though. As wild and crazy as Wang’s moves are, I think that Ted Nolan is as good a choice for a coach for this club as any.

  5. wheresthesoda says:

    Joe Michelletti leaves islanders for Rangers, looks like everyone except poti wants to be a ranger

  6. BlueOrangeWhite says:

    really wish the ranger idiots would realize that they are the chokingist franchise in hockey history over the last 80 yrs!

    the isles in half that time have gotten much more accomplished (cups, wins, great drafts, etc).

    only when an islanders scout took over the rangers (neil smith) and put a team together was a cup possible (in recent yrs).

    anyone who’s ever lived in the n.y area (as i did being born in the city, and growing up in the area for 25 yrs) knows that the rangers fans are always the lugheads hanging out in bars and pizza parlors, and the isles have the wealthy surburban upper middle class, highly educated group. (rangers fans who are thinking now that i am crazy since the garden is full of suits, should remember those suits are “fans” – they are corporate tickets brokering deals, the boss handing a pair of tix to the salesman of the month, etc).

    if most of you around the u.s and canada knew rangers fans as well as i do, you’d hate them too. such losers.

  7. CedrickRozon says:

    I dont know… it’s really all up in the air…
    there are so many variables to take in account…

    how will DiPietro handle things… will the fact he has no contract pressure be a good or a bad thing?

    will there be chemistry in this team? with Yashin as the “C”, I doubt it, I’d switch that to Brendan Witt

    if you look at the D-men list… its not all bad, they COULD have very strong defence, IF the players are willing to pay the price

    Personally, I’ll simply look at them go with detached interest, or silently cheer for them, I’m a sucker for underdogs :S

    I truly believe it may go either way

  8. Potvinstillsucks says:

    and you’ll get to know dipi for the next 15 years and realize he is a loser

  9. tancred says:

    Nice article. A team preview that’s in-depth but also to the point. Great job there.

    Any new news on Sean Bergenhiem? Is he most definitely playing in Europe this year?

  10. BlueOrangeWhite says:

    a typically clever ranger fan answer.

    i would love to see a random sampling of rangers fans SAT scores, v.s Isles fans scores.

  11. Potvinstillsucks says:

    dude you can’t just stereotype a whole group of people, im sure theres dumb rangers fans and im sure theres dumb islanders fans, but theres also fans on both sides that know and love the game. btw i got a 1270 on my sats.

  12. kamullia says:

    I was not saying that they will surely finish last, I am just curious of how many people would be surprised if at the end of the year they are in fact last. By your answer, you are basically saying that you would not be surprised because you view it as a possibility. Same as myself, I think it is fairly possible they could finish last.

    There is no wrong or right answer, I just wanted to get a feel from the people who would respond, on the Islanders potential to be horrible. Any team could finish last, but some are expected, others are not, and others are considered a wild card that can be in the playoffs or even dead last. Much like the Rangers were not given a prayer last season, and most were surprised by their good year-round play.

    Unfortunately, no quorum.

  13. zdeno_duchesne says:

    you could also put me in this category

  14. CaptainInsano says:

    WWWD – What would Wang do? I always ask myself this question when I manage my fantasy hockey teams or play NHL video games. (I have yet to finish higher than 6th in my fantasy hockey leagues and am currently 0-8 in my NHL 2007 season.)

  15. nyrhockey094 says:

    I got a 1380… so what is your point typical Asslander?

  16. ericthered1961 says:

    Good article thanks, but I believe this team can make a run at the playoffs simply because of the coaching of a Ted Nolan. Sure the organization could have been run much better by almost ANYONE but poor Mikey…..but these changes will help now that he’s gone and the Isles have their best coach since Al Arbour? (sorry- not sure of the spelling)
    My guess is….they’ll make the playoffs before this years poor lowly Leafs will but if not they will finish JUST out of a playoff spot.
    Go….ahh….leafys….go…..ugh……slugs away into the distance…….shoulders hunched……..ready to start building my annual cacoon begining with our first slaughter at the hands of the Sens this Wednesday and Thursday……(sobs)…..BUT THEN!!!!!…..oh yeah….then we get crushed by the Habs……then everyone else……till hopefully ….they fire everyone…..especially the idiot who brought in these guys…..sorry……digressed….didn’t I……that wasn’t a question….be well all

  17. ericthered1961 says:

    cocoon

  18. beckfan05 says:

    Well *****ing whaaaaa!!!!

    I grew up and lived on Long Island for over 30 years! And I can tell you this; there are a lot of unknowledgeable hockey fans out there and a huge chunk of them are Islander fans. They have NO clue about hockey except for the fact that their team won four in a row in the early 80’s. Bet you over half of them didnt even know who captained those teams?

    I had Islander fans *****ing to me a few years back at the Coloseum about how greedy Lindros was because he didnt want to play for the Flyers anymore and got his way when he was traded to the Rangers. Guess they over looked Yashin and Peca when making a statement like that…..

    Bottom line is Islander fans are friggin retards and dont have a clue about hockey.

    And what upper middle class towns are you refering to? Hempstead or the the other ones like Oyster Bay in that bankrupt county for over ten years Nassau?

    Stupid Islander fan!

  19. beckfan05 says:

    Are you William Shatner?

  20. BlueOrangeWhite says:

    it is so great baiting rangers fans with the truth about themselves. they then always come through in revealing all of it to be true.

    to answer a few of the idiotic comments by morons like beckfan, etc in random order:

    – nassau county residents have the highest per capita income in the u.s (that in response to the incorrect assertion that the isles do not have the wealthiest fan base in sports. although even i’ll admit, that that fact doesn’t matter much, or help the club in any way)

    – i like many other current isles fans that you cast aspersions on – was AT all 3 of the cup winning games at the coliseum in the 80’s. too bad you guys at the garden, have only seen 1 of those in the last 60 yrs!

    – the point i made in my earlier reply/post was NOT that rangers fans don’t know their hockey. it was that rangers fans are losers in life, and classless, low life type people. (although the illusion persists that they are not, because of all of the corporate/white collar attendees at rangers games on company tix). beckfan/potvinsucks and the rest of you fools regularly demonstrate on this board proof of my allegation/s.

  21. Potvinstillsucks says:

    so if you go to more then one cup winning game, and live in nassau county your a winner in life…. ok dude you proved alot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highest_income_counties_in_the_United_States#100_highest-income_counties_by_per_capita_income

    think manhattan is #2 and nassau is #6

  22. beckfan05 says:

    I have a very good career, I live in a very nice neighborhood, have a loving family, a beautiful spouse with a loving family as well and have an abudance of friends.

    So where am I a classless looser? Because I like one particular hockey club?

    And if Nassau County is so wealthy how come they ***** about building their Islanders a new arena every year?

    How is any of this relevant to hockey at all? Why dont you just focus on the point at hand; hockey. And stop sidetracking and claiming whos got more money in their pocket or who lives on the Gold Coast of Long Island.

    Stupid Islander fan. Get a clue about the sport.

  23. NyIsles39 says:

    “As of 2004, Nassau County is the richest county per capital in the State of New York and the sixth richest in the nation, with a median household income of $78,762.” there u go dumb ranger fan quoted right from the site u posted dick!!!

  24. beckfan05 says:

    What does this have to do with hockey?

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